Constrained RESTful Environments

The information below is for an older proposed charter
Document Proposed charter Constrained RESTful Environments WG (core) Snapshot
Title Constrained RESTful Environments
Last updated 2015-07-27
State Draft Charter Rechartering
WG State Active
IESG Responsible AD Alexey Melnikov
Charter Edit AD Barry Leiba
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CoRE provides a framework for resource-oriented applications
intended to run on constrained IP networks. A constrained IP network has
limited packet sizes, may exhibit a high degree of packet loss, and may
have a substantial number of devices that may be powered off at any
point in time but periodically "wake up" for brief periods of time.
These networks and the nodes within them are characterized by severe
limits on throughput, available power, and particularly on the
complexity that can be supported with limited code size and limited RAM
per node [RFC 7228]. More generally, we speak of constrained node
networks whenever at least some of the nodes and networks involved
exhibit these characteristics. Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Networks
(LoWPANs) are an example of this type of network. Constrained networks
can occur as part of home and building automation, energy management,
and the Internet of Things.

The CoRE working group will define a framework for a limited class of
applications: those that deal with the manipulation of simple resources
on constrained networks. This includes applications to monitor simple
sensors (e.g. temperature sensors, light switches, and power meters), to
control actuators (e.g. light switches, heating controllers, and door
locks), and to manage devices.

The general architecture consists of nodes on the constrained network,
called Devices, that are responsible for one or more Resources that may
represent sensors, actuators, combinations of values, and/or other
information. Devices send messages to change and query resources on
other Devices. Devices can send notifications about changed resource
values to Devices that have expressed their interest to receive
notification about changes. A Device can also publish or be queried
about its resources. (Typically a single physical host on the network
would have just one Device but a host might represent multiple logical
Devices.  The specific terminology to be used here is to be decided by
the WG.)  As part of the framework for building these applications, the
WG has defined a Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) for the
manipulation of Resources on a Device.

CoAP is designed for use between Devices on the same constrained
network, between Devices and general nodes on the Internet, and between
Devices on different constrained networks both joined by an
internet. (CoAP is also being used via other mechanisms, such as SMS on
mobile communication networks.)  CoAP targets the type of operating
environments defined in the ROLL and 6Lo working groups which have
additional constraints compared to normal IP networks, but the CoAP
protocol also operates over traditional IP networks.

There also may be proxies that interconnect between other Internet
protocols and the Devices using the CoAP protocol. It is worth noting
that proxy does not have to occur at the boundary between the
constrained network and the more general network, but can be deployed at
various locations in the less-constrained network.

CoAP supports various forms of "caching".  Beyond the benefits of
caching already well known from REST, caching can be used to increase
energy savings of low-power nodes by allowing them to be normally-off
[RFC 7228].  For example, a temperature sensor might wake up every five
minutes and send the current temperature to a proxy that has expressed
interest in notifications; when the proxy receives a request over CoAP
or HTTP for that temperature resource, it can respond with the last
notified value (instead of trying to query the Device which may not be
reachable at this time).  The WG will continue to evolve this model to
increase its practical applicability.

The WG will perform maintenance on its first four standards-track
specifications (RFC 6690, RFC 7252, -observe, -block) and will
continue to evolve the experimental group communications support
(RFC 7390).  The working group will not develop a reliable multicast

CoAP today works over UDP and DTLS.  The WG will define transport
mappings for alternative transports as required, both IP (starting
with TCP and a secure version over TLS) and non-IP (e.g., SMS,
working with DICE on potentially addressing the security gap); this
includes defining appropriate URI schemes.  Continued compatibility
with CoAP over SMS as defined in OMA LWM2M will be considered.

CoRE will continue and complete its work on its resource-directory,
as already partially adopted by OMA LWM2M.  Interoperability with
DNS-SD (and the work of the dnssd working group) will be a primary
consideration.  The WG will also work on a specification enabling
broker-based publish-subscribe-style communication over CoAP.

CoRE will work on related data formats, such as alternative
representations of RFC 6690 link format and RFC 7390 group communication
information.  The WG will complete the SenML specification, again with
consideration to its adoption in OMA LWM2M.

RFC 7252 defines a basic HTTP mapping for CoAP, with further discussion
in -http-mapping.  This mapping will be evolved and supported by further

Beside continuing to examine operational and manageability aspects of
the CoAP protocol itself, CoRE will also develop a way to make
RESTCONF-style management functions available via CoAP that is
appropriate for constrained node networks.  This will require very close
coordination with NETCONF and other operations and management WGs.

The WG has selected DTLS as the basis for the communications security in
CoAP.  CoRE works with DICE on the efficiency of this solution.  The
preferred cipher suites will evolve in cooperation with the TLS
working group and CFRG.  ACE is expected to provide solutions to
authorization that may need complementary elements on the CoRE side.
Object security as defined in JOSE and being adapted to the constrained
node network requirements in COSE also may need additions on the CoRE

The WG will coordinate on requirements from many organizations and SDO.
The WG will closely coordinate with other IETF WGs, particularly of the
constrained node networks cluster (6Lo, 6TiSCH, LWIG, ROLL, ACE, COSE,
DICE), and appropriate groups in the IETF OPS and Security areas.  Work
on these subjects, as well as on interaction models and design patterns
(including follow-up work around the CoRE Interfaces draft) may benefit
from close cooperation with the proposed Thing-to-Thing Research Group.