IPv6 over Low Power Wide-Area Networks

Document Charter IPv6 over Low Power Wide-Area Networks WG (lpwan)
Title IPv6 over Low Power Wide-Area Networks
Last updated 2016-10-14
State Approved
WG State Active
IESG Responsible AD Suresh Krishnan
Charter Edit AD Suresh Krishnan
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A new generation of wireless technologies has emerged under the generic
name of Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA), with a number of common
characteristics, which make these technologies unique and disruptive for
Internet of Things applications.

Those common traits include an optimized radio modulation, a star
topology, frame sizes in the order of tens of bytes transmitted
a few times per day at ultra-low speeds and sometimes variable MTUs,
and, though downstream may be supported, a mostly upstream transmission
pattern that allows the devices to spend most of their time in low-
energy deep-sleep mode.

This enables a range of several kilometers and a long battery lifetime,
possibly ten years operating on a single coin-cell. This also enables
simple and scalable deployments with low-cost devices and thin

Those benefits come at a price: the layer 2 frame formats are optimized
and specific to each individual technology. There is no network layer
and the application is often hard wired to the layer 2 frame format,
leading to siloed deployments that must be managed, secured and operated
individually. Migrating from one LPWA technology to another implies
rebuilding the whole chain.

To unleash the full power of LPWA technologies and their ecosystems,
there is a need to couple them with other ecosystems that will guarantee
the inter-working by introducing a network layer, and enable common
components for management and security, as well as shared application
profiles. The IETF can contribute by providing IPv6 connectivity, and
propose technologies to secure the operations and manage the devices and
their gateways.

The Working Group will focus on enabling IPv6 connectivity over the
following selection of Low-Power Wide-Area technologies: SIGFOX, LoRa,

These technologies present similar characteristics of rare and widely
unbalanced over-the-air transmissions, with little capability to alter
the frame formats to accommodate this work, which makes it so that
existing IETF work (6lo) cannot be trivially applied.

The Working Group will leverage cross-participation with the associated
set of stakeholders to ensure that the work taking place corresponds to
real demands and that the proposed solutions are indeed applicable.

The group will produce informational work describing LPWA
technologies and their needs as well as new standard work to optimize
IPv6-based communications to the end device

The group will:

1. Produce an Informational document describing and relating some
selected LPWA technologies. This work will document the common
characteristics and highlight actual needs that the IETF could serve;
but it is not intended to provide a competitive analysis. It is expected
that the information contained therein originates from and is reviewed
by people who work on the respective LPWA technologies.

2. Produce a Standards Track document to enable the compression and
fragmentation of a CoAP/UDP/IPv6 packet over LPWA networks. This will be
achieved through stateful mechanisms, specifically designed for star
topology and severely constrained links. The work will include the
definition of generic data models to describe the compression and
fragmentation contexts. This work may also include to define technology-
specific adaptations of the generic compression/fragmentation mechanism
wherever necessary.