Connecting sensors, embedded devices on low-power networks

A new Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Working Group is chartered with developing a framework for using IP-based routing techniques over low-power, “lossy” networks—networks that wirelessly connect large numbers of sensors and other small, embedded devices in applications ranging from factory automation to the connected home.

06/01/2008


A new Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Working Group is chartered with developing a framework for using IP-based routing techniques over low-power, “lossy” networks—networks that wirelessly connect large numbers of sensors and other small, embedded devices in applications ranging from factory automation to the connected home.

The efforts of the IETF Routing Over Low-power and Lossy Networks (ROLL) Working Group build on recent IETF advances, such as those of the IETF 6LoWPAN Working Group (RFC 4944), which addressed the standardization of IP protocols over low-power wireless radios links.

The new ROLL group, co-chaired by executives from Arch Rock Corp. and Cisco, intends to develop efficient and interoperable routing protocols that support the use of open-standard, low-power IP networking over a variety of physical links, including IEEE 802.15.4, Bluetooth, Low Power Wi-Fi and wired links.

An end-to-end IP-based routing framework will help enable systems of embedded devices that have limited power, memory and processing resources to be connected and managed seamlessly under the IP umbrella, regardless of the type of physical links on which they are connected.

This contrasts with earlier non-IP architectures that have linked entire networking and routing schemes to one radio technology.

“The objective is to reuse a number of existing IP-based technologies and extend or adapt them only when needed to address the specific requirements of these networks. An interoperable IP-based approach, available over a choice of industry-standard low-power radio networks, will help offer our customers maximum interoperability, deployment flexibility and investment protection at minimum cost,” said Jean-Philippe Vasseur, an engineer at Cisco.