Free Internet of Things Dissertation Example
Internet of Things: Literature Review
The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is becoming an interesting topic of interest in both the places of work and outside of it. With the ever-changing and advancing technological environment, it is only a matter of time before the internet completely controls the world and people’s way of life. Since its introduction 15 years ago, the Internet of Things has become a concept that every stakeholder around the world has developed an interest in and has become an area of conversation globally (Gubbi, et al., 2013). However, the questions of what this concept entails, its use, the complexities surrounding it as well as the impact it has or likely to have on the lives of human beings, among others, have been at the center of the conversation surrounding the concept. Therefore, this paper reviews the literature on the “Internet of Things.” The first part reviews the general literature about the concept, its meaning, the domains, its use, their layers, and the protocols used in each of the layers. The second part reviews the literature on the security challenges with details on the properties, security designs, and weaknesses. Lastly, the third part explains more about the communication protocol used with the concept, their functionality, design, security, and layers.
Key Words: Security, Internet of Things, Application, Domains
About Internet of Things
According to Dorsemaine, et al., (2015), IoT has a variety of applications fields including healthcare, asset tracking, and resource management, among others. Depending on the field of use, different technologies can be utilized to achieve the objectives in the mentioned areas. However, each of these functions comes with a particular vision of what IoT and its connected objects are. In essence, the definition attached to the Internet of Things can be said to be non-specific as there is no universal definition of the concept. Regardless of the lack of global picture, Dorsemaine, et al., (2015, p.73) defines IoT as “a group of infrastructures interconnecting connected objects and allowing their management and data mining and the access to the data they generate.” Based on this definition, connected objects are also defined by Conti, et al., (2018, p.701) as “sensors or actuators carrying out specific functions and that can communicate with other equipment.” It is part of the communications that allows for the transportation, processing, storage and access to the produced data by customers, user or other mechanisms.
Ideally, the Internet of Things is a growing concept that is slowly being adopted by different sectors. According to a report by Lin, et al., (2017), it is estimated that by the year 2020, there will be over 20.6 billion connected devices in the world. In fact, the constant growth of IoT has been witnessed since the year 1990 when there were only 0.3 billion devices connected and this number raised to 9.0 billion in 2013. In this regard, the current uses or applications of IoT are well-known. For instance, technology has made it possible for the concept to be applied in the form of “Smart Home” (Zanella, et al., 2014). Being the most searched technology related to IoT on Google, it has since become an innovative ladder of accomplishment in homes, and it is projected smart home technology will be as extensively used as smartphones soon. The feature is very simple- it is a just a form of controlling every aspect of a person’s home, from the air conditioning to the lighting through a single set of technology (Zhao & Ge, 2013). In essence, every device in the house is connected making it easier to control them even if one is not in their home. Therefore, with the issues of security and invasion becoming a problem for residential areas, people will soon adopt this feature of IoT completely.
Another form of application is connected cars where a person has an automotive digital device specifically focused on effectively enhancing the internal functions of automobiles. In fact, major product brands such as BMW, Tesla, Apple, and Google are already working on completely applying the technology on the next generation of automobiles (Al-Fuqaha, et al., 2015). Lastly, the most common feature of IoT is the industrial internet. The feature is mainly used in industrial engineering with big data, software, and sensors to create radiant machines (Shah & Yaqoob, 2016). In fact, the technology is already in use and is estimated to improve the world GDP by $10 trillion to $15 trillion which is a good advancement in the technology sector.
The basic model of IoT comprises three main layers namely Business layer, Application layer, and Perception layer. First, Application layer majorly works in the interest of the customers (Sain, Kang, & Lee, 2017). It provides services that are requested by the customers. For instance, it can provide the air humidity and temperature measurements to the customers who request for that particular data. The main significance this layer has in service improvement is that it is able to provide smart services of high-quality to meet the desires and needs of the customers making it one of the most reliable features of IoT. Second, the Perception layer corresponds to the IoTs’ physical sensors that aim to gather and process data. The layer includes sensors and actuators that execute different functions such as motion, weight, temperatures, humidity, acceleration, and querying location, among others (Chang, et al., 2018). Lastly, the Business layer manages the entire system services and activities. The main function of this layer is to build graphs, business models, flowcharts, etc., with the data obtained from the Application layer (Wu, et al., 2010). Also, it is supposed to analyze, design, evaluate, implement, develop and monitor IoT system-related elements making its advancement in the technological environment.
The current technological environment provides several domains that allow for the application of IoT, which include healthcare domains, logistics and transportation domains, social and personal domains, and smart environment domains such as plant, office, and homes (Atzori, Iera, & Morabito, 2010). First, in the logistics and transportation domains, the application of IoT is increasingly becoming evident. For instance, the use of actuators, sensors and processing powers in the new generation of cars is a demonstration of this transformation. Also, Frost & Sullivan (2016) state that roads and transported goods are also fitted with sensors and tags that send vital information to vehicles and traffic controllers. Other ways of application are through mobile ticketing, assisted driving and augmented maps. All these are a demonstration of IoT application in this particular domain.
Second, in the healthcare domain, the major areas where IoT technology is applied are tracking of people and objects, authentication or identification of people and staff, and automatic data sensing and collection done within the healthcare facilities (Atzori, Iera, & Morabito, 2010). Third, in the social and personal domain, the applications revolve around social networking, historical questions about events and objects in studying trends and interpreting current events, and searching for lost or stolen items. Lastly, according to Moinuddin, et al., (2017), smart environment domain entails applications such as robot taxis which are anticipated to be environmentally friendlier, city and home information models to enhance security, and improved game rooms to help gamers or players to sense movements, locations, and temperatures. The domains provide a platform for the application of IoT in a bid to improve the livelihood of people.
Protocols used in the Layer
Based on the nature of the application of the Internet of Things, there is need to support some standards and have protocols to ensure effective application. In this regard, there are different protocols that carry out vital functions in the various categories of its application. First, the application protocol includes the Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) which outlines the protocol of web transfer by Representational State Transfer (REST) (Karagiannis, et al., 2015). The CoAP mainly interfaces the data exchanges between the server owners and the clients. Also, the application protocol includes Data Distribution Service (DDS) which relies on broker-less architecture which is well suited for the IoT.
Second, Service Discovery Protocols are also used in the application process. In this protocol, services are discovered and managed to suit the demands of the customers and organizations. Based on technological demands, the IoT’s high scalability can register resources in every sector for management purposes (Granjal, Monteiro & Silva, 2015). Lastly, Infrastructure Protocols provides guidance on areas such as roads, homes, and offices by laying down the structures needed to apply IoT (Lam & Chi, 2016). Therefore, with the above protocols in place, the application of the IoT in the different sectors and domains becomes easy.
Internet of Things Security Challenges
At the time IoT was introduced, many people were skeptical about its functionality and the dynamics surrounding its application (Raza, et al., 2017). One of the major fears was security with the most common challenges being authentication, confidentiality, data integrity, and access control. First, authentication has become a more complex concept with self-configuring and new standards protocols (Weber, 2010). In short, it is a challenge to know who accesses your data through your device because of the complexities involved in the process of authentication- this is a major security concern. Second, confidentiality is another issue. From past experiences, IoT messages can easily be intercepted by third parties with the help of new technologies (Ammar, Russello & Crispo, 2018). For instance, when a person tries to access their homecare application through a public Wi-Fi at a hotel, they make it easier for third parties to access the content of their activities with the same network. Third, data integrity concerning the privacy of a person’s personal information is also a problem that the IoT application has to deal with (Tuna, et al., 2017). For instance, when a person secures his or her car or medical devices, it might be damaging if the information finds itself in the hands of third parties. In fact, exposure of car details may even lead to accidents when the third parties hack the system of the automobile.
Lastly, according to Salman, & Jain (2015), communication security is also another challenge. In any system, standardized security mechanisms are necessary for the protection of communication details in different layers. For instance, in the application layer, the protocol used is CoAP and should be applied using the user-defined security protocol (Khan, Rehmani & Rachedi, 2017). Failure to secure this layer, the details of a person’s communication may be exposed to the public and may become damaging. Also, the network layer experiences challenges of access control and authorization. The question of “who has the right to access a certain network” has been the major focus in this area (Wollschlaeger, Sauter & Jasperneite, 2017). In short, to secure information, access control or authorization mechanisms should be able to determine the people that have rights of access and prevent unauthorized individuals from connecting or accessing information.
The Internet of Things communication protocols is understood through their designs, the different layers, their functionality, and security. Their explanation takes the following forms:
There are two most commonly used designs in the IoT communication protocol namely Wi-Fi and IEEE802.15.4 (Dragomir, et al., 2016). According to Wolf & Serpanos (2018), IEEE 802.15.4 was created based on the protocol stack slanted towards low data-rate, short range, and energy proficient communication. In its latest version, additional Medium Access Control (MAC) and physical (PHY) layers have been amended to support the industrial markets effectively. On the other hand, Wi-Fi connections are defined by the 802.11 categories of standards. They are normally operated in crowded wireless settings which might lead to degradation and interference of performance (Burg, Chattopadhyay & Lam, 2018). Their standards utilize dissimilar channel widths. For instance, the 802.11n utilizes channels with an approximate width of 40MHz while 802.11ac uses channels with an approximate width of 80MHz. Therefore, designs also influence communication protocols of IoT.
Functionality and Security
The two designs function differently. For IEEE 802.15.4, MAC is secured and identified by the flags enabled by the security features within the Frame Control Field (Tao, Cheng & Qi, 2017). The flag then detects the presence of supplementary security connection which contains data on the ways of securing the frame. When the security level is zero, it means that the frame is not secured whereas when the security level is between one and three or five and seven, it means the frame is sent secured by the Message Integrity Code.
On the other hand, Wi-Fi operates on a network range centered on predetermined channels located within the available bands (Nguyen, Laurent & Oualha, 2015). However, the list of accessible channels is dependent on the geological regions. For instance, in the range of 2.4GHz, eleven channels are found in America while thirteen in Europe. To secure Wi-Fi, the likely protocols include Wi-Fi Protected Access (versions WAP and WAP2) and Wireless Equivalent Privacy (WEP), is highly recommended and effective in the current market- it is found in all the Wi-Fi certified devices (Airehrour, Gutierrez & Ray, 2016). In fact, WAP2 supports personal and public authentication methods.
Finally, it is important to note that technology is advancing day by day. With the increasing awareness of the different aspects of technology, understanding how it impacts the lives of people is important. Based on the review of the different pieces of literature above, it is evident that IoT greatly influences the way we live our lives. Therefore, the application of the IoT in different domains demonstrates the impact this technological advancement has changed the livelihood of people.
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