Internet of Things (IoT) monitoring is a growing avenue of network monitoring that enterprises are shifting their focus towards. This is only natural as IoT devices are becoming increasingly popular in both domestic and commercial settings. There are an estimated 11 billion IoT devices in the world right now, outnumbering all the people. With improvements in nano-scale technologies, device personalization, and network connectivity, this number will only continue to go up. As such, IoT monitoring is the only way to ensure that they function as intended, and if they don't- to resolve those issues.

IoT monitoring - ManageEngine OpManager

Source: Statista

IoT monitoring: The absolute basics

The IoT refers to a network of connected devices communicating over a network. IoT enables users to monitor and manage devices in a network. For instance, they can schedule the operating hours of a home heating system. This is a simple domestic application of IoT. More commercial applications involve automation, closed control, and real-time monitoring in industries like automobile, manufacturing, and healthcare.

IoT network architecture: How does it work?

IoT operations occur over four layers.

  • Sensing layer: The lowest layer is where sensing takes place. IoT devices collect metrics like device status and other specific performance metrics and communicate them to the layer above.
  • Network layer: The second layer is the network layer. The scope of IoT monitoring is highest in this layer. Intermediary devices like IoT gateways and routers collect device data and connect them to the wider internet. These devices are usually the IoT equivalent of switches and routers. At this layer, encryption and authentication measures are taken to protect data. Communication between the first the second layer is carried out over protocols like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Ethernet.
  • Data processing layer: The third layer is the data processing layer. Here the data is analyzed and correlated to provide insights. The second and third layers communicate over TCP/IP protocols.
  • Application layer: This data is then presented to users through the fourth and top layer: the application layer. User interfaces are provided for the users to monitor device data and perform actions through applications or websites. Application processes are secured using protocols like HTTPS.

Why do we need IoT monitoring?

IoT use is both wide and varied, but if adequate focus isn't provided for IoT monitoring, IT admins will have limited visibility into the performance of these devices and often will have no idea what to do when issues arise. An IoT network can have hundreds of devices in it, and these devices often communicate over wireless networks, which are hard to manage and troubleshoot.

There can be a myriad of issues that can cause IoT devices to go down.

  • Bandwidth congestion
  • Weak signal strength
  • Gateways or routers going down
  • External attacks
  • Misconfigurations

In addition, there could be other issues with the supporting devices or the network that can affect IoT performance. IoT monitoring also involves ensuring that these devices and services are up and running. These issues include:

  • High WAN response time
  • Down websites or applications

IoT monitoring helps prevent unplanned outages. With proper IoT monitoring, you will have visibility on every component of the IoT network, including end devices, gateways, routers, databases, and applications. This gives you proactive insights about issues and a head start on fixing them.

What does an IoT monitoring tool do?

An IoT monitoring tool collects data from IoT devices, gateways, and high-level websites and applications to ensure that they perform optimally. It can perform varied operations like IoT performance monitoring, IoT availability monitoring, and IoT equipment. A good IoT monitoring tool will also offer features like prompt alerting, network visualization, easy device onboarding, failover, AI- and ML-powered insights, and more.

ManageEngine OpManager offers proactive IoT monitoring powered with a range of convenient features, including all those mentioned above.

OpManager: A comprehensive IoT monitoring platform

ManageEngine OpManager is a comprehensive network monitoring tool for servers, network devices, and virtualization that monitors IoT components to alert you regarding any potential discrepancies in them. OpManager uses thresholds to monitor performance and generates alerts when thresholds are violated. OpManager pushes these alerts to you via notifications like SMS, email, and push notifications to ensure that IoT performance issues are acknowledged and resolved.

To help resolve issues, OpManager uses AI- and ML-powered tools like adaptive thresholds, root cause analysis, and automated Workflows. Let's see how OpManager helps you monitor IoT devices.

IoT monitoring with OpManager

Monitor IoT performance

IoT performance monitoring - ManageEngine OpManager

IoT performance monitoring is essential Even if the end devices are lightweight with minimal processing. Moreover, higher-level IoT components like gateways, routers, and database servers need performance monitoring. OpManager monitors CPU utilization, memory usage, disk space and other performance metrics. Adaptive thresholds can be used to prevent alert floods and false positives by dynamically adjusting thresholds based on network activity.

Monitor IoT availability

IoT availability monitoring - ManageEngine OpManager

Availability is key for IoT networks. With so many components at the lowest level, availability monitoring can be quite challenging. With OpManager, IoT availability monitoring is convenient. Once you enable status polling, OpManager polls the devices at set intervals and notifies you when they go down.

Monitor physical health of IoT devices

IoT physical health monitoring - ManageEngine OpManager

IoT equipment monitoring isn't complete without monitoring the hardware health of the component devices. OpManager can monitor hardware metrics like temperature, battery status, cooling fan speed, power supply status, voltage input, and processor clock speed. Hardware health reports provide detailed information on the hardware health of selected devices.

Enable efficient IoT traffic utilization

IoT traffic monitoring - ManageEngine OpManager

OpManager helps you monitor traffic utilization for IoT devices and interfaces. Set monitors using thresholds for incoming bytes, outgoing bytes, and total byte count so that OpManager can alert you before traffic utilization crosses the bandwidth limit. You can also generate reports to get better insights into traffic utilization. For instance, you can create a report for devices with the highest incoming traffic.

Clean up the signals for IoT devices

IoT signal monitoring - ManageEngine OpManager

You can correlate IoT issues with poor signal strength with signal issues. With proper insights into signal strength and noise levels, you can ensure that every IoT device is within the coverage area. OpManager can monitor signal strength, signal-to-noise ratio, and noise levels to ensure that your devices get clean signals. In addition, OpManager can detect rogue devices and access points that connect to your network. This helps prevent bad actors from exploiting your network.

Visualize your IoT networks

IoT visualization  - ManageEngine OpManager

Network visualization is a powerful tool that gives you a complete overview on your entire network. OpManager has loads of visualization tools to help you monitor IoT devices. OpManager maps out device relationships with its topology maps, graphs, dials, and heat maps. With an IoT monitoring dashboard at your disposal, you can see the real-time status of all your IoT devices in one glance.

Monitor network paths outside your network

IoT network path monitoring - ManageEngine OpManager

For complete IoT monitoring, you might need to monitor network components that lie outside your network. For instance, you might use a cloud service provider to host the IoT storage database. OpManager's Network Path Analysis tool monitors network performance on a hop-by-hop basis for each node. You can see the latency and response times for each node to understand where performance issues occur.

FAQs on IoT monitoring

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"The vendor has been supporting during the implementation & POC phases providing trial licenses. Feature requests and feedback is usually acted upon swiftly. There was sufficient vendor support during the implementation phase. After deployment, the support is more than adequate, where the vendor could make some improvements."
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