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Posts tagged ‘6LoWPAN’

Out in the Open: The Little-Known Open Source OS That Rules the Internet of Things

Contiki-ipv6-rpl-cooja-simulationFrom Wired:

You can connect almost anything to a computer network. Light bulbs. Thermostats. Coffee makers. Even badgers. Yes, badgers.

Badgers spend a lot of time underground, which make it difficult for biologists and zoologists to track their whereabouts and activities. GPS, for example, doesn’t work well underground or in enclosed areas. But about five years ago, University of Oxford researchers Andrew Markham and Niki Trigonisolved that problem by inventing a wireless tracking system that can work underground. Their system is clever, but they didn’t do it alone. Like many other scientists, they turned to open source to avoid having to rebuild fundamental components from scratch. One building block they used is an open source operating system called Contiki.

“Contiki was a real enabler as it allowed us to do rapid prototyping and easily shift between different hardware platforms,” says Markham, now an associate professor at the University of Oxford.

Contiki isn’t nearly so well-known as Windows or OS X or even Linux, but for more than a decade, it has been the go-to operating system for hackers, academics, and companies building network-connected devices like sensors, trackers, and web-based automation systems. Developers love it because it’s lightweight, it’s free, and it’s mature. It provides a foundation for developers and entrepreneurs eager to bring us all the internet-connected gadgets the internet of things promises, without having to develop the underlying operating system those gadgets will need.

Perhaps the biggest thing Contiki has going for it is that it’s small. Really small. While Linux requires one megabyte of RAM, Contiki needs just a few kilobytes to run. Its inventor, Adam Dunkels, has managed to fit an entire operating system, including a graphical user interface, networking software, and a web browser into less than 30 kilobytes of space. That makes it much easier to run on small, low powered chips–exactly the sort of things used for connected devices–but it’s also been ported to many older systems like the Apple IIe and the Commodore 64.

Read the complete article here.

6LoWPAN Troubleshooting with Foren6

foren6-400p-alphaForen6 is an effort to provide a non-intrusive 6LoWPAN network analysis tool. It leverages passive sniffer devices to reconstruct a visual and textual representation of network information to support real-world Internet of Things applications where other means of debug (cabled or network-based monitoring) are too costly or impractical.

  • Visualize your 6LoWPAN network. Foren6 uses sniffers to capture 6LoWPAN traffic and renders the network state it in a graphical user interface.
  • Detect routing problems. The Routing Protocol for 6LoWPAN Networks, RPL, is an emerging IETF standard. Foren6 captures all RPL-related information and identifies abnormal behaviors.
  • On-site diagnosis. Foren6 captures live packets from deployed networks in a non-intrusive manner. Multiple sniffers can be combined for extended coverage.
  • Debug-oriented. Rewind the packet capture history, replay a previous packet trace and navigate through different overlays to pinpoint problems.
  • Customize to your infrastructure. The network viewer uses floating positions, or user-defined layouts to visualize sensors in their real setting.
  • Android support. An Android port is under development, allowing to visualize 6LoWPAN networks on a tablet. It is ideal for walking around in a WSN.

More info here.

IBM and Libelium Launch Internet of Things Starter Kit

IBM and Libelium, a wireless sensor network hardware provider, today released an Internet of Things Starter Kit to enable dozens of sensor applications ranging from monitoring parking spaces or air pollution to providing assistance for the elderly.

Created by IBM scientists and Libelium engineers to ease application development, testing, and scalability of wireless sensor networks (WSN), the new Internet of Things Starter Kit integrates Libelium’s Waspmote wireless sensor platform with IBM’s Mote Runner software and 6LoWPAN, which allows every single sensor and device to connect directly to the Internet using the new IPv6 protocol.

IBM Mote Runner is an open software development platform that connects sensor and actuator motes within wireless sensor networks based on the IETF 6LoWPAN protocol specification. With the new Internet of Things Starter Kit, a real-time operating system is integrated in Libelium Waspmote nodes to support more that 60 different sensors available “off the shelf,” allowing developers to easily build any application on top. The Internet of Things SDK also includes the source code of the 6LoWPAN libraries so that researchers can modify and add their own algorithms and improvements.

“We have worked closely with IBM to offer a development platform that can be used for both simulation and real IPv6 sensor connectivity,” said David Gascón, CTO at Libelium. “This platform is a powerful tool for improving and testing 6LoWPAN capabilities in the context of wireless sensor networks and the Internet of Things.”

“If we can harvest the Big Data insights from all of the things connected to the Internet we can more precisely understand how our world actually works,” said Thorsten Kramp, a computer scientist at IBM Research. “By making Internet of Things application development easier, the answers to the grand challenges of our age becomes more feasible.”

The Waspmote Mote Runner Developer Kit is available today at here.

Coalesenses: IPv4 and IPv6 Dual Network Stack

Coalesenses offers an IPv4 and IPv6 dual network stack to easily integrate wireless sensor nodes into the internet. Based upon the iSense OS and Networking Firmware, it comprises all functionality required for connecting wireless sensor networks with existing network installations using the internet protocol family.

Within the sensor network, the 6LoWPAN protocol suite (including implementations of neighbor discovery, header compression and fragmentation) is used to transmit IPv6 datagrams over the IEEE 802.15.4 link layer radio interface. The stack supports both the Route-Over and Mesh-Under mode in the sensor network, functionality for routers within the network as well as for 6LoWPAN border routers is included.

Besides UDP and TCP, a HTTP server including Digest Authentication is part of the stack. In addition, it provides a full-featured Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) server (including the Observe Draft). Hence, the stack is ready to offer Restful Webservices within your wireless network.

More info here.

Wireless sensor network proven in action by EISLAB

A completely IPv6-based wireless sensor network has been put to a real life test in northern Sweden for over a year. In a private home in the town of Piteå, the heating system has been successfully monitored and controlled using a 6LoWPAN-based wireless network. A service architecture has been enabled by implementation of the Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) and EXI compression.

“The challenge has been to use IPv6 in a real life project, to adapt the CoAP protocol with EXI compression to the sensor platform (the Mulle platform), and particularly to make the different parts of the system work together”, says Jonas Gustafsson, PhD and part of the research team at EISLAB led by professor Jerker Delsing. “But after some initial ‘struggle’ it has worked out fine; during runtime we have not encountered any major problems. This project is proof that there is possible to use an IP-based system to monitor and control technical systems such as a heating system, using very resource-limited sensor platforms like the Mulle.”

The wireless heat regulation project was carried out in a private home in Piteå, 30 miles south of Luleå where EISLAB has its home base and where the monitoring was carried out.

For more than a full year, the research team in Luleå has been able to monitor and control all functions related to the hydronic heating system in this house. The district-heating substation was controlled using a close loop control, and the wireless network was able to create a pleasant indoor climate by controlling valves and a circulation pump with adjustable r.p.m. Control computations have been made within the wireless network. In addition to the district-heating substation, also power sockets have been monitored through the wireless network. Control computations have been made within the wireless network.

Proof of concept clears the way for new projects
Jonas Gustafsson says the success with wireless monitoring and control of the house in Piteå constitutes proof of concept, and that this means it is time to move into new projects, even in an industrial environment.

“Now we have proof that monitoring and control of real life systems can be done with wireless sensor networks using technologies such as 6LowPAN, CoAP and EXI, and we are ready to move on to industrial projects. As an example we are talking to LKAB about monitoring of lubrication systems with the same type of sensor network and protocols”, says Jonas Gustafsson.

When moving on to industrial systems, one additional issue is that security aspects will have to be carefully addressed.

More info here.

The IPSO Alliance Debuts New Technology

The IPSO Alliance wrapped up a full week of successful IP-related events including a two-day interoperability test, public member product demonstration, and informative member meeting.  “This has been a great week for the IPSO Alliance.  We’ve shown the viability of using IP to bring together embedded networking across all industries,” said Geoff Mulligan, Chairman of the Alliance.

The week began with 11 companies participating in the multi-vendor IP Smart Object interoperability event, which tested implementations of 6LoWPAN, IPv6, and COAP.  IPSO member companies Bosch, Convergence Wireless, Dust Networks, NXP Semiconductor, Proto6, Sensinode, Symphony Networks, Ubilogix and Watteco were key contributors of “unplug-fest.”

Preceding the demonstrations, three industry luminaries provided keynotes: Stuart Sikes, President of Parks Associates; Bo Begole, Principal Scientist of PARC, a Xerox company; and Whitfield Diffie, renowned Public Key Cryptographer. IPSO members Convergence Wireless, Dust Networks, Ember, GreenWave Reality, National Instruments, Nivis, NXP Semiconductors, Proto6, Sensinode, and Synapse Wireless displayed products incorporating IP in Smart Energy, commercial building, and industrial technologies.  “IP-based wireless sensor networking standards such as 6LoWPAN will play an important role in unifying sensor networking applications across a variety of wired and wireless networks,” said Joy Weiss, President and CEO of Dust Networks, which demonstrated their SmartMesh IP.

NXP Semiconductors Product Marketing Manager, Colin Faulkner, noted, “The continued evolution of JenNet-IP [for] applications such as home lighting and load control is essential to the widespread adoption of IP-enabled home automation systems. [Our] demonstration at the IPSO Alliance shows just how easily this technology can integrate Internet connectivity.”  Other founding members also participated: Nivis, who showed their integration-ready IP and open-standards based Smart Object platform; Proto6, who exhibited a wireless, interconnected smoke detector and thermostat; and Sensinode, who promoted the availability of the NanoService Solution.

More info here.

Google’s Android Bulb to Run on 6LowPAN Standard

It consumes very little power. The chips and software behind it are cheap and getting cheaper, and the name incorporates an absolutely insane combination of capital letters and numbers.

What is there not to like about the 6LowPAN standard?

The Android bulb — a networked LED bulb coming out later this year from Google and Lighting Science — will connect to Android phones and other devices through the above-mentioned standard, according to Ted Russ, chief business development officer for the company.

NXP Semiconductor, other sources have said, will supply the chips for the bulbs. It figures. NXP — which was spun out of the Philips conglomerate a few years ago — supplies low-powered NFC (near field communications) chips to Android phone makers already and is a leading expert in energy-efficient, light-bandwidth communications. NXP also announced a component family, called GreenChip, for LED bulbs based around the standard back in May, a few days after Google and Lighting Science announced the Android bulb. JenNet-IP, an open-source software stack, complements GreenChip. TCP, a light manufacturer, already supports GreenChip.

More info here.

6LoWPAN seminar video

The seminar gave a good overview of 6LoWPAN and the general contents of the book “6LoWPAN: The Wireless Embedded Internet“, covering about half of the course material slides and lasts for 80 minutes. Enjoy!
6LoWPAN Seminar Video (80 minutes, MP4) Recorded 6.12.2009

Interconnecting Smart Objects with IP

In anticipation to what the Internet will soon develop into, Interconnecting Smart Objects with IP is the first book to take a holistic approach to the revolutionary area of Internet Protocol-based smart objects.
The book covers:
background: wireless sensor networks, ubiquitous computing, computer networking
technology: hardware and software, low-power communication with 802.15.4 and WiFi, power line communications (PLC), the Internet Protocol stack, IPv6, UDP and TCP, REST and web services, security, 6LoWPAN header compression, RPL routing
smart object applications: the smart grid, smart cities, building automation, home automation, industrial automation.
It will be  available in spring/summer of 2010, but it is already  possible to preorder a copy from

More info here.

Lecture slides for 6LoWPAN released

The companion lecture slides for 6LoWPAN: The Wireless Embedded Internet have now been released on The Book page of This first part of the book’s course material includes a suggested course syllabus, and 115 of lecture slides in both PowerPoint and PDF formats. This overview of the book is a good tool for lecturers, students and professionals alike. The slides have been released under a creative commons by-nc-sa license to encourage re-use. The companion exercise slides for Contiki are planned for release in the near future.

Links to the syllabus and lecture slides:

6LoWPAN Book Course Syllabus (PDF)
6LoWPAN Book Lecture Slides (PPT)
6LoWPAN Book Lecture Slides (PDF)