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Technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT) by Anthony Sequeira

Many wireless technologies (or technologies related to wireless) come in to play to make the Internet of Things (IoT) a reality. IoT refers to the trend today to connect everyday objects to the Internet in order to make them "smart". In my home, I speak to my Amazon Echo (Alexa) speaker to have it control the lights, for example. This Internet-connected speaker and lights are perfect examples of IoT in action.

Smart devices abound today. They include the following:

Refrigerators
Smart speakers
Smart thermostats
Smart doorbells

You should be aware of the following key technologies that help make the modern IoT a reality:

• Z-Wave: This wireless communications protocol is used primarily for home automation. It is a mesh network using low-energy radio waves to communicate from appliance to appliance. Z-Wave is used with devices such as lighting control systems, security systems, thermostats, windows, locks, swimming pools, and garage door openers.

• ANT+: This is a wireless protocol for monitoring sensor data such as a person's heart rate or a car's tire pressure, as well as for controlling systems such as indoor lighting and entertainment appliances such as televisions. Ant+ is designed and maintained by the ANT+ Alliance, which is owned by Garmin.

• Bluetooth: Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows devices to communicate over a short distance. Bluetooth is often used to create personal area networks (PANs), and it also enables communications for the IoT.

• NFC: Near Field Communications is a set of communication protocols that enables two electronic devices to transfer information. Typically, one of these devices is a portable device such as a smartphone. NFC devices must be close to each other (within 4 cm, or 1.6 inches). NFC devices are used in contactless payment systems, such as credit cards and electronic ticket smart-cards, and allow mobile payment to replace/supplement these systems.

• IR: Infrared is another wireless technology that permits data transmissions over short ranges among computer peripherals and personal digital assistants. These devices usually conform to standards published by IrDA, the Infrared Data Association. Remote controls and IrDA devices use infrared light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to emit infrared radiation that is focused by a plastic lens into a narrow beam.

• RFID: Radio-Frequency Identification uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically stored information. Passive tags collect energy from a nearby RFID reader's interrogating radio waves. An active tag has a local power source such as a battery and may operate at hundreds of meters from the RFID reader. Unlike with a barcode, an RFID tag need not be within the line of sight of the reader, so it may be embedded in the tracked object.

• 802.11: IEEE 802.11 is a set of Media Control and physical layer specifications for implementing wireless local area network (WLAN) computer communications in the 900MHz and 2.4GHz, 3.6GHz, 5GHz, 6GHz, and 60GHz frequency bands. Obviously, these technologies play a great role in the IoT because many appliances and common objects communicate over 802.11 wireless signals to reach a main hub. This is how smart lights function, for example.

About The Author

Anthony Sequeira, CCIE No. 15626, is a Cisco Certified Systems Instructor (CCSI) and author regarding all levels and tracks of Cisco Certification. Anthony formally began his career in the information technology industry in 1994 with IBM in Tampa, Florida. He quickly formed his own computer consultancy, Computer Solutions, and then discovered his true passion-teaching and writing about Microsoft and Cisco technologies. Anthony joined Mastering Computers in 1996 and lectured to massive audiences around the world about the latest in computer technologies. Mastering Computers became the revolutionary online training company, KnowledgeNet, and Anthony trained there for many years. Anthony is currently pursuing his second CCIE in the area of Security and is a full-time instructor for the next-generation of KnowledgeNet, StormWind.com. Anthony is also a VMware Certified Professional.

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