Harnessing the Power of IoT in the Federal Landscape, Part 1

In the dynamic world of the Internet of Things (IoT), where interconnected devices and systems are the driving force behind innovation and efficiency, the importance of maintaining a secure and reliable infrastructure cannot be overstated. As federal agencies increasingly adopt IoT technologies, the need for a network that delivers robust connectivity and top-tier security becomes critical.

Harnessing the Power of IoT in the Federal Landscape, Part 1

RUCKUS Networks stands out as a powerful solution, providing capabilities that promote uninterrupted communication, efficient power usage, and strong defense against potential cyber threats. By utilizing a secure and reliable network infrastructure, federal agencies can fully exploit the benefits of their IoT deployments, creating a connected ecosystem that thrives on stability, performance, and uncompromising security.

IoT devices integrated into federal networks are typically designed with functionality that aligns with mission-critical objectives, which demand reliability and resilience. That's why it's crucial to clearly define the various types of IoT deployments within federal networks. This helps with tailoring security measures, meeting regulatory compliance, optimizing resource allocation, and managing risks while enhancing operational efficiency in a complex and dynamic network environment.

IoT Type Network Segment and Technology

Commercial Internet of Things

LAN (Ethernet): Audio Visual Systems, Security Systems, Lighting systems
PAN (Bluetooth, Zigbee): wearable technologies (earphones, watches) and personal medical devices (pacemakers)
WAN (4G, 5G, LTE, Satellite): autonomous vehicles
WLAN (BLE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave): Asset tracking, opinion measurement, smart home devices (thermostats, home security systems)

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

LAN (Ethernet): Building Management Systems (BMS), HVAC Control, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), Industrial Robots, Energy Monitoring Systems, Inventory Management Systems, Warehouse Automation Devices, Video Surveillance Systems, Access Control Systems, Air/Fire/Gas Detection Systems.
LPWAN (LoRaWAN, LTE-M, NB-IoT): GPS Trackers, RFID Tags, RFID-enabled Asset Tracking Systems, Vehicle Tracking Systems, Telematics Devices, Soil Moisture Sensors, NPK Sensors, Crop Monitoring Systems, Livestock Monitoring Devices.
WAN (4G, 5G, LTE, Satellite): GPS Trackers, Vehicle Tracking Systems, Telematics Devices, Driver Behavior Monitoring Systems.
WLAN (BLE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave): Temperature Sensors, Pressure Sensors, Proximity Sensors, Air Quality Monitors, Water Quality Sensors, Noise Level Monitors, Vibration Sensors, Oil Analysis Sensors, Power Quality Monitors, Smart Meters, Demand Response Devices.

Infrastructure Internet of Things

LAN (Ethernet): Building Management Systems (BMS), HVAC Control, Security Systems, In-Building Wireless (IBW) sensors, motion detectors, Lighting systems
LAN (Ethernet), WLAN (BLE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave), LPWAN (LoRaWAN, LTE-M, NB-IoT): Asset tracking, connected surveillance cameras, connected streetlights, Door/gate monitoring, Manhole sensors, Parking Sensors, Smart Metering

Internet of Military Things (IoMT)

LPWAN (LoRaWAN, LTE-M, NB-IoT): Sensors and Biometrics, Munitions, Armor, and Weapons
PAN (Bluetooth, Zigbee): Human-Wearable Devices
WAN (4G, 5G, LTE, Satellite): Vehicles, Robots, UAVs
WLAN (BLE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave): Asset Tracking


Although strategically incorporating these devices can allow federal agencies to reap the benefits of increased connectivity and automation, the secure network infrastructure still plays a pivotal role in this process. The robustness and integrity of the network supporting these devices are essential for maintaining a resilient and secure IoT ecosystem within the federal sector. In the next section, we explore the key aspects outlined in government guidance.

US Government Guidance

NIST Special Publication 800-213A serves as a catalog of IoT device cybersecurity capabilities and non-technical supporting capabilities. It offers guidance on considering system security from the device perspective, allowing for the identification of device cybersecurity requirements—the abilities and actions an agency will expect from an IoT device and its manufacturer and/or third parties.

The special publication caters to the needs of federal agencies looking to deploy IoT devices within their systems. The IoT Cybersecurity Act of 2020 mandates NIST to provide guidance for federal agencies on “the appropriate use and management by agencies of [IoT] devices” connected to information systems. SP 800-213A includes mappings to SP 800-53 and NIST Cybersecurity Framework controls for traceability to RMF guidance, and an IoT cybersecurity profile based on the RMF low-impact baseline control set in SP 800-53B. While the act does not specify any penalties for non-compliance, the law empowers the CIO to prohibit the head of any agency from “procuring or obtaining, renewing a contract to procure or obtain, or using an [IoT] device” if they find through a mandatory review process that the use of the device prevents compliance with NIST standards and guidelines. Securing the network can play a crucial role in enhancing the security of IoT devices, which aligns with the principles of the IoT Cybersecurity Act of 2020.

Common IoT Vulnerabilities and Exploits

Many IoT devices can inherently possess insecurities. These known exploits and vulnerabilities can expose users to potential risks by threatening the privacy of sensitive information and providing opportunities for malicious actors to exploit and compromise the integrity of connected systems.

Here is a list of the most common vulnerabilities that lead to IoT device exploitation:

  • Configuration Flaws: Refers to misconfigurations in IoT device settings, which can potentially exposing vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers to compromise device security.
  • Hard-Coded Keys: Involves embedding encryption or authentication keys directly into the device's code, making them easily accessible to attackers and posing a risk to data confidentiality.
  • Insecure Update Mechanisms: Involves vulnerabilities in the update processes of IoT devices, allowing attackers to manipulate or inject malicious code during firmware updates, compromising the device's integrity and security.
  • Insecure Networks: Make it easy for cyber adversaries to exploit weaknesses in the protocols and security measures of IoT devices.
  • Remote Code Execution (RCE): Allows attackers to execute code on IoT devices from a remote location, potentially leading to unauthorized control or compromise of the device.
  • Weak/Hardcoded Passwords: Occurs when IoT devices have weak or hardcoded passwords, making them susceptible to unauthorized access and control by malicious actors.

In the upcoming segments of this blog series, we will delve into the advantages of utilizing managed switches—with a special focus on ICX® switches—over their unmanaged counterparts, and understand their role in a risk mitigation strategy. Additionally, we will discuss the convergence of wireless technologies, as the integration of Wi-Fi® and IoT technologies has proven to streamline network management and cut down procurement costs. Lastly, we will explore the advancements in Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E, and Wi-Fi 7, as each can be tailored to cater to specific IoT deployment scenarios—from Target Wake Time (TWT) in Wi-Fi 6 to Multi-Link Operation (MLO) and Punctured Transmission in Wi-Fi 7.

Whether your priority lies in network efficiency, security, or adopting the latest wireless standards, this blog aims to provide valuable insights into constructing robust and efficient IoT networks.

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