Researchers at Atmel, Cisco and the Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS) have developed a small open-source, IPv6-ready protocol stack, which could enable every device, no matter how limited by power or memory, to have an Internet Protocol address.
‘The uIPv6 stack has the potential to impact a wide range of markets where automation is key, just as voice over IP did in telephony,’ said Rob Adams, senior director of Cisco’s Corporate Development technology group.
‘Smart’ devices powered by sensors and actuators could help transmit information over networks to locations where the information can then be analysed, correlated with other data and acted upon. But the proliferation of systems based on the idea has been restricted by the cost associated with ensuring that all the devices in such systems are interoperable.
The use of IP as a networking technology to solve this interoperability issue has been widely recognised, and now, thanks to its lower-layer energy management mechanisms and limited memory capacity, the uIPv6 can be deployed as one potential solution.
Open-source uIPv6 includes standard IP applications and can be easily customised for specific requirements. It is integrated in the Contiki operating system developed by SICS, which provides all the necessary functionality for networking smart objects.
As uIPv6 is released under an open-source license, it can be used for both commercial and non-commercial applications.
‘An open-source, standard-compliant, small-footprint IPv6 implementation is essential to enable the next generation of sensor network applications,’ said Adam Dunkels, senior scientist at SICS and Contiki project leader.
‘By running an IPv6 stack, operating a network of sensors thus becomes as easy as operating a network of PCs, IP phones, or any other IP devices,’ added Patrick Wetterwald, president of the IP for Smart Objects Alliance (IPSO).
The new uIPv6 stack requires only 0.5Kbytes of SRAM for data structures, a minimum of 1.3Kbytes of SRAM for buffering, and 11Kbytes of Flash for the code.
A technical article on the stack is available by clicking here.