Welcome to the RTI Connectivity Standard Selection Tool

If you are planning to build an intelligent distributed system, this tool can help you decide which connectivity standard is the best fit to your use case.  

No connectivity solution is a fit to every problem. RTI specializes in one of the standards, Data Distribution Service (DDS), so you may think this tilts towards that answer. However, it’s in our interest as well as yours to ensure that users select the appropriate technology. In fact, our main goal in presenting this tool is to prevent people from spending our time and their time trying the wrong solution.

The tool is based on work done at the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) which culminated in an essential industry resource called the Industrial Internet Connectivity Framework (IICF). The goal of the IICF is to help system designers understand the many standards and choose the right one for their applications. The IICF is the result of deep insights of many experts, including those from the top industry consortia, many companies, and most of the important standards. Its most surprising conclusion: the Industrial IoT is so big that the technologies don’t really overlap. The impression that there is overlap is mostly just confusion.   

The first goal of most designers is to get started in the right direction. By understanding the use cases, architectures and target end users, it is possible to select a best-candidate connectivity standard for most problems.  

This tool simply builds upon the IICF guidance to present a simple set of checkbox questions. It then scores your answers to determine the likely fit of your application to each technology, and provides a summary of the recommended protocol(s), by weighted score. At the end, it will explain why those questions are indicative of the technical choices. Since the February 2017 publication of the IICF, new technologies have emerged and others have faded in importance. We have incorporated two applicable additional technologies into this tool: Apache Kafka and ROSAnd we have intentionally omitted CoAP, oneM2M and RESTful HTTP from this 2021 version of the tool, as they now play a less significant role in mission-critical, distributed systems solutions.   The five technologies or standards evaluated in this tool are DDS, OPC UA, MQTT, Apache Kafka and ROS.

Since the connectivity options are so different, in most use cases, there is only one choice in connectivity technology. This may sound distressing, but in reality, the lack of overlap in the connectivity space actually makes an architect’s task much simpler. The real problem isn’t choosing between similar options; it is understanding the different options and overcoming biases. 

The Connectivity Selection Tool consists of 5 sets of questions and takes approximately 8 to 10 minutes to complete. Upon completion of the question sets, you will immediately receive the summary results of the analysis of your answers. You will then have the option to receive the detailed analysis of your answers, to better understand why each of your answers led to the summary conclusion.

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