Commercial heating technician working on an IoT application with a commercial heater

Examples of Redundancy in IoT

The intentional duplication of critical components or functions of a system with the goal of increasing reliability of the system, usually in the form of a backup or fail-safe, or to improve actual system performance.

Source: Redundancy (engineering). (2023, May 30).
In Wikipedia.

Redundancy in IIoT applications refers to the practice of including backup or duplicate components, systems, or processes to ensure reliability and availability of interconnected systems. The more critical the application, the more redundancy measures are in place. Redundancy helps to mitigate risks associated with hardware or software failures, communication breakdowns, and other issues that could arise in IIoT environments. When implemented correctly, redundant applications:

  • Mitigate single points of failure.
  • Enhance reliability and availability.
  • Protect against data loss and corruption.
  • Increase network and security resiliency.
  1. Devices: Having multiple identical IoT devices that perform the same function. If one device fails, the others can take over the workload. For example, in a building automation system, having multiple temperature sensors ensures accurate readings even if (or when) one sensor fails.
  2. Communication: Using multiple communication channels to ensure connectivity between IoT devices and the central server. If one channel fails, the system can switch to another. This could involve using both Wi-Fi and cellular networks for data transmission.
    • One common application is to use two relays in a “heartbeat,” where each device pings the other. When communication fails an action can be taken, such as performing a reboot or informing the user. A popular device for this task is the X-401™.
  3. Gateways: In larger IoT deployments, multiple gateways can be used to connect devices to the cloud. If one gateway fails, the devices can switch to another operational gateway.
  4. Cloud Service: Employing redundant cloud servers or services to store and process IoT data. If one server experiences downtime, the data processing can be shifted to another server without affecting the overall functionality.
  5. Power: Including backup power sources, such as batteries or generators, to ensure IoT devices continue functioning during power outages.
    • A combination of controllers—such as the X-404™X-410™, and X-420™—can be used for load-shedding in solar and battery-powered applications. They monitor available power, turning off specific non-critical loads as power availability diminishes to keep critical processes running.
  6. Data Storage: Including backup power sources, such as batteries or generators, to ensure IoT devices continue functioning during power outages.
    • Utilizing our optional cloud service, users can upload or send logs to an FTP server or email address. The ControlByWeb device will also store logs as well through power failure.
  7. Processing: Having redundant processing units that can take over if the primary unit fails. This is common in industrial IoT applications where real-time processing is crucial.
  8. Sensors: Including duplicate sensors that monitor the same parameter, providing consistent and accurate readings even if one sensor malfunctions.
  9. Load Balancing: Distributing the workload across multiple servers or nodes to prevent overloading a single component and ensuring efficient resource utilization.
  10. Firmware/Software: Running duplicate firmware or software on devices, with mechanisms to switch to the backup if the primary software encounters errors.
    • If a local network goes down, a relay can power on a cellular network or shut down or reboot other equipment. One ControlByWeb customer used our WebRelay™ to solve an issue where their software would lock up; the only way to refresh the system was by performing a power cycle. They wouldn’t find out about the failure until customers started calling in. The WebRelay now pings the software and will initiate a power cycle if the ping becomes unsuccessful, allowing the system to be back up and running within a few minutes.
  11. Security: Implementing multiple layers of security mechanisms to protect IoT devices from cyber threats and breaches.
  12. Location: IoT devices connected to servers, data centers, and other equipment distributed across different physical locations to reduce the impact of localized disruptions or disasters.
  13. Routing: In IoT networks, using redundant routing paths to reroute data in case of network failures or congestion.

This is a sizable list, but it represents only an overview of how redundancy is practical in IIoT applications. What types of redundancy have you used—or are considering using—in your application? We’d love to hear about it and answer any questions you may have. For help with your industrial application, get in touch with our team or schedule a 15-minute demo to get a feel for our devices.

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