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Internet of Things - IoT

Unit Code: MN603

Unit Title: Wireless Networks and Security

Assessment Title: Evaluation of IoT networks

Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia

Purpose of the assessment (with ULO Mapping) - The purpose of the assignment is to compare the communication technologies for IoT and evaluate their performance. Students will be able to complete the following ULOs:

b. Compare standards-based technologies used in various networks;

c. Test and evaluate various wireless networks performance;

Introduction: The assignment derives a comparison of the IoT technologies on sensor networks and wireless communication. An emphasis is made on the operation band, techniques of modulation, data rates and a nominal range of operation. An evaluation is made on the performance of these technologies. The privacy and security issues regarding IoT have also been discussed. Lastly, a proposed communication technology regarding IoT based devices has been recommended.

Question 1: Comparison of the existing communication technologies for IoT by emphasizing on the use of sensor network and wireless technologies in terms of:

a. Band of Operation

b. Modulation techniques

c. Data rates

d. Nominal range of operation

Answer: Comparison of communication technologies

Weightless: This is an IoT based application used for one way sensor monitoring. This wireless network has a nominal range of 5km radius. The modulation technique involved in Weightless is differential BPSK. This network's security employs 128-bit encryption. The data transfer rate ranges from 0.1 to 24 Mb/s. The frequency band of Weightless is less than 1 GHz. This technology is mostly used in two way high performing communication .

LoRa: Long range (or, LoRa) technology is mostly used in selected industries in Asia for establishing wireless communication. This IoT based technology has a data transfer rate of less than 50kbps. It uses a (PHY) physical layer of modulation. The frequency band of LoRa is less than 1 GHz. The nominal range of operation in LoRa is between 2 to 5 kilometres. This is a relatively lesser used technology due to its lesser viability .

NB IoT: This is a newer version of LTE technology based on IoT. NB or Narrow Band IoT has a data rate of 0.1 to 1 Mbp/s. The nominal range of NB IoT is several hundreds of kilometres. This is an open network used principally for full usage of the public. Modulation technique employed in NB IoT is OFDMA for downlink and SC FDMA for uplink communications. The frequency band of this technology is 10 to 20 MHz.

SIGFOX: This wireless technology is made for usage in low range IoT and M2M applications. This is a special kind of network technology that uses ultra-narrowband modulation technique. This is used to transmit messages over a wide area at nominal data rates. Here the data range is shallow. It is less than 50kb/s. The frequency band of SIGFOX is less than 1 GHz .

Internet of Things - IoT 1.jpg

Wi-Fi: This is the most widely used network communication used in several IoT based cases. This technology is used primarily for establishing a network connection over a short or medium range. The frequency band of WiFi ranges from 1 to 5 GHz. Here the data range ranges from as low as 100 kbps to Gb/s speed depending on the type of network. The modulation of most commonly used WiFi application, HaLow is OFDM. Another Wifi based technology targeting application in IoT is 802.11af. This is mostly employed in broad areas like offices, industries for quick network access. The data rate here is from 100kb/s to 24 Mb/s. The nominal range of 802.11af ranges within a few kilometres .

Internet of Things - IoT 2.jpg

WirelessHART: This is a specially designed networking technology used extensively in large-scale industries. Here the

The frequency band is mostly 2.4 GHz. The data rate varies from 250 kb/s to 1 Mb/s. The nominal operating range is 100 meters. This is an expensive IoT based application employed in sensor networks, wireless communication, and monitoring .

ZigBee: This is the most popular choices for the Internet of Things. This technology is exceptionally secure using several layers of encryption. It is also enhanced periodically to update this privacy and security features. ZigBee operates under 2.4 GHz frequency band. It has a data rate of 250 kb/s. The nominal range of ZigBee is low operating within 100 meters. It uses AES 128 based encryption and is extensively used in IoT applications.[Referred to Appendix 1]


Question 2: Evaluate the network performance of the communication technologies for IoT and comment of how wireless technologies impact the performance

Answer: Evaluation of the existing technologies

The network performance in Weightless application ranges depending on the type of application use. Weightless-N is used only for short-range using narrow encrypted channels for sensor monitoring. Wireless technology has enabled the use of remote monitoring of data with minimal interferences. Wireless-P is used for even shorter radius within 2 km employing QPSK modulation. Wireless-W operates on a broader scale of 5 km or more. Here wireless technology has enabled transmitting signals on a high frequency (470-900 Mhz) at 10 Mb/s data rate .

In WiFi application, wireless technology has made the creation of a high-speed internet network possible. The new age WIFi application like HaLow or 802.11af can handle data rate of 300 Mb/s to over 1 Gb/s. However, wifi networks mostly suffer from security breaches. NB IoT is one of the significant achievements of wireless-based technology in NB IoT is that it solves long-range data transmission problem. It uses 180 kHz network subcarriers at a data rate up to 1 Mb/s. The network performance of WirelessHART is medium as the data rate is capped at 1 Mb/s. This application widely benefits from wireless technology similarly like Wifi.

ZigBee network performance is low compared to WirelessHART, but it serves the purpose. For a short distance encrypted data transfer, ZigBee is the most capable and trusted application. Here the wireless technology used is based on 802.15.4 standard which adds extra layers of security to the protocol. This has provided an advantage of using ZigBee as the most trusted IoT based application.

LoRa uses a wireless network to transmit data over a limited range. The network performance in technology is also poor resulting in a drop in usage. Initially, it was developed for a low-cost wireless system for Asian industries. Later on, the other IoT based applications gained more acceptances in this sector. In SIGFOX, the data rate is meagre which the reason for its decreasing usage is. SIGFOX uses a high-frequency, low data rate wireless communication to transmit signals. Though it initially gained importance in the US defence services, later on, the usage dropped significantly.


Question 3: Identify and analyse the security and privacy issues in IoT, particularly the issue of securing its wireless system.

Answer: Identification and Analysis of privacy & security issues

The critical privacy and security issues in IoT are listed below:

Vulnerable to hacking - According to a report at FTC, IoT holds the capability of generating over 150 million data points spread across thousands of households. This creates a huge possibility of data compromise. In a worldwide survey, it is estimated that 32000 firmware from IoT devices has been subjected to hacking due to poor encryptions and backdoor unauthorised access. Taking, for example, Foscam baby monitors were subjected to hacking that created a nationwide panic.

Trust & Privacy Issues - IoT devices result in a massive flow of data, and there are no effective means to identify the threats and solve it. Most organisations suffer from confidential data compromise as there is no concrete evidence of data hack in IoT devices. The main problem of IoT devices is their security measures are only confined to their network perimeter.

Collection of data & protection - IoT devices collects large data and has weak security that leaves a space for malicious hackers to access sensitive information. However, the real threat lies in the mechanism of IoT. The interconnectivity between the IoT devices enables hackers to tap into a network device and gain access to other devices using IoT as a medium. This increases the chances of data theft, device and identity manipulation, falsification of data and other forms of cybercrime.

These privacy and security related issues about IoT lies in securing its wireless network. The key measures to secure a wireless system are listed below:

• The IoT is evolving with the advancement of wireless technologies. A wireless network of IoT needs end-to-end encryption with layers of added security. NB IoT and weightless technology need to implement a CCMP encryption method to prevent unauthorised backdoor access. This secures the header and data source in the wireless network .

• As IoT is mostly used in homes and offices, hence the common Wifi networks need to be secured. To achieve that, strong, complex passwords need to be used and changed at frequent intervals. For securing the network, every node has to be checked and security framework improved to access to unauthorised use .

• For WirelessHART and 802.11af applications, 256 SQL based encryption needs to be installed. A TKIP should be attached to every data packet before transmitting to avoid data tapping. It must be made mandatory to implement AES protocol in every major business organisations.

• ZigBee is useful for its useful encryption, yet its wireless channels are often prone to hacking. To ensure it is not compromised, its wireless systems need to pass through MAC or MIC protocol that allows AES algorithm to run in the network. This will not just encrypt sensitive data, but it will also validate data sent and received.[Referred to Appendix 2]


Question 4: Propose a communication technology for IoT enable devices in a home network.

Answer: Proposal for a communication technology

The use of Li-Fi can be used as an innovative communication technology in a home for using IoT devices. Li-Fi is a high-speed multi-directional communication technology that uses lights to transmit data similarly like Wi-fi. This is a unique form of data communication between IoT devices at home. This technology transmits data by modulating light intensity received from a detector. This is then re-modulated into its electronic form .

The application of Li-Fi in modern homes is limitless. This technology extends the possibility of wireless communication beyond our current understanding. The usage of Li-Fi has two significant benefits - versatility and security. Li-Fi can be used in places which install LED lamps. The same lamp could be used to monitor, transmit and control data. It is fast, reliable, low-cost but extremely effective communication techniques. Even the data density in Li-Fi is almost 1000 times higher than standard wifi. This reduces bandwidth sharing that in turn maintains the speed of transmission.

The second most crucial factor in Wifi is its security. Each Li-Fi device has its unique IP that cannot be routed through VPN. Unlike Wifi that is prone to network vulnerability, Li-Fi is free from all sorts of network interference. This expands the usage potential of Li-Fi beyond homes to data centres and airports. Thus, it provides a better, heavily secured and low recurring cost of wireless technology for IoT devices in a home .[Referred to Appendix 3]


Conclusion: From the above data, it can be summarised that IoT poses challenges to network privacy and security but it does not mean it requires suppression. IoT is here to make our lives easier and efficient. Effective countermeasures must be taken to handle this problem and create a more secure future. As IoT is improving with enhancement in wireless systems, this requires a secure security protocol. Researchers can work out new methods to lubricate this privacy and security issues and make IoT secure and affordable. Alternative communication technology like Li-Fin could be introduced at homes for IoT devices. It provides a better network coverage than existing technologies with better security features.


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