INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT)

INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT)

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The term "Internet of Things" (IoT) has become synonymous with the link between the physical world of things and the virtual world. Projections indicate that by 2020, significantly more than 50 billion "Things" will be connected to the Internet. IoT application scenarios include fields like Industry 4.0, Connected Car, eHealth, Smart Home & Smart City or Smart Grid.

Requirements for the connection of said "Things" to the Internet are an identification (e.g. RFID or IPv6 addresses), a suitable network interface (e.g. ZigBee, Ethernet, radio transmission), as well as a communications protocol which takes the limited memory and possibly short battery life of the "Things" into account. Additionally, the "Things" are equipped with sensors and actuators in order to receive information about their state or to be able to interact with them. For instance, a simple parking spot can be transformed into an intelligent parking spot by equipping it with a wireless module, by assigning a IPv6 address to it, and by equipping it with a wireless sensor detecting whether or not a car park spot is taken. By transmitting the sensor data to a server, whether the spot is empty or not can be conveniently checked at any given time, in any place with a smartphone.

The ever-increasing growth of digitalized data of the "Things" has opened up entirely new costumer-focused solutions and business models (e.g. Cloud computing, Big Data Analytics). Some manufacturers are already referring to this phenomenon as the "Internet of Eveything" (IoE), unifying humans, processes, things and data within a single and all-encompassing worldwide network. Just as the enormous potential of the purely virtual world of the Internet could not have been predicted 20 years ago, so too are the future applications and possibilities afforded by the IoT equally unpredictable today.

Therein lies the opportunity to proactively shape the future of the IoT with innovative ideas of our own.

Because of this, the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Engineering makes a conscious effort to integrate the topic IoT into the specialization field Information and Communications Technologies of the "Electrical Engineering and Information Technology" Bachelor's program. The required fundamentals can be acquired respectively in numerous related courses as well as laboratories

The connection of the "Things" to the Internet requires high-bitrate Internet access. In principle, possible options include access via fiberglass, TV-cable, radio and DSL - in Germany, most connections are established via DSL (Digital Subscriber Line). In the DSL Laboratory, performance rates of all established DSL technologies (ADSL, VDSL, SHDSL/ESHDSL) ranging up to vectoring and G.fast can be measured scientifically on real transmission cables. G.fast is the predominant state-of-the-art DSL technology, allowing bit rates up to 1 Gbit/s via copper twisted pair cable.

During the semester, students can experiment with the department’s scalable IoT platform. Additionally, it can be used to realize own ideas and concepts within the scope of projects, internships or research for theses. Experiments of the IoT Lab are integrated into the courses Wireless Systems and Mobile Communications as well as Communications Systems 1. An IoT seminar is also scheduled for the project week.

In the Computer Networks Laboratory (CCNA Lab), students learn directly how to build and configure IPv4/IPv6 networks and connect them to the Internet. Important topics are, for instance, the configuration of IPv4/IPv6 routing protocols, tunneling, switching, VLAN, as well as network security methods. Experiments in the CCNA Lab are integrated into the courses Computer Networks 1, Computer Networks 2 and Communication Systems 1.

Furthermore, the theoretical and practical aspects of the IoT are topics of the following courses of the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering: