IoT technology stack 5 layers: Detailed Overview

July 08, 2024

The technological stack for the Internet of Things (IoT) is an all-inclusive structure that facilitates the operation and amalgamation of IoT architecture layers solutions in diverse applications. This stack is made up of multiple layers, each of which plays a different part in guaranteeing the smooth operation of IoT systems.

Comprehending the IoT stack layers is necessary for enterprises and developers seeking to integrate resilient IoT solutions. The many tiers of layers of IoT architecture will be examined in this article, along with their roles, connections, and significance in building an effective and coherent ecosystem. Stakeholders can better understand the opportunities and complexities of IoT implementations by learning more about each layer.

IoT technology stack

A variety of technologies, standards, and applications make up the IoT technology stack, which links objects to the network so they can gather and use data for different reasons.

This stack consists of various communication protocols in addition to hardware and software components. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LPWAN, BLE, Ethernet, RFID, ZigBee, and other wireless technologies are among how devices can connect. IoT devices link to other edge devices or an IoT gateway to obtain data. After that, the data is either processed locally or transferred to the cloud for analysis, allowing for real-time insights and actions.

These devices communicate with one another and take actions in response to the data they exchange. Even though they run mostly independently, humans can still program, configure, control, and set permissions for data access. The IoT services that are in place determine the network connectivity and communication protocols that these devices employ, giving each one a distinct identity. This has developed into the idea of building a network of connected smart devices and sensors that operate as a unit over time.

5 IoT tech stuck layers

5 IoT tech stuck layers

The regular IP Internet network, computer networks made up of physical things, and other devices like gateways and border routers that link these networks together make up the IoT technology stack. "Smart" sensors and actuators, which are networked together (locally, personally, or worldwide) and are usually governed by a central controller such as a gateway, IoT hub, or IoT platform, are part of the computing networks of physical objects.

Five layers make up the structure of the IoT stack:

Layer 1: Device hardware

The device hardware, whether on-premises or in the cloud, acts as the interface between the physical object and the server, making it the initial layer of the IoT stack.

The correct kind of Central processing unit (CPU) and electrical interfaces are needed to gather data from one or more sensors. These hardware components might be as basic as microcontrollers or as sophisticated as industrial computers. To possibly contain more sensors, actuators, and other input/output (I/O) components, the device hardware is what powers the device software. Actuators regulate appliances like motors, pumps, heaters, or lights, while sensors assess physical characteristics like temperature, humidity, pressure, or vibration. Some examples of additional I/O components are speakers, screens, and buttons.

A Single board computer (SBC) with the relevant interface adapter can be deployed as an embedded device if the objects or sensors meant to become "connected devices" don't meet the required computing power. If there is no industrial communication protocol in use and connecting the machine via a conventional port (e.g., RS232) is not possible, then an SBC and interface cape is also helpful.

Various industries use different protocols for communication: the automotive industry frequently uses CANBus, plant and machinery uses Modbus over RS485 and manufacturing and process automation frequently uses Profibus.

Layer 2: Device software

The device software, which operates on the processor of the device and manages its functioning, makes up the second tier of the IoT stack layers.

An operating system (OS) and application software are common types of device software. The operating system sets up and controls the hardware of the device, establishing a framework on which the application software can run. Common embedded operating systems include both open-source and licensed versions of Bare Metal RTOS, Free RTOS, VxWorks, QNX, and Embedded Linux.

The application software employs the OS's interfaces to deliver particular functionalities. For example, an application may use a wired or wireless link to receive sensor data, control a motor, and send real-time or scheduled status reports.

Layer 3: Communications

Communications make up the third tier of the IoT architecture layers, allowing devices to connect to the internet and exchange data.

IoT communications can make use of a variety of technologies, such as:

  • 2G/3G/4G/5G cellular networks
  • Wired network - Wi-Fi - Bluetooth
  • Zigbee/Thread
  • LTE-M/NB-IoT (cellular licensed LPWANs)
  • Sigfox and LoRaWAN (unlicensed LPWANs)

Devices must speak the same language to communicate with one another, which is where communication protocols come into play. In essence, protocols are rules specifying data structure and transmission requirements. MQTTS, HTTPS, and CoAP are common protocols used in the IoT. These protocols guarantee reliable and seamless data transfer between various devices and networks.

Layer 4: Cloud platforms

The cloud platform, comprising internet-based data centers' hardware and software services, is the fourth tier of the IoT architecture layers. This is where IoT device data is gathered, handled, examined, and kept.

IoT cloud computing offers centralized services with databases and computer resources that are accessible from any location at any time. The cloud provides simple scalability for infrastructure capacity and device data management, in contrast to on-premise systems.

Generally speaking, cloud platforms provide services and tools that make it easier to design and implement IoT applications. The total cost of ownership (TCO) for cloud hosting and operating IoT services is a crucial factor to take into account when selecting IoT services. Several popular cloud computing systems are Unadorned Metal Servers, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and the KaaIoT Cloud.

Layer 5: Cloud applications

Cloud apps make up the last and fifth tier of the IoT architecture. These programs offer end users an interface to communicate with the IoT system while running on top of the cloud platform.

Applications hosted on cloud servers include modules for analytics and artificial intelligence as well as dashboards and reporting tools. Users can see sensor data and operate actuators installed in stationary or mobile equipment, plants, or fleets of vehicles.

API's importance for IoT

An API, or application programming interface, is a collection of rules that control how different parts of software interact. Within the IoT domain, APIs are essential for allowing cloud applications to retrieve data from IoT devices or carry out remote operations. Because they provide a standardized way for different software components to communicate with one another.

Both open and closed APIs are frequently used in IoT applications. A closed API is limited to particular developers or groups, whereas an open API is available to everyone and allows for widespread use.

Different tiers of the IoT technology stack have APIs:

Device APIs

These help devices and the cloud communicate by supporting protocols like MQTTS, HTTPS, and CoAP at the communications layer.

Gateway APIs

Allow data to be transmitted and integrated seamlessly between various devices and the cloud platform.

Server-Side APIs

These allow for server-side interaction with the cloud platform, facilitating data retrieval, analysis, and control. They are often offered as REST APIs.  Because they provide a standardized way for different software components to communicate with one another. This provides efficient collaboration between various devices and apps.

Choosing the right technology stack for an IoT project

It can be difficult to foresee every possible use case for the IoT technological stack. However essential characteristics like data collection, context awareness, and administration tools are necessary. Implementing IoT presents substantial issues in terms of privacy and security. If you're starting a basic IoT project, you'll need to do the following steps. By completing these stages, you may provide the groundwork for your IoT project and facilitate efficient data collection and processing.

1. Select sensors: To measure physical values such as humidity and temperature, select the sensors. Select the method for handling the gathered data.

2. Communication: Choose the appropriate communication protocol and data volume while figuring out how to interact with the sensors.

3. Client setup: Select a client that works well for your network and describe how to communicate with it.

For example building a "Physical Web" for the IoT, where anyone with a smartphone or tablet can communicate with any device with ease and without the need for additional apps. To do this, a web extension that permits smart devices to broadcast URLs must be installed. For adjacent smart devices to find and communicate with one another, this transmission needs to happen over a short distance. Devices of all kinds should be able to interact and share data to a strong discovery mechanism that works seamlessly with both native and online applications.


The IoT technology stack consists of five essential layers that work together to facilitate the smooth operation of IoT devices. Every layer is essential, from the basic hardware and software layers of the devices to the communication protocols that enable data exchange and, in the end, the cloud platform and cloud apps that manage user interaction and data processing.

The intricacy of the stack is a reflection of the various demands and difficulties that come with IoT deployments, such as security, privacy, scalability, and interoperability. However, companies and developers may leverage the power of IoT to drive innovation, improve efficiency, and enhance user experiences across multiple industries by successfully understanding and using these levels.

Are you interested in IoT stack technologies but can’t establish it? Contact us for our  seamles expert help to your IoT devices.