Making sensor networks IPv6 ready - Embedded.com

Making sensor networks IPv6 ready

Most of current wireless sensor platforms use IEEE 802.15.4 as a physical and medium access control layer. The upper layers of the communication stack, however, remain either proprietary or specified by exclusive alliances such as Z-Wave or Zigbee. This plethora of solutions renders interoperability between different sensor networks difficult.

The diversity of protocols also makes the seamless integration of sensor networks with existing IP networks impossible.The adoption of IP as the Layer-3 protocol to connect wireless sensors has been slow down by the common belief that IP is too large to fit on a memory constrained device. This belief was shown to be false by existing IPv4 implementations, the most well-known being the uIP stack.

Yet, a real Internet of Things requires the large address space of IPv6. This extended address space (2128 instead of 232) together with its auto configuration capabilities makes IPv6 a suitable protocol for large scale sensor network deployments. Moreover, standardization work within the 6LowPan group has reduced the header overhead of IPv6, thereby reducing its power consumption.

We present uIPv6, the smallest IPv6 Ready stack available so far. It has a code size of 11.5 Kbytes and requires less that 2Kbytes of RAM. As a result, it can fit on the most constrained platforms available today. This is an important step for end-to-end interoperability between IPv6 sensors and any IPv6 capable device.

To allow widespread community adoption, we release uIPv6 under a permissive open source license that allows both commercial and non-commercial use.

(**Coauthors on this paper also included Julien Abeillé and Patrick Wetterwald of Cisco Systems; Colin O’Flynn, New AE; Geoff Mulligan,Proto6 LLC, and, Blake Leverett, Eric Gnoske and Michael Vidales of Atmel Corp.)

To read this external content in full, download the paper from the author archives.

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