In his column “Birthday Week,” Jack Ganssle celebrated the creation of the World Wide Web 20 years ago this month. On August 6, 1991 , Tim Berners-Lee posted the first public description of the World Wide Web on the Internet. Jack also notes the introduction of the IBM PC ten years earlier, on August 12, 1981.
As significant as the introduction of the IBM PC was, what transformed it from desktop computer into a powerful communications machine occurred a month later: the September, 1981 release of TCP/IP Version 4 (IPv4)), the first implementation of the protocol to be widely deployed commercially.
It is still with us today despite the fact that its successor, IPv6, debuted in December, 1998 with many more IP addresses and vastly improved security. But it was only with the September, 2008 release of 6LoWPAN for transmission of IPv6 packets over wireless networks based on IEEE 802.15, that IPv4’s successor is finally taking off.
As noted in a recent Embedded.com newsletter, embedded developers were among the first to start networking their desktop computers using TCP/IP and the WWW. But they also took the Web’s various subsidiary components apart – UDP, HTML, UDDI, XML, SOAP, and WSDL among others – and put them back together in ways that have been useful in embedded systems design.
With the extension of the new IPv6 to include ubiquitous wireless connectivity by means of 6LoWPAN, embedded developers now have a new set of connectivity and design options – and acronyms to learn as the prepare to cope with the challenges and opportunities of the new wirelessly connected embedded systems design environment.
These include: WoT (Web of Things), IoT (Internet of Things), LLNs (low power and lossy networks), ROLL (Routing over LLNs), RPL (Routing Protocol over LLNs), REST (Representational State Transfer), CORE (Constrained Restful Environments), and COAP (Constrained Application Protocol).
I look forward to contributions from you for use on Embedded.com and in ESD Magazine about the challenges you face in this new environment, what you are implementing in your designs and how you are doing it.
Bernard Cole is editor of Embedded.com on-line and of the Embedded newsletters that go out twice a week as well as acting as articles editor for Embedded Systems Design Magazine. He is also a partner in Techrite Associates, LLP, a technical writing and editing consultancy to high technology companies.