6 Types of IoT Gateway Selection: Functions, Protocols, and Application Scenarios

Discover the critical roles of IoT gateway Selection in connecting sensors and devices, data collection, transmission, and processing. This guide explores six types of IoT gateways, their core functions, common protocols, and main application scenarios. Learn how to select the right gateway for industrial monitoring, smart agriculture, smart cities, and more.

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IoT Gateway Selection: Functions, Protocols, and Application Scenarios

In the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem, gateways are crucial components. They not only connect various sensors and devices but also handle data collection, transmission, and processing, supporting a wide range of applications. With the rapid development of IoT technology, different types of gateways play key roles in various scenarios, ensuring efficient operation and seamless communication between devices.


As the bridge connecting front-end devices and back-end systems, IoT gateways have well-defined definitions and roles. This document provides a detailed introduction to six common types of IoT gateways, exploring their functions, protocols, and primary application scenarios. These gateways include Wireless Data Terminals (DTU), Data Acquisition Gateways, Smart Gateways, Edge Computing Gateways, AI Gateways, and Cloud-Edge Collaborative Gateways. Each type has its unique functions and applications, catering to different IoT application needs.

Importance of IoT Gateways

  • Connecting Sensors and Devices: As the core of IoT systems, gateways effectively connect various sensors and devices, ensuring seamless data transmission. This connectivity allows various devices to communicate, forming a coordinated system.
  • Data Collection, Transmission, and Processing: Gateways can collect and transmit data in real-time, perform preliminary processing, reduce the burden on central servers, and enhance system response speed. Through local data processing, gateways can conduct preliminary analysis and filtering before the data reaches the cloud.
  • Diverse Application Scenarios: Whether in industrial automation, smart homes, or smart cities, gateways play a crucial role in various IoT applications. They support data transmission and processing and can respond and control intelligently through local processing and rule engines.

Summary Overview

To facilitate understanding, we have summarized the main characteristics of the six types of gateways in the following table:

Gateway TypeCore FunctionsCommon ProtocolsMain Application ScenariosCPU and Computational ResourcesCommon Technical Solutions
DTUWireless data transmissionNB-IoT, LoRa, 4GIndustrial monitoring, environmental monitoring, agricultural IoTLow-power microcontrollers (e.g., ARM Cortex-M series)Serial communication module, wireless transmission module, remote data management platform
Data Acquisition GatewayData collection and transmissionModbus, OPC UAIndustrial automation, smart agricultureARM Cortex-A series or x86 processorsMulti-interface design, data collection engine, secure transmission module
Smart GatewayLocal data processing and alarm mechanismsMQTT, HTTPIndustrial automation, smart security, smart buildingsARM Cortex series processorsData processing engine, rule engine, alarm module, local and remote monitoring systems
Edge Computing GatewayEdge data processing and real-time analysisMQTT, CoAPSmart manufacturing, smart cities, smart homes, smart trafficHigh-performance processors (e.g., ARM Cortex-A series, x86 processors), GPUs, FPGAsEdge computing platform, real-time data analysis module, local storage and synchronization mechanism, security management module
AI GatewayLocal AI inference and machine learningMQTT, HTTP, proprietary protocolsSmart traffic, smart security, smart homes, predictive maintenanceHigh-performance processors (e.g., NVIDIA Jetson, Intel Movidius), AI acceleratorsAI model inference engine, data preprocessing module, local-cloud collaboration mechanism, security and privacy protection measures
Cloud-Edge Collaborative GatewayCloud-edge collaborative processingMQTT, HTTP, CoAPSmart homes, smart healthcare, smart manufacturing, smart citiesHigh-performance processors (e.g., ARM Cortex-A series, x86 processors)Edge computing module, cloud computing platform, data synchronization and management mechanism, comprehensive security management system

Detailed Analysis of the Six Types of Gateways

1. Wireless Data Terminal (DTU)

Wireless Data Terminals (DTU) play a critical role in IoT systems. Their primary function is to transmit data from field devices to remote servers or cloud platforms through wireless networks. DTUs are widely used, especially in applications with high data collection and transmission requirements, such as industrial monitoring, environmental monitoring, and agricultural IoT.

Core Functions:
The core function of DTUs is wireless data transmission. They can efficiently transmit collected data to remote servers using various wireless communication technologies (e.g., NB-IoT, LoRa, 4G). This capability makes DTUs suitable for scenarios requiring long-distance data transmission and complex network environments. For instance, in industrial monitoring, DTUs can collect real-time equipment operation data and transmit it to central monitoring systems via wireless networks, helping enterprises achieve remote management and fault prediction.

Application Scenarios:

  • Industrial Monitoring: Monitoring equipment operation status in industries such as oil, chemical, and manufacturing.
  • Environmental Monitoring: Data collection and transmission for air quality and water quality monitoring stations.
  • Agricultural IoT: Remote monitoring of environmental parameters such as soil moisture and temperature in agricultural production.

CPU and Computational Resources:
DTUs typically use low-power microcontrollers such as the ARM Cortex-M series. These microcontrollers are not only low-power but also capable of stable operation, suitable for scenarios requiring long-term, uninterrupted work. Additionally, these microcontrollers have sufficient computational power to handle basic data collection and transmission tasks.

Common Technical Solutions:
Typical DTU technical solutions include serial communication modules, wireless transmission modules, and remote data management platforms. Through serial communication modules, DTUs can interact with various sensors and devices; wireless transmission modules are responsible for sending collected data through wireless networks; remote data management platforms receive, store, and analyze this data. This combination of technical solutions allows DTUs to work efficiently in various complex environments, ensuring reliable data transmission.

2. Data Acquisition Gateway

Data Acquisition Gateways are devices specifically designed for data collection and transmission, capable of aggregating data collected by various sensors and transmitting it to central servers or cloud platforms. Data Acquisition Gateways act as bridges in IoT systems, connecting front-end sensors and back-end data processing systems.

Core Functions:
The main function of Data Acquisition Gateways is data collection and transmission. They can connect to various sensors and transmit collected data to central servers or cloud platforms. Data Acquisition Gateways typically have multiple interfaces, supporting different types of sensors to achieve efficient data collection and transmission. They are designed to solve the complexity of multi-sensor data access and ensure the stability and reliability of data transmission.

Application Scenarios:
Data Acquisition Gateways are widely used in industrial automation, smart agriculture, and other fields requiring comprehensive data collection and processing.

CPU and Computational Resources:
Data Acquisition Gateways often use processors from the ARM Cortex-A series or x86 processors, providing strong processing power to support complex data collection and transmission tasks.

Common Technical Solutions:
Common technical solutions for Data Acquisition Gateways include multi-interface design, data collection engines, and secure transmission modules. These components work together to ensure efficient and reliable data collection and transmission.

3. Smart Gateway

The core function of Smart Gateways is local data processing and alarm mechanisms. They can process collected data in real-time according to preset rules and automatically trigger alarms when abnormal conditions are detected. This function makes Smart Gateways particularly suitable for applications requiring real-time monitoring and rapid response.

Core Functions:
Local data processing and alarm mechanisms, real-time data filtering, and analysis.

Application Scenarios:

  • Industrial Automation: Monitoring production lines, detecting equipment failures, and triggering alarms to improve production efficiency.
  • Smart Security: Video surveillance, intrusion detection, and alarm systems to enhance security management.
  • Smart Buildings: Managing building equipment, monitoring energy consumption, and automatic control to achieve intelligent building management.

CPU and Computational Resources:
Smart Gateways typically use ARM Cortex series processors, which provide strong processing power to support complex data processing and rule engines, ensuring real-time analysis and processing of local data.

Common Technical Solutions:
Smart Gateways' common technical solutions include data processing engines, rule engines, alarm modules, and local and remote monitoring systems. These components ensure efficient data management and intelligent system control.

4. Edge Computing Gateway

Edge Computing Gateways are key devices in IoT systems, capable of processing and analyzing data near the data source, reducing data transmission latency, and improving system response speed and efficiency.

Core Functions:
Edge data processing and real-time analysis.

Application Scenarios:

  • Smart Manufacturing: Real-time monitoring and analysis of production line data to optimize production processes and improve efficiency.
  • Smart Cities: Monitoring and managing urban infrastructure such as traffic lights and surveillance cameras.
  • Smart Homes: Real-time processing of home device data for intelligent control and automation.
  • Smart Traffic: Real-time monitoring of traffic conditions, predicting and optimizing traffic flow to improve traffic management efficiency.

CPU and Computational Resources:
Edge Computing Gateways typically use high-performance processors such as the ARM Cortex-A series or x86 processors, with strong computational power to support complex data processing and real-time analysis. They may also be equipped with GPUs or FPGAs for further data processing and analysis efficiency.

Common Technical Solutions:
Edge Computing Gateways' common technical solutions include edge computing platforms, real-time data analysis modules, local storage and synchronization mechanisms, and security management modules.

5. AI Gateway

The core function of AI Gateways is local AI inference and machine learning. They utilize built-in AI models to deeply analyze and process collected data, making intelligent decisions based on the analysis results.

Core Functions:
Local AI inference and machine learning.

Application Scenarios:

  • Smart Traffic: Real-time analysis of road traffic data to predict and optimize traffic flow.
  • Smart Security: Real-time video data analysis for facial recognition and behavior analysis.
  • Smart Homes: Analyzing home device data for intelligent control and automation.
  • Predictive Maintenance: Real-time monitoring of equipment status for fault prediction and maintenance.

CPU and Computational Resources:
AI Gateways typically use high-performance processors such as NVIDIA

Jetson or Intel Movidius, with AI accelerators to support complex AI computations and real-time inference.

Common Technical Solutions:
Common technical solutions for AI Gateways include AI model inference engines, data preprocessing modules, local-cloud collaboration mechanisms, and security and privacy protection measures.

6. Cloud-Edge Collaborative Gateway

Cloud-Edge Collaborative Gateways combine the advantages of cloud computing and edge computing, performing initial data processing and analysis at the edge and uploading data to the cloud for further processing and storage.

Core Functions:
Collaborative processing between edge and cloud.

Application Scenarios:

  • Smart Homes: Local control of home devices and cloud-based data analysis.
  • Smart Healthcare: Real-time monitoring of patients' health data with initial analysis at the edge and detailed diagnosis in the cloud.
  • Smart Manufacturing: Real-time monitoring and initial analysis of production equipment status at the edge, with deep analysis and optimization in the cloud.
  • Smart Cities: Real-time monitoring and initial data processing of urban infrastructure at the edge, with comprehensive analysis and management in the cloud.

CPU and Computational Resources:
Cloud-Edge Collaborative Gateways typically use high-performance processors such as the ARM Cortex-A series or x86 processors to support complex data processing and cloud collaboration needs.

Common Technical Solutions:
Common technical solutions for Cloud-Edge Collaborative Gateways include edge computing modules, cloud computing platforms, data synchronization and management mechanisms, and comprehensive security management systems.

Typical Application Scenarios and IoT Gateway Selection Guide

Factory Energy Consumption Monitoring

Factory Energy Consumption Monitoring

Recommended Gateways: Smart Gateway, Edge Computing Gateway

Reason: Real-time monitoring of equipment status and energy consumption is essential for improving operational efficiency and reducing downtime.

Smart Agricultural Greenhouse Monitoring

Smart Agricultural Greenhouse Monitoring

Recommended Gateways: Data Acquisition Gateway, DTU

Reason: Real-time monitoring of environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity, and light is critical for ensuring healthy crop growth. Data Acquisition Gateways can connect various sensors to collect environmental data, while DTUs can transmit data to remote servers for wide-area coverage and remote management.

Application Example:

  • Environmental Monitoring: Data Acquisition Gateways collect and transmit data to central systems for monitoring and adjustment.
  • Remote Management: DTUs transmit data to the cloud for remote viewing and management.

Smart City Garbage Management System

Smart City Garbage Management System

Recommended Gateways: Edge Computing Gateway, Cloud-Edge Collaborative Gateway

Reason: Real-time monitoring of garbage bin fill levels and optimizing collection routes improve urban environmental management efficiency.

Application Example:

  • Garbage Bin Monitoring: Edge Computing Gateways provide real-time fill status and generate cleaning notifications.
  • Route Optimization: Cloud-Edge Collaborative Gateways upload data to the cloud for big data analysis and route optimization.

Smart Traffic Signal Control System

Recommended Gateways: AI Gateway, Edge Computing Gateway

Reason: Real-time analysis of traffic data optimizes traffic signals and flow control.

Smart Hospital Patient Monitoring System

Recommended Gateways: Smart Gateway, Cloud-Edge Collaborative Gateway

Reason: Real-time monitoring of patients' physiological parameters with immediate alarms for anomalies.

Application Example:

  • Patient Monitoring: Smart Gateways monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen levels, triggering alarms for abnormalities.
  • Remote Diagnosis: Cloud-Edge Collaborative Gateways upload data for remote viewing and diagnosis.


Choosing the right gateway type is crucial for building efficient and intelligent IoT systems. By selecting the most suitable gateway type for specific application needs, system performance and reliability can be significantly improved. For example, selecting Smart Gateways and Edge Computing Gateways for factory energy consumption monitoring, Smart Gateways and Cloud-Edge Collaborative Gateways for building central air conditioning smart control, Data Acquisition Gateways and DTUs for smart agricultural greenhouse monitoring, and Edge Computing Gateways and Cloud-Edge Collaborative Gateways for smart city garbage management systems. These choices provide the best solutions for various application scenarios.