Industry Insights

CTD: Centralized Vs. Decentralized Deployment

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | by Rudy Montgelas

Two Approaches To An IoT Enabled Infrastructure: Centralized and Decentralized 

Centralized Deployment Model

A centralized approach utilizes a central location where analysis, storage and computing take place. IoT devices are individually connected back to the centralized location, most often through a telecom room, although a cloud service or remote data center can also be used. With the number of connected devices growing on a rapid scale, the central location will need to grow as well. Additional racks may need to be deployed to support these growing number of connections, with the opportunity to segregate out racks dedicated to different IoT applications and functions.

The majority of networked applications today utilize this approach and it is considered the proper deployment method for wireless access points. Some emerging LED lighting systems are using this method in deploying their PoE - powered lighting nodes.

Centralizing data center functions in a single location allows for easier management of the active equipment, but may make it difficult to run new services and devices after the initial deployment has finished.

Decentralized Deployment Model

A decentralized approach, sometimes referred to as a zone approach, employs the use of distributed equipment, often located in ceiling or wall enclosures, throughout the building to analyze, store and process data from nearby IoT devices. This contributes to decisions being made at a much more efficient rate with less distance to travel, as well as distributing workloads. Each zone may have one or many enclosures that house the networking, processing, storage and power components of that zone with only a single or few connections being sent back to the floor’s telecom room. This reduces the number of long cable runs and makes it more efficient to add or remove devices from zones.

The distribution of the active equipment lends to shorter cable runs for applications that require greater power delivery and efficiency. The shorter the cable run, the more power that cable is able to provide to the end device. Intelligent LED lighting applications, security cameras and more can benefit from this model. 



Did You Know?

There Are Many Considerations To Make When Choosing the Right Topology. 

The location where data is scrutinized will impact network bandwidth and latency. It’s important to consider the types of devices and applications that will be supported by the network. Low-latency applications will benefit from a decentralized topology because decisions are made and executed closer to the device. Configurability and cost of the network are also impacted by different topologies. The types of active devices storing, processing and controlling “Things” will differ depending on if they are stored in a ceiling, wall or floor enclosure, or a centralized data center. Securing the wealth of data created by connected devices is also a topology concern. A centralized data center provides a physically secure location with limited human access, while decentralized topologies may utilize closed loop zones with simpler devices, decreasing vulnerability.

A hybrid approach of both a centralized and decentralized deployment may be necessary to support the variety of applications and industry requirements.