May 2008
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New standards group targets IP routing over low-power nets

IETF ROLL Working Group Aims to Apply Open-standards, Dynamic IP Routing to Embedded Networks in Homes, Cities, Factories

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., May 7, 2008 - Executives from Cisco and Arch Rock Corporation are co-chairing a new Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Working Group 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's focus is on developing 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 a single radio technology.

Co-chairing the new IETF ROLL Working Group, which held its first meeting in March during IETF-71 in Philadelphia, are Jean-Philippe Vasseur, distinguished engineer at Cisco, and Dr. David Culler, Arch Rock co-founder and chief technology officer, and professor of computer science at the University of California at Berkeley.

"The IP standard is moving at breakneck speed into new spheres such as industrial monitoring, home and building automation, and urban infrastructure networks," said Culler. "But the links and devices in these environments have different characteristics than in the traditional IT-oriented Internet: lower power, bandwidth and processing capability, the need to route around obstructions. Building on earlier IETF work that enabled IP to run efficiently in such environments, it is now critical to specify the most efficient dynamic routing protocols with multi-vendor interoperability in mind. Arch Rock and Cisco share a belief that solutions developed for this new 'embedded tier' of the Internet should naturally extend the ubiquitous IP infrastructure without the protocol translation gateways and proxies that have previously been
required to connect non-interoperable legacy networks."

Vasseur said, "The early adoption of open-standard, IP-based solutions made the Internet the incredibly powerful force it is today. Cisco and Arch Rock strongly support the standardization of IP-based routing solutions for low- power networks through ROLL because we believe that adapting the known body of IP routing techniques to a new class of links with specific resource constraints will address the needs of emerging embedded markets far better than non-standard, non-IP approaches. IP has proven to be the open standard for a variety of devices, and the use of IP in low-power networks will enable a variety of new services in connected homes and buildings, factories and smart cities, making the "Internet of Things" a reality. 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."

Control Solutions, Inc About the IETF ROLL Working Group

Low-power and Lossy Networks (LLNs) have special routing requirements, such as the need for path selection mechanisms to be designed with the power capabilities and functional characteristics of LLN links and nodes in mind. The IETF Routing Over Lossy and Low Power Networks (ROLL) Working Group is chartered to provide an IPv6-based routing architectural framework for a number of application areas, including industrial, connected home/building and urban sensor networking, determining the specific routing needs of each and assessing the potential adaptability of existing routing protocols to these scenarios. The framework will take into account such requirements as high reliability, low-power operation with small memory, and CPU pressure in networks comprising very large numbers of nodes. The group will pay particular attention to security and manageability issues. More information on ROLL can be found at http://www.ietf.org/html.charters/roll-charter.html.

About Arch Rock Corporation
Arch Rock is a pioneer in open-standards-based wireless sensor network technology. The company's products, which gather data from the physical world and integrate it into the enterprise IT infrastructure using IP networking and web services, are used in environmental monitoring, tracking and logistics, industrial automation and control.  Arch Rock's founders, while at the University of California-Berkeley and Intel Research, did seminal research and development work on WSNs, creating three generations of wireless sensor nodes, mesh networking protocols, and the leading operating system for sensor networks. For more information, visit http://www.archrock.com.

 

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