Manage Massive-Scale IoT Networks with MYTHINGS Central
MYTHINGS Central provides an all-in-one network management solution for MIOTY low power wide area networks.
Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) are changing the wireless game with signature features such as broad range, ultra-low power consumption, and low device and operating costs that cater to large-scale IoT deployments. One single LPWA network can support hundreds, if not thousands of sensor nodes – depending on the specific radio technology.
With such a huge network size, a key element to consider when looking to adopt any LPWAN solution is effective network and device management. A highly scalable, future-proof architecture requires a tool that makes it easy to provision large numbers of nodes, view all messages from a single interface, and seamlessly transfer your data to other IoT platforms and enterprise systems.
In this blog, we take a deep dive into MYTHINGS Central, a dedicated software service from BehrTech for streamlined deployment and management of LPWAN architecture using the MIOTY™ (TS-UNB™) technology. Included in all MYTHINGS offerings, MYTHINGS Central provides an all-in-one solution for device on and off-boarding, cloud/backend integration, data monitoring, and network troubleshooting.
You can access MYTHINGS Central using our out-of-the-box web-based user interface (UI) or via a RESTful API. In this blog, we focus on network management using the web interface. For more information on how to use the API, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MYTHINGS Overview Page
When you log into MYTHINGS Central, the Overview page presents an overall view of your MYTHINGS network including managed Base Stations, the number of connected sensor nodes, and existing MQTT connections. Managed Base Stations send updates to MYTHINGS Central regularly, so you’ll always stay up to date with your MYTHINGS network.
Powerful Device Management
Onboarding nodes is easy in MYTHINGS Central. Every MYTHINGS-enabled sensor node includes a unique 32-bit node ID for identification and authentication purposes, and a 128-bit network session key which ensures that messages from MYTHINGS sensor nodes are encrypted during transmission.
You can add nodes in MYTHINGS Central UI in a number of ways. Many MYTHINGS-enabled nodes include a Quick Response Code (QR) tag. You can use a QR reader to read the node information. Alternatively, you can scan a QR image directly into MYTHINGS Central by pointing the QR code into your device’s camera.
Being able to quickly identify a sensor node is important and in MYTHINGS Central, you can assign a descriptive name, location, and information fields to your sensor node.
You can view messages containing telemetry and radio information such as signal strength from connected MYTHINGS nodes as they are received by the Base Station. This is very useful for troubleshooting. You can also filter messages by node and export message data from a single node or all nodes to a csv file for further analysis.
Flexible Node Type Configuration for Vendor-Agnostic Sensor Support
The number and types of sensors in the IoT world are almost endless, reporting everything from temperature and humidity to sound and movement. Even within each group of similar sensors, data requirements can vary widely. Take temperature sensors as an example. One use case might require regular updates of the room temperature with 1 to 2-degree deviation tolerance, whereas another might require greater preciseness, requiring values to the fifth decimal. Also, you need to consider whether the temperature needs to be reported in Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin.
To keep up with the vast assortment of IoT sensors, MYTHINGS Central includes a unique Data Description Structure that enables you to flexibly define your own sensors. Simply specify some meta data including model, ID, and telemetry data of the node in a JSON file and upload it to the MYTHINGS Central. Once defined, the Base Station will be able to recognize the node’s type, interpret its payload and in turn, display the data in a user-friendly manner in the UI.
Easy Integration with External Systems
MYTHINGS Central was designed with the expectation that you want to forward data to external analytics platforms whether in the cloud or on-premises. Integration with cloud-based applications is fast and straightforward using our built-in cloud connectors and support for IoT messaging protocols like MQTT. Our fully developed REST API also allows users to access and execute MYTHINGS Central functions on their own system and interface.
Microsoft Azure cloud integration is embedded in our software architecture. When a new node is added in MYTHINGS Central, a native Azure function automates the creation of the IoT device in the Azure IoT hub, thus avoiding the need to create the device a second time in Azure. An Azure mapping, representing a virtual connection between a MYTHINGS sensor and a corresponding IoT device in Azure – is easy to set up in MYTHINGS Central.
Robust Plugin System for Enhanced Integration
MYTHINGS Central further includes a plugin system that extends system functionality and enables data streaming not available with our RESTful API.
The plugins have their own release cycles to simplify maintenance and updates and can be deployed in any computing environment. Unneeded plugins can also be easily deactivated to save computing resources. In addition to being able to use the built-in plugins, developers can create new plugins. To create a new plugin for MYTHINGS Central, contact email@example.com.
AWS Bridge Plugin
MYTHINGS Central supports connectivity with AWS IoT Core through our aws bridge plugin. After mapping nodes in MYTHINGS Central, node messages received by the Base Station are forwarded to the IoT Core in the AWS cloud, where the data can be analyzed and visualized using a back-end application. Communication between the plugin and AWS IoT is secured using the X.509 Public key infrastructure and X.509 digital certificates to associate a public key with an identity in the certificate.
Using the Cumulocity Plugin, MYTHINGS Central provides integration with Cumulocity IoT for visibility and control over your IoT assets in Cumulocity. After mapping nodes in MYTHINGS Central, when the Base Station receives messages from a node, the data is forwarded to the Cumulocity IoT cloud, where it can be analyzed and visualized.
Ericsson IoT Accelerator Plugin
MYTHINGS Central provides the Ericsson IoT Accelerator plugin upon request to help users easily deploy a highly functional and scalable LPWAN – 5G hybrid architecture. Ericsson IoT Accelerator is a global IoT platform built to connect and manage cellular devices from various telecom network services worldwide. With the plugin, you can relay MYTHINGS data to the Ericsson backend to seamlessly manage all devices and data across both LPWAN and cellular networks via a unified platform/UI.
Multi Base Station Support for Improved Network Range
Although a single Base Station can receive messages from thousands of sensor nodes, an extended LPWAN network might include managing several Base Stations. In MYTHINGS Central you can assign Name, Information, and Location fields to each Base Station to easily identify Base Stations that you are managing.
By default, each Base Station communicates with its local instance of MYTHINGS Central. You can, however, manage multiple Base Stations from a single MYTHINGS Central instance to extend the coverage of your MYTHINGS network. For example, you could manage two Base Stations located 5 kilometers apart from each other from a single instance of MYTHINGS Central. After you have configured MYTHINGS Central to manage multiple Base Stations, each time you add or delete a node from MYTHINGS Central, the changes are sent to all connected Base Stations.
To sum up, network and device management is a crucial part of any IoT deployment. MYTHINGS Central includes flexible and powerful features to help you quickly set up and administer your end-to-end IoT architecture – accelerating time-to-market of your IoT project. As it comes included in all MYTHINGS offerings, you can avoid the hassle and costs of procuring a third-party network management service. If you’re interested in learning more about the MYTHINGS architecture, check out some of our other blogs including MQTT and why you should use it in your IoT Architecture.