Internet of things (IoT) devices have become extremely popular over the past decade for both personal uses and to help with businesses. IoT devices can include anything from a thermostats for temperature control to security cameras, and even things like mouse traps. If your business relies on IoT devices, you will need to make sure that your network is built to support them properly. The following tips will get you pointed in the right direction, but for many smaller companies, the best option usually is to partner with a managed IT services provider that has the knowledge and experience required to set up these types of systems.

Create a Dedicated IoT VLAN

While not strictly required, it is a common best practice to create a separate virtual local area network, or VLAN, that will handle all of your IoT traffic. This is a smart way to do things since it will let you adjust settings and monitor traffic more easily. It will also prevent your entire network from being compromised if it were hacked. In general, companies benefit from setting up separate VLANs for various different types of traffic or systems to make them easier to manage. Some of the benefits of a dedicated VLAN for IoT devices include:

 

  • Easier Management — Managing devices of a specific type on a VLAN is easier since you can make changes to settings, security, and other things across the entire VLAN and be assured that the changes are being applied to all of these types of devices at once.
  • Avoid Errors — Using a dedicated VLAN will ensure that changes that you are making will not cause errors or problems to other types of devices.
  • Dedicated Monitoring — Setting up monitoring on a dedicated VLAN is easier since the tools will be looking at traffic that is only generated from the IoT devices.

Establish Quality of Service Standards

One of the most important things you can do when setting up your IoT network is to establish proper quality of service (QoS) standards. QoS settings are used to determine what type of network traffic is given priority when there is network congestion. The best-known use of this is to give voice traffic (VoIP) top priority because if the data for voice is not sent through immediately, it will cause distortions. The same concepts, however, should be applied to your QoS devices.

 

Look at the various different types of IoT devices that you will be using on your network and decide which ones should be given priority over the others. Some concepts to consider when setting up IoT device QoS                                                                                                                                          include:

 

  • Criticality of Data — If you have a security camera set up in a high-risk area, it should be given top priority so you can be certain that your security team will have a clear video stream of the area at all times.
  • Frequency of Communication — Some IoT devices only send out updates to the network a few times per day. For these types of devices, low QoS settings will not cause any problems.
  • Amount of Data — Looking at how much bandwidth a device will require may also impact what QoS settings will be appropriate. Some devices send large amounts of data, but that data is not time-sensitive. In these cases, you can lower the QoS so it only sends the data during periods of lower bandwidth usage.

 

Of course, your specific company needs will also come into play. Look at how your company utilizes the various IoT devices to make the right decisions on your QoS settings.

Verify Your Security

As with anything that you are connecting to your network, you need to make sure that it will be as secure as possible. Unfortunately, many IoT devices have very little security in place for the device itself. For this reason, you need to make data security management a priority when creating your network.

 

Any IoT devices that do have native security settings should be set up to take advantage of those features as much as possible. The majority of the security, however, will need to be handled on the network itself to get the results you need.

Experienced IoT Professionals

For many companies, partnering with a company like GSDSolutions is the best way to get your IoT network set up and running properly. Our team of IT professionals can work with you to determine the best options for your new network. We’ll handle the data security management, and can even offer IT support in the Bay Area. Contact us today—we’ll be happy to help!

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