Windows 10 IoT Core vs Enterprise – Similarity and Differences

When Windows 10 was formally introduced along with plenty of other things, Microsoft did not talk of Windows 10 for IoT, but it did drop hints at an operating system for tiny, smart devices. It was code-named Athens and now, after almost five years, is ready to give other IoT operating systems, a run for their money. This was neatly visible when we wrote about Contiki vs. Windows 10 for IoT. While working with Contiki, you have to take special care of security and other aspects while Windows 10 IoT has built-in security features that you can use. There are two major offerings from Microsoft for IoT: Windows 10 IoT Core and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise.

Windows 10 IoT Core vs Enterprise

Windows 10 IoT Core Features

Windows 10 IoT Core is good for devices that are dedicated to a single task. The devices may or may not have any display. A display is required during programming and end users do not need it always unless they need to see some data.

Windows 10 IoT Core may run on both ARM and non-ARM devices. Windows 10 IoT Enterprise won’t support ARM-based devices as they are built for complex computations such as in ATMs and PoS systems which tend to get hot when exposed to complexities.

Windows 10 IoT Core vs Enterprise version

Devices hooked to the Internet of Things can be divided into two types:

  1. Single app devices
  2. Multi app devices.

Devices that can run only one app or as we can say, devices that are dedicated to only a single purpose, are single app devices. An example can be a temperature controller or a baby camera app. Then there are devices that are tiny but run multiple apps. Take one of the smartwatches for example. You’ll have a temperature controller, a fitness app, baby cam controller, and a few other things like calling and SMS.

From the above, it is evident that there must be two types of IoT operating systems that allow for either one or many apps. Windows 10 IoT Core is the first type. It helps in building a single app (or dedicated app). Windows IoT Core package is tiny but able to run background processes to provide data to the main app for which, the device was built. In other words, it contains only Windows 10 IoT operating system.

Windows 10 IoT Enterprise is an amalgamation of both IoT and full Enterprise version. It allows certain components of Windows 10 (main operating system) to be installed on smart devices. That in turn, allows running multiple apps at the same time. So basically, Windows 10 IoT Enterprise is IoT + Regular Windows 10 Enterprise OS.

Long-Term Service Channel – LTSC

While talking about differences between Windows IoT Core and Windows IoT Enterprise, it is essential to talk about Windows Updates. Windows IoT Core version is basically single app focussed or in other words, a device supposed to perform only a single thing. Such apps don’t require regular updates as they may break the basic app’s functionality. Thus, for Windows 10 IoT core, updates are as few as possible – spread over a long range of time. This goes well also because such devices do not require feature updates. All they need are updates that keep the device secure.

Windows 10 IoT Core is considered for Long Term Service Channel, much like the servers of any multinational that do not get updates too often. In fact, IoT Core gets even fewer updates as it doesn’t need those spring and fall feature updates. This doesn’t mean that the IoT Enterprise version will get too many updates. It too is LTSC and requires only those updates as required. The deployment of these updates (in Enterprise) is handled by the admins or makers of the device.

The above post explained the basic differences between Windows 10 IoT Core and IoT Enterprise. If you have anything to add, please comment.

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Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN