Internet of things (IoT)

What is Cloud and Fog Based Architectures in IoT?. The Complete Internet of things (IoT) Developer Course 2023 [Videos].

Cloud architecture is centralized and consists of large data centers that can be located around the globe, a thousand miles away from client devices. Fog architecture is distributed and consists of millions of small nodes located as close to client devices as possible.

Let us now discuss two kinds of systems architectures: cloud and fog computing (see the reference architectures in [8]). Note that this classification is different from the classification in Section 2.1, which was done on the basis of protocols.

In particular, we have been slightly vague about the nature of data generated by IoT devices, and the nature of data processing. In some system architectures the data processing is done in a large centralized fashion by cloud computers. Such a cloud centric architecture keeps the cloud at the center, applications above it, and the network of smart things below it [9]. Cloud computing is given primacy because it provides great flexibility and scalability. It offers services such as the core infrastructure, platform, software, and storage. Developers can provide their storage tools, software tools, data mining, and machine learning tools, and visualization tools through the cloud.

Lately, there is a move towards another system architecture, namely, fog computing [1012], where the sensors and network gateways do a part of the data processing and analytics. A fog architecture [13] presents a layered approach as shown in Figure 2, which inserts monitoring, preprocessing, storage, and security layers between the physical and transport layers. The monitoring layer monitors power, resources, responses, and services. The preprocessing layer performs filtering, processing, and analytics of sensor data. The temporary storage layer provides storage functionalities such as data replication, distribution, and storage. Finally, the security layer performs encryption/decryption and ensures data integrity and privacy. Monitoring and preprocessing are done on the edge of the network before sending data to the cloud.

Often the terms “fog computing” and “edge computing” are used interchangeably. The latter term predates the former and is construed to be more generic. Fog computing originally termed by Cisco refers to smart gateways and smart sensors, whereas edge computing is slightly more penetrative in nature. This paradigm envisions adding smart data preprocessing capabilities to physical devices such as motors, pumps, or lights. The aim is to do as much of preprocessing of data as possible in these devices, which are termed to be at the edge of the network. In terms of the system architecture, the architectural diagram is not appreciably different from Figure 2. As a result, we do not describe edge computing separately.

Finally, the distinction between protocol architectures and system architectures is not very crisp. Often the protocols and the system are codesigned. We shall use the generic 5-layer IoT protocol stack (architectural diagram presented in Figure 2) for both the fog and cloud architectures.

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