Deploy Internet-of-Things devices behind firewalls with Yaler

7th October 2015
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Yaler is a simple, open and scalable relay service that enables secure outside access to Internet-connected embedded systems and IoT devices that are behind a firewall or router.

Firewalls and Network Address Translators (NATs) can cause connectivity issues when deploying Internet-connected embedded systems and IoT products in the real world, especially in corporate environments.

For example, say you want to access something like an Internet-connected temperature sensor connected to your private LAN from anywhere in the outside world.

Traditionally, this would require opening and forwarding ports at the router, which means extra hassle as well as extra security vulnerabilities, and this needs to be repeated for each additional IoT device you add to the network.

Yaler aims to solve this problem in a simple and easy-to-use manner while also maintaining security.



One common solution is to use port forwarding and to assign an external IP address for each device at the router level. However, this requires the end users of these devices to know how to configure port forwarding and to have administrative access to the network infrastructure, which isn’t always possible.

Yaler aims to solve this problem, making it easy to set up secure Web and SSH access to embedded devices and IoT systems from outside the local network, regardless of whether they’re behind a firewall, a NAT or a mobile network router, and without requiring configuration of the network infrastructure. Yaler provides this in the form of an easy-to-use cloud-based connectivity service.

Furthermore, Yaler provides an infrastructure and service that allows your IoT devices to be accessed from the outside Internet with a simple public URL. This is accomplished by using a reverse HTTP protocol, where a service on the Internet acts as a public relay for these devices on the private network behind firewalls or NATs.

You can use almost any network-connected hardware that provides a TCP socket, with guides and tutorials provided by Yaler that make it easy to get started with popular platforms including the Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel Edison and BeagleBone. A single Yaler relay server instance can host many devices, such as Arduinos, SheevaPlug style devices, Android phones, or any other connected device with TCP socket connectivity.

Furthermore, remote access to local gateways enables the configuration and control of other devices on the network, even if these are embedded IoT devices that use alternative network stacks like Bluetooth Low Energy or 802.15.4/6LoWPAN. If they can be reached via their gateway from the TCP/IP network infrastructure, then Yaler can be configured to talk to these devices.

Libraries and examples are available for Yaler using the Arduino Ethernet shield, the Arduino Yún, Arduino with the Texas Instruments CC3000, and many other popular low-cost IoT development platforms. Yaler also makes it easy to implement a custom binding for any other device, based on the software examples they provide using C, C#, Java or Python.

The process to get started is simple – after the Yaler library, or YalerTunnel command-line tool, has been installed on the device – end users can just plug in their device and access it from outside the local network via the Yaler relay at a known, stable URL.

Once your devices are accessible and addressable from the Web using the Yaler relay, Yaler makes it fairly easy and straightforward to set up integration with other existing Web applications or third-party services that you use.

Yaler enables secure tunnelling of most TCP-based legacy and proprietary protocols, so for example you can use VNC to monitor a machine, or collect data stored in a local database, without compromising on security. The Yaler service supports SSL/TLS encryption, where an embedded device publishes over a secure connection to the Yaler relay, and a client can then access the data over HTTPS.

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Remote access is simplified thanks to the YalerTunnel daemon, enabling remote SSH access to embedded Linux devices via the Yaler relay without the need for port forwarding. This enables you to securely access local embedded computers for administration, monitoring and remote operation.

You can conveniently debug, monitor, reboot or update a device such as a Raspberry Pi, Arduino Yún or any other Linux platform remotely, using standard tools at the command line.

Yaler is based around open-source technology, and it is free to use with a single HTTP relay domain associated with your Yaler account. All Yaler libraries and daemons are freely provided under the Simplified BSD open source license and dual-licensing is possible, to help integrate Yaler into your commercial needs.

This suits hobbyist users, and also makes it easy for enterprise users to get started evaluating the Yaler platform to see how it fits into their IoT needs. You can also move up to paid plans for enterprise users with demanding needs, providing features like a larger number of different domains, HTTPS support, premium support and high amounts of data transfer.

With tools such as Yaler – or many others from around the world – getting your Internet-of-Things product ideas to reality is much simpler than you can imagine. Here at the LX Group we have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, or telephone 1800 810 124.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.

LX GroupDeploy Internet-of-Things devices behind firewalls with Yaler

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