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A Survey of Protocols and Standards for Internet of Things

VIII. IoT Challenges

Despite the amount of work and standards on IoT, developing a successful IoT application is still not an easy task due to multiple challenges. These challenges include: mobility, reliability, scalability, management, availability, interoperability, cost and energy harvesting. In the following, we briefly describe each of these challenges.

A. Mobility

IoT devices are supposed to move freely in the environment and, hence, change their IP addresses and connect to networks relative to their locations. Thus, routing protocols, such as RPL have to reconstruct the DODAG each time a node goes off the network or joins the network which adds a lot of overhead. In addition, mobility might result in a change of service provider which can add another layer of complexity due to service interruption and changing gateway.

B. Reliability

For emergency response applications, it is very critical to keep the system perfectly working and delivering all of its specifications correctly. Hence, in IoT applications, the system should be highly reliable and fast in collecting data, communicating them and making decisions. Wrong decisions can lead to disastrous scenarios.

C. Scalability

As millions and trillions of devices get connected in a single IoT application, scalability becomes a challenge that needs to be solved. Managing device distribution and functionalities is not an easy task. In addition, IoT applications should be tolerant of new services and devices constantly joining the network and, therefore, must be designed to enable extensible services and operations.

D. Management

Even though several protocols to manage devices remotely were discussed, these protocols can not be applied to all IoT applications, and hence, management is still a big challenge. Providers need to manage faults, configuration, accounting, performance and security (FCAPS) of their interconnected devices.

E. Availability

Availability of IoT platforms should guarantee both software and hardware availability for system users and service subscribers. Software availability means that the services are provided to the users, even when failures happen. Hardware availability means that the existing devices are easy to access and are compatible with various protocols. In addition, these protocols should be compact enough to be embedded within the constrained IoT devices.

F. Interoperability

Interoperability means that heterogeneous devices and protocols need to be able to inter-work with each other. This is challenging due to the large number of different platforms used in IoT systems. Interoperability should be handled by both application developers and device manufacturers to deliver the services regardless of the platform or hardware specification used by the customer.

G. Cost and complexity

Despite the relatively cheap prices of IoT devices such as sensors and smart transducers, it still costs too much to build an IoT application. Such complex integration of different protocols and standards makes IoT applications not available for general public usage. Reducing the cost and complexity is a massive challenge that needs to be solved.

H. Power Harvesting

Power harvesting is still a challenge in IoT devices due to a lack of harvesting technologies for such small, resource constrained devices. Power is a critical issue in IoT as these devices need to last for years without battery changing and might be embedded in a body or environment which makes it difficult to change. Hence, collecting energy from motion or any other energy source and transforming it into stored energy seems to be a critical solution for such devices. However, such transformers and collection devices are still too weak to be applied to small devices due to their space and power needs.

I. Summary

This section discussed many current IoT challenges, including: mobility, reliability, scalability, and many others. Despite the amount of work in mobility, scalability, and management, enterprises still suffer these challenges. In addition to these challenges, security, as discussed before, is still a research challenge to be solved.

IX. Conclusion

In this paper, we have provided a comprehensive survey of protocols for IoT. A lot of those protocols have been developed and standardized by IETF, IEEE, ITU, and other organizations while many more are still in development. The discussion was brief due to the large number. Therefore, references for further information have been provided. The aim of this paper is to give an insight to developers and service providers about alternatives for different layers of protocols in IoT and how to choose among them. Through the paper, we classified our sections based on networking layers to: data link, network routing, network encapsulation, and session layers. At each layer, we presented most of the finalized standards and highlighted several drafts. In addition, we briefly reviewed IoT management protocols and discussed some of the existing security standards and work provided at different levels of standardizations. Finally, we discussed several challenges that still exist in IoT systems and that are being solved by researchers.

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