Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (6-13-11): Wireless sensor networks - Embedded.com

Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (6-13-11): Wireless sensor networks


Embedded Newsletter for 06-13-2011

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June 13, 2011

Tech Focus: Wireless sensor network challenges & opportunities


Sensor fusion brings situational awareness to health devices

Clearing up the mesh about wireless networking topologies: Part 1

DDS and the future of complex, distributed data-centric embedded systems

Expanding the Embedded Universe: Migrating From IPv4 to IPv6

Editor's Note

Bernard Cole Bernard Cole
Site Editor

According to recent studies the wireless sensor networking chip market grew by 300% in 2010 and is doubling yet again this year. More important for embedded systems developers, wireless-enabled sensor spending grew by 80% in 2010 . This increased interest in embedded wireless connectivity is also reflected in the 2011 Embedded Market Study.

But with great opportunities come great challenges. In Ron Wilson’s recent column on wireless networks he pointed to the serious problem of wireless security , especially as more of these networks use or interface to the wider Internet via the IPv6 protocol. In “ Sensor Fusion brings situational awareness to health devices , ” Supreet Oberoi points out another serious problem: how do you collect, organize and respond to the information you are getting from the wireless sensors?

As some of the design articles in this newsletter will elaborate, data-centric networking methods in the form of the Data Distribution Service and the Java Messaging protocol will go a long way toward solving the data management problem.

Then there is the problem of real time and deterministic performance over wireless sensor networks, given the fact that the IPv6 protocol many of these devices will connect to is still asynchronous, with no real global clocking mechanism. Specifications such as IEEE 1588have emerged to deal with this but adoption is moving happening slowly. To fill in the gap, wireless network-specific protocols such as WirelessHART, 6LowWPAN, and AODV have been proposed.

The new IPv6 protocol makes available unique URLs that are counted in the billions of billions of billions. Even if every human on the planet had his or her own URL address, the number of URLs still available is essentially infinite, raising the prospect that almost every embedded device in the world will have its own URL. Will sensors with 8- or 16-bit MCUs be up to this challenge, or will 32-bit MCUs dominate?

These are questions that I think need to be addressed and I look forward to hearing from you with your ideas and contributions.

Design How Tos

Sensor fusion brings situational awareness to health devices

A data-centric sensor fusion architecture is essential for building situationally-aware applications.

Building a effective real-time distributed publish-subscribe framework Part 1

This is the first tutorial in a series on the basics of the Data Distribution Service versus the Java Messaging Service as real time, deterministic mechanisms for linking enterprise systems with distributed microcontrollers, sensors and actuators.

Clearing up the mesh about wireless networking topologies: Part 1

A two part series updates you on wireless mesh networking, comparing traditional approaches such as Zigbee to more deterministic topolologies such as Wireless HART, 6LowWPAN, and adhoc on demand vector routing (AODV). Part 1: The basics.

DDS and the future of complex, distributed data-centric embedded systems

Stan Schneider describes how pervasive data in distributed applications can managed to simplify the design task for complex embedded systems.

Eeny, Meeny, Miney Moe: choosing a low power wireless network protocol – Part 1

In this three part series, the authors review the choices available to designers of wireless sensor networks and some of the criteria by which to make the right choice. In Part 1: wireless network protocol basics

Selecting a Wireless Sensor Development Platform

Anton Hristozov surveys the various wireless sensor development systems and describes the criteria he used to select a 802.15.4 platform for a network project at the University of Pittsburgh.

Selecting the Right Wireless Mesh Topology

To effectively develop a mesh networking system, designers must understand the requirements of an application and choose the right operating topology. Here are some tips to help with those decisions.

Using IEEE 1588 for synchronization of network-connected devices

A brief tutorial on the IEEE 1588 Precision Clock Synchronization Protocol and its use in wired/wireless network apps including CDMA, GSM. and femtocells.

Expanding the Embedded Universe: Migrating From IPv4 to IPv6

With the imminent exhaustion of IPv4 address space, and a mounting number of embedded devices pushing the limits, it is time to move to IPv6. Here's how IPv6 corrects three problem with IPv4 and what you need to know to make the shift.

Securing wireless ad hoc networks: Part 1 – single and multi-hop ad hoc networks

In the first of a three part series, Praphul Chandra goes into the details of the technical challenges of making wireless ad hoc network protocols such as Bluetooth more secure and how to achieve this goal.

Toward a structured approach to wireless sensor network design

Optimize your wireless sensor network design with this look at some practical approaches and tips and tricks that can help you shed many days from the overall design cycle.

Power efficiency trade-offs key to wireless sensing success

Understand the power efficiency trade-offs in this “hot” application area

Call for Abstracts

ARM® TechCon 2011 Call For Abstracts

We are now accepting abstracts for the technical program at ARM® TechCon 2011, to be held October 25 – 27 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.

The technical program will be presented over three days. On October 25, we will offer tracks on Chip Design. On October 26 and 27 the tracks will cover Software and System Design.

Deadline to submit: Friday, June 17, 2011

To Submit an Abstract for the Chip Design Conference, October 25, click here:

Chip Design Track Descriptions

SoC Architecture & Analysis
SoC Design begins with architectural concepts and analysis. Sessions in this track will describe the architectural choices, IP integration issues, and system analyses that define the front end of ARMIP-based SoC design.

SoC Design & Verification
These sessions will cover key aspects of the design and verification flow for ARM processor-based SoCs, from conceptual frameworks to best practices.

SoC Design for Power & Performance
As technology scales for increased circuit density and performance, the need to reduce power consumption increases in significance as designers strive to utilize the advancing silicon capabilities. In these sessions the focus will be on the techniques than can be used to match performance or power targets.

SoC design depends upon reusable silicon IP. These sessions will focus on both the IP qualification process and some novel new alternatives in IP for ARM processor-based SoCs.

SoC Verification of Challenging Structures Modern verification methodology has developed primarily in the pure-digital space. But there are many IP blocks in ARMprocessor-based SoCs, from interconnect structures to tightly-integrated mixed-signal functions, that require extensions of the existing verification orthodoxy. Sessions here will examine some of these cases.

To Submit an Abstract for the Software and Systems Design Conference, October 26 & 27, click here:

Software and Systems Design Conference Tracks

Android / Open Source
Development tools, middleware, native application development, turnkey solutions, optimized drivers… Android, Linux, FreeRTOS…

Computing Platforms
Standardization, specifications, board/module design, subsystems, servers, mobile/netbooks, consumer.

Producing code and debugging for ARM instruction set.

Efficient Software Design on ARM-Powered systems Optimized stacks, Multi-Core optimization, C-code, memory and cache use, data types & structures, OpenCL, Programming optimally for NEON.

Human Interface Design
Multiple Screens, Motion sensing and controller-free interfaces, trackpads, Voice recognition, Visual computing, augmented reality…

Low Power Design
Hardware and software techniques to maximize performance while reducing power and trade-offs, Power estimation, Low Power MCUs.

Microcontroller Platforms
Off-the-shelf devices, development tools and systems, simplified programming, application design.

Networking & Connectivity
Wired/wireless connectivity, Integration in hardware and software, networking stacks, power management, etc., CAN, USB, Sensors.

Safety & Security
Firmware safety, security against tampering in hardware and/or software, physical or network interference, CoreSight, TrustZone-based services, virtualization, smartcards.

The Fundamentals of ARM
As more engineers and companies look to join the ARM ecosystem there is an on-going requirement for information on the basics from core/device selection to commercial requirements – licenses, royalties.

System Standardization (ARM only)

To Submit an Abstract for the Chip Design Conference, October 25, click here:

To Submit an Abstract for the Software and Systems Design Conference, October 26 & 27, click here:

A note for returning speakers:
UBM Electronics have transitioned to a new, user-friendly, Call for Abstracts Submission Portal. Your EETimes.com credentials will allow access to the new Portal. If you are not registered with EETimes.com, please go ahead and create an EE Times log-in using the prompt we provided. Please retain this log-in information, as this will allow access to future Call for Abstracts.

We look forward to receiving your submissions.

Erin LeMoine
Conference Manager


Battery-less, RF-powered energy harvesting wireless sensor system targets building and industrial automation

Powercast Corporation has unveiled its Lifetime Power Wireless Sensor System for wireless environmental monitoring in HVAC control and building automation.

ISM band wireless gateways and nodes for industrial sensor networks

The SureCross Performance wireless gateways and nodes from Banner Engineering feature a high-power radio frequency architecture with 1-Watt transmit power in the 900 MHz ISM band.

Wireless sensor node includes solar harvesting

Silicon Laboratories Inc. has introduced a wireless sensor node solution powered by a solar energy harvesting source.


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