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Device types

This document describes the types of devices nRF Cloud supports, and how they appear in API responses.

Bluetooth Low Energy devices

nRF Cloud supports most Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) devices. Connecting a Bluetooth LE device to nRF Cloud requires Bluetooth LE 4.2 or later and a gateway. Bluetooth LE devices are not onboarded and do not have an IP address.

For these devices, you can see "type": "BLEDevice" in JSON responses when calling the ListDevices or FetchDevice endpoints.

Internet Protocol devices

Internet Protocol (IP) devices are onboarded to nRF Cloud. Onboarded devices have an IP address.

The two main types of IP devices are gateways and generic devices.

You can add an IP device to your account using the nRF Cloud portal, the REST API, or by logging into a phone gateway. Use LTE Device if adding through the portal.


Gateways are IP devices that support connections to Bluetooth LE peripherals.

You can see "type": "Gateway" for these devices in the JSON response when calling the ListDevices or FetchDevice endpoints.


Phone gateways are not intended for use in production, but only for small-scale development. Phone gateways use AWS Cognito for authentication, not X.509 certificates.

MQTT permissions for phone gateways are managed through a Cognito-based IoT policy. See Device security. Phone gateways use a JavaScript-based MQTT client that uses WebSockets.

The nRF Cloud team provides an open-source nRF Cloud Gateway application, available for Android and iPhone. Using this app, you can create a gateway for your nRF Cloud account and connect Bluetooth LE devices.

The phone must be awake for the application to work as expected. On the app's Account page, enable Stay awake (iPhone) or Background mode (Android).

If the gateway indicates in the web portal that it is not connected, try closing and restarting the app. The Account page is also where you can see the gateway ID, which helps you identify it in the nRF Cloud web portal or in REST API responses.

Nordic Semiconductor does not currently offer LTE gateway hardware.

Generic device

A non-gateway device is a generic device in nRF Cloud. These devices show as "type": "Generic" in the JSON responses when calling the ListDevices or FetchDevice endpoints.

Account device

An account device has MQTT permissions to monitor the message traffic of all devices associated with your account. You can use the certificate for this device to connect to the nRF Cloud MQTT broker and monitor device traffic for debugging purposes, or set up your own MQTT message bridge.

You can create an account device using the CreateAccountDeviceAndCertificate endpoint.

Software devices

A software device is a software application that runs an MQTT client. An example of this is the nRF Device Simulator. The device simulator simulates a generic device by default and appears as "type": "Generic" in the JSON responses. The simulator is not limited to generic types and you can modify it to simulate any other supported device types.

You can run IoT devices on any type of hardware that supports an MQTT client, such as the Raspberry Pi. The type depends on your implementation for the device type.

Custom devices

nRF Cloud supports custom devices built using Nordic Semiconductor chips and is not limited to development kits.

Sub types

In addition to generic and gateway devices, nRF Cloud supports the subType property, also known as thingType. For more details about the use of this property, read the documentation for the ProvisionDevices endpoint.