3 Layer Architecture of IoT

Internet of Things (IoT) technology has a vast variety of applications and use of the Internet of Things is growing exponentially. Depending upon different application areas of IoT, it works accordingly as per it has been designed/developed. But it does not have a standard, universally accepted architecture of working.  Still, there is a basic process flow based on which IoT is built.

Since there is no particular defined architecture for IoT, let us dive deeper into the 3 layered architecture of IoT with the following layers and take a look at each layer in detail:

  1. Perception Layer

  2. Network Layer

  3. Application Layer

3 Layer Architecture of IoT

1. Perception Layer: Perception, as the name suggests, means to perceive. Its functions are analogous to the eyes, nose, ears of a human body. As a result, the perception layer is also called the sensor layer. 

A sensor is a device or a module that detects changes in the surroundings. It sends the data captured to other electronic devices or a microcomputer or a microcontroller. Additionally, it converts the physical quantities captured and converts it into analog or digital signals for further processing.

There are a wide range of sensors able to capture data including location, temperature, orientation, movement, vibration, acceleration, humidity, etc. Some of the most common sensors used in various IoT applications are:

Temperature Sensors: We use temperature sensors every day for temperature control in buildings, water temperature regulation, and to control refrigerators. Temperature sensors are also vital in many other applications such as consumer, medical, and industrial electronics. Each application may have a different temperature sensing need.

Humidity Sensor: A humidity sensor is also found as part of home heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems (HVAC systems). These are also used in offices, cars, humidors, museums, industrial spaces and greenhouses and are also used in meteorology stations to report and predict the weather.

Pressure Sensor: Pressure sensor applications consist of altimeters, barometers, sensing printer ink levels, air flow rate in equipment, IT center/ computer cooling systems, semiconductor process equipment, and laser measurement, as well as clean room monitoring devices.

Proximity Sensor: Proximity sensors are used in smartphones to detect if a user is holding their phone near their face. Used on automated production lines for object detection, position, inspection and counting.

Level Sensor: Level sensors are used primarily in the manufacturing and automotive industries, but they can be found in many household appliances as well, such as ice makers in refrigerators.

Sensor Type

DIY Sensor Example

Industrial Sensor Example

Temperature Sensors

Power Integrated Solutions- LM35

Thermo Sensors Corporation Garland- RTD (Pt100 or Pt1000)

Humidity Sensors

Fizzible Tech Private Limited- DHT11

Silicon Labs- SI7021

Pressure Sensors

Robodo- Sen36


Proximity Sensors

Robodo- IR Proximity Sensor

Pepperl+Fuchs SE

Level Sensors

Allegro- A1356

NivoGuide- NG 8100/8200


Murata- MPU 6050

Silicon Labs- EQ-TR-VBT1A4


Dytran Instruments- MPU 6050

STMicroelectronics- I3G4250D

Gas Sensors

Nissha Company- MQ2

Technovation Analytical Instruments Pvt. Ltd.- Siro-CO2

InfraRed Sensors

Mangalam Electricals- TS118-3

Robocraft- MLX90614

  1. Network Layer: Network layer is also known as transport layer. The data captured by the perception layer devices are converted into digital form. After that, it gets transmitted and processed via the secure channels of the network layer which acts as a bridge.

    The medium for the transmission can be wireless or wired. The network can be a LAN or a WAN. There are different types of LAN and WAN networks for IoT based on the requirement. It not only connects the Device Layer to the Application Layer but also connects other network devices, servers and networks to each other.
    Cloud computing and Data Management are also present in this layer. 
    Data transmission can happen using any of the following technologies: RFID, ZigBee, GSM, Wi-Fi, etc.
  1. Application Layer:
    An application layer is also known as an
    Abstraction Layer. It specifies the shared communications protocols and interface methods used by hosts in a communications network. The application layer is what the user interacts with.

It delivers application-specific services to the user and defines all applications in which IoT has been deployed. It is the interface between the end IoT devices and the network.

In addition to that, it has the authority to provide services to the applications. The services may be different for each application because of services based on the information collected by sensors. It is applied through a dedicated application at the device end.

Such as for a computer, the application layer is applied by the browser. The application layer in the Internet is typically based on HTTP protocol. However, HTTP is not suitable in a resource constrained environment because it is extremely heavyweight and thus incurs a large parsing overhead.
So, there are many alternate protocols that have been developed for IOT environments. For instance, some of the popular IoT application layer protocols are as follows – MQTT, SMQTT, CoAP, DDS, XMPP, AMQP, RESTful HTTP, MQTT-SN, etc.

Blog Author

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