Skip to main content

IPv6 over Low power WPAN

Document Charter IPv6 over Low power WPAN WG (6lowpan)
Title IPv6 over Low power WPAN
Last updated 2005-03-03
State Approved
WG State Concluded
IESG Responsible AD Ted Lemon
Charter edit AD (None)
Send notices to (None)

  Well-established fields such as control networks, and burgeoning ones
  such as "sensor" (or transducer) networks, are increasingly being
  based on wireless technologies. Most (but certainly not all) of these
  nodes are amongst the most constrained that have ever been networked
  wirelessly. Extreme low power (such that they will run potentially for
  years on batteries) and extreme low cost (total device cost in single
  digit dollars, and riding Moore's law to continuously reduce that
  price point) are seen as essential enablers towards their deployment
  in networks with the following characteristics:
  * Significantly more devices than current local area networks
  * Severely limited code and ram space (e.g., highly desirable to fit
  the required code--MAC, IP and anything else needed to execute the
  embedded application--in, for example, 32K of flash memory, using
  8-bit microprocessors)
  * Unobtrusive but very different user interface for configuration
  (e.g., using gestures or interactions involving the physical world)
  A chief component of these devices is wireless communication
  technology. In particular, the IEEE 802.15.4 standard is very
  promising for the lower (physical and link) layers. As for higher
  layer functions, there is considerable interest from non-IETF groups
  in using IP technology. The IEEE 1451.5 standard for wireless
  transducers has a chapter for 6LoWPAN and the ISA SP100 standard for
  wireless industrial networks has adopted 6LoWPAN for their network
  layer. This working group is expected to coordinate and interact with
  such groups.
  Description of Working Group:
  The Working Group has completed two RFCs: "IPv6 over Low-Power
  Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPANs): Overview, Assumptions,
  Problem Statement, and Goals" (RFC4919) that documents and discusses
  the problem space and "Transmission of IPv6 Packets over IEEE 802.15.4
  Networks" (RFC4944) which defines the format for the adaptation
  between IPv6 and 802.15.4.
  The Working Group will generate the necessary documents to ensure
  interoperable implementations of 6LoWPAN networks and will define the
  necessary security and management protocols and constructs for
  building 6LoWPAN networks, paying particular attention to protocols
  already available.
  6lowpan will work closely with the Routing Over Low power and Lossy
  networks (roll) working group which is developing IPv6 routing
  solutions for low power and lossy networks (LLNs).
  Work Items:
  1. Produce "6LoWPAN Bootstrapping and 6LoWPAN IPv6 ND Optimizations"
  to define limited extensions to IPv6 Neighbor Discovery [RFC4861] for
  use specifically in low-power networks. This document (or documents)
  will define how to bootstrap a 6LoWPAN network and explore ND
  optimizations such as reusing the structure of the 802.15.4 network
  (e.g., by using the coordinators), and reduce the need for multicast
  by having devices talk to coordinators (without creating a single
  point-of-failure, or changing the semantics of the IPv6 ND
  This document or documents will be a proposed standard.
  2. Produce "6LoWPAN Improved Header Compression" to describe mechanisms
  to allow enhancements to the 6LoWPAN headers. Specifically this 
  describe compression of addresses that are not link-local. Additionally
  this document
  may include other enhancements or optimizations of the HC1 or HC2
  6LoWPAN headers.
  This document will be a proposed standard.
  3. Produce "6LoWPAN Architecture" to describe the design and
  implementation of 6LoWPAN networks. This document will cover the
  concepts of "Mesh Under" and "Route Over", 802.15.4 design issues such
  as operation with sleeping nodes, network components (both battery-
  and line-powered), addressing, and IPv4/IPv6 network connections.
  This document will be informational.
  4. As a separate Internet Draft, "6LoWPAN Routing Requirements" will
  describe 6LoWPAN-specific requirements on routing protocols used in
  6LoWPANs, addressing both the "route-over" and "mesh-under" approach. 
  document will be created and owned by this working group but is 
  expected to
  be reviewed by the ROLL WG.
  This document will be informational.
  5. Produce "Use Cases for 6LoWPAN" to define, for a small set of
  applications with sufficiently unique requirements, how 6LoWPANs can
  solve those requirements, and which protocols and configuration
  variants can be used for these scenarios. The use cases will cover
  protocols for transport, application layer, discovery, configuration
  and commissioning.
  This document will be informational.
  6. Produce "6LoWPAN Security Analysis" to define the threat model of
  6LoWPANs, to document suitability of existing key management
  schemes and to discuss bootstrapping/installation/commissioning/setup
  issues. This document will be referenced from the "security
  considerations" of the other 6LoWPAN documents.
  This document will be informational.
  The working group will continue to reuse existing protocols and
  mechanisms whenever reasonable and possible.
  Non-milestone work items:
  The Working Group will keep two running, often-respun documents:
  -- implementers guide, collecting clarifying information based on
  input from implementers, in particular as it becomes available from
  interoperability events.
  -- interoperability guide, providing information for interoperability
  events, such as temporary interoperability testing strategies or
  information about test harnesses used for interoperability testing.
  Both documents will be WG documents, but their disposition is not
  decided at this point (one example for such a document became RFC 4815
  after five years of maintenance and 22 revisions).