What are IoT Network Connectors?

Network connectors are software components used by thingsHub to establish connections to private or public IoT networks. Uplinks from devices will be received using these connectors, as well as downlinks are sent to devices using these connectors. See the page Connectivity for a more in-depth explanation of the underlying concepts.

Comparison of supported features per IoT Network Connector


Kerlink Wanesy Management CenterLoriot Network ServerThe Things NetworkSmall Private NetworkUnitymedia IoT Connect
Network provider /
network server vendor
Kerlink (www.kerlink.com)Loriot (www.loriot.io)The Things Industries (www.thethingsindustries.com)Kerlink (www.kerlink.com)Unitymedia (https://www.unitymediabusiness.de)
Radio technologyLoRaWANLoRaWANLoRaWANLoRaWANLoRaWAN
Connector identifierkerlinkloriotttnspnunitymedia
Connector version3.11 (built-in)3.11 (built-in)3.11 (built-in)3.11 (built-in)3.11 (built-in)
Detailed documentationKerlink Wanesy Management CenterLoriot Network ServerThe Things NetworkKerlink SPN - Small Private LoRaWAN NetworkUnitymedia IoT Connect












Support Matrix

Kerlink Wanesy Management CenterLoriot Network ServerThe Things NetworkSmall Private NetworkUnitymedia IoT Connect (alpha)
Receiving uplinks
Device auto activation
Extended reception data (RSS, SNR, ...)
Sending downlinks
Device Registration

Receiving uplinks is the core functionality of any Network Connector. Uplinks are small binary-encoded messages sent by devices. Different IoT connectivity providers send uplinks in different ways, e.g. via Websockets, HTTP push, or via MQTT. Network Connectors provide a unified interface for receiving uplinks, independently of the transport technology used the connectivity provider.

Device auto activation

If a Network Connector supports auto-activation, and when a auto-activation is enabled for such a Network Connection, then devices will be auto-activated. This means, when an uplink arrives in the thingsHub for which the device is not yet activated, this happens immediately and the uplink is accepted and forwarded.

Extended reception data

A single uplink, as transmitted by an IoT device over a radio connection, can be picked up by multiple receivers (gateways in LoRa terminology). For each such reception, one can measure different values for parameters like signal-to-noise ration (SNR) or the received signal strenght indication (RSSI). A Network Connector which provides extended reception data, is able to receive this data from the network and make it available in the Dashboarding / thingsHub Visualizer.

Downlinks are messages sent back to the IoT device. Downlinks are frequently used for device configuration, but can just as well be used to trigger an actuator which is attached to the device. A Network Connector which allows sending downlinks provides functionality to sending a downlink over a network to the device. Note that, depending on the network protocol, this downlink may be received with considerable delay.

Device Registration

Device Registration allows easy registration (aka provisioning) of devices on the network using the thingsHub.