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Versions: 00                                                            
Network Working Group                                         B. Nordman
Internet-Draft                                Lawrence Berkeley National
Intended status:  Standards Track                             Laboratory
Expires:  April 26, 2012                                October 24, 2011

                      Basic Device Classification


   This specification addresses how to communicate a basic sense of the
   type of each device present on the network.  This is particularly
   important as the range of devices with connectivity greatly expands,
   and as indirect interests in device characteristics increase, such as
   energy consumption.  Many applications will benefit from a single
   standard enumeration of basic device types.  This draft does not
   address detailed device characteristics or subtypes.

   The draft also discusses related identify information.  It is an
   initial discussion document to generate feedback and improvement.

Status of this Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at http://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on April 26, 2012.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2011 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents

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   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

1.  Overview

   As the number of types of devices that are connected to the Internet
   increases, it will be increasingly necessary for devices to make
   decisions based on the types of devices they encounter.  In
   particular, devices may be able to discover what other devices share
   the same physical space, so that the range of devices that they find
   may be large.  Basic decisions about whether or not to respond to a
   device can be informed by understanding the fundamental nature of
   each device.  Detailed understanding likely requires device-specific
   information; this draft does not attempt to do this; it only covers a
   first layer of classification.

   Classification is proposed to be represented as a 2-byte value that
   corresponds to an IANA registry of devices.

   Other information also contributes to the identity of a device, such
   as brand and model, and would benefit from consistency in naming and

2.  Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

3.  Other Relevant Standards

   There are many standards that touch on topics related to this one,
   though generally they have a different specific purpose, or address
   just a small subset of the devices in scope for this standard.  Thus,
   while they should inform the discussion, none are suitable as a
   replacement for or substantial basis for this one.

   Some example other standards and classifications are:

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   *  The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) defines a set of
      entity times in its Common Information Model (CIM).  These include
      both entire devices and components of devices (components are out
      of scope of this proposal).
   *  Systems for labeling retail products (e.g.  Universal Product
      Code, UPC) embody a detailed listing of product types.
   *  The United Nations publishes a Standard Products and Services
      Code, for use in facilitating electronic commerce.
   *  There are efforts to develop standard taxonomies for heating and
      cooling systems in large commercial buildings.  This is
      particularly needed since that industry has been long dominated by
      proprietary protocols, each with their own internal taxonomy.
   *  Some companies have implemented information systems to describe
      devices.  An example is the Cisco Products MIB, which provides for
      a device to report its model number.

4.  Classification and Identity

   There are many standards that speak to identity on the network, or
   service discovery.  This document does not address those topics.
   Rather, the classification addressed is comparable to the first
   impression a human being might have on a device, to recognize its
   core function or type.

4.1.  General Issues

   An analogy can be drawn to the ASCII character coding system.  It
   specifies a single simple and compact numeric correspondence for
   letters, numbers, and symbols.  It makes no attempt to cover
   characteristics other than the character's identity such as font,
   size, etc.  Because of its simplicity, it can be utilized
   universally, or nearly so.

   The concept of identity is usually for information which is unique to
   the entity at hand, rather than data which puts it into a group of

   Classification of populations of entities is commonly done with a
   taxonomy; a system of organization or categories.  Taxonomies often
   have multiple layers of organization with groupings having one or
   more common characteristics; the most widely known of these is the
   biological classification system which has seven layers or grouping.

4.2.  Registry Proposal

   Classification should be a characteristic of a device that never
   changes, though it may be unnecessary to prohibit this.

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   Classification of a device is self-determined.  It will be desirable
   to have standard translations of the classification code into all
   major languages.

   A possible implementation of this is an IANA registry of 2-byte
   values for class.  Each device would be a member of at most one
   class.  The class for a particular device would be set by the

   This proposal is for a single listing of device types, as the choice
   of criteria for grouping might change with the particular
   application.  As the number of device types anticipated is not so
   large, an application can readily impose its own categorization
   system on top of the basic classes.

   Some devices have more than one major function (e.g. a combination
   television and DVD player).  While it would be possible to allow more
   than one classification, this draft is crafted on the assumption that
   this is unnecessary.

   This mechanism is not intended to solve all problems with an
   application understanding characteristics of devices it encounters.
   There are many existing mechanisms for service discovery and the like
   which enable much more detailed information, but none of these are

   Categories would be drawn broadly.  For example, a likely one is
   "refrigerator" which would encompass any device that cools its inside
   space regardless of size, technology, features, or intended market
   (e.g. residential or commercial).  Obtaining more detailed
   information would require a different mechanism.

4.3.  Application to Energy Management

   One application that would benefit from such a classification system
   is Energy Management.  A management system for energy will gather up
   data about all devices in a building, and have no functional
   relationship to many of them.  The energy information collected is
   generic to any device type; the data are unrelated to the services
   that the device provides functionally.  Classification information
   may be the only data that the management system has about the device
   other than its identity on the network.  Thus, any classification
   (and identity) data should be universal.  Also, many buildings will
   be partly or entirely unmanaged, with some devices that come and go
   asynchronously so that classification information should be gathered

   With classification data, a management system can readily and

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   automatically provide a breakdown of energy use by major category of
   device.  A person may be investigating energy use in a building after
   some devices have left the network, or in a situation where they lack
   direct access to the network (an example of the latter is where the
   analysis is outsourced to a third party).  Thus, it is desirable that
   the most critical information be available in what is reported during
   energy management queries.

5.  Related Needs

   Beyond the basic class, it is often necessary or desirable to have
   the manufacturer's brand name and model number.  These can be used in
   reports, or to help gather additional information about a device.
   These are text strings of some modest length.  A human-readable name
   is often associated with such information.  There are some existing
   MIBs which have these variables.

   Related to this, manufacturers often have a web page for information
   about each model.  It would be helpful if a device could report a URL
   for such a page.  Additionally, the page could have both human-
   readable and machine-readable portions, with the latter specified
   according to some standard format.  This would enable useful
   information about devices to be gathered automatically by a
   management system.

   Many applications that use classification will also want to know the
   current location of a device, either geographically, or within a room
   or building.  This draft does not speak to location but it is

6.  Issues

   Should there be a repository somewhere of standard translations from
   IANA code to human languages?  Where?

   What issues are introduced when classification is proxied for non-IP

7.  Security Considerations

   In general none.  It is worth noting that a device may report a type
   other than what it is.

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8.  Privacy Considerations


9.  Acknowledgement

   We would like to thank <get your name here>.

10.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

Author's Address

   Bruce Nordman
   Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
   1 Cyclotron Road
   Berkeley, CA  94720

   Email:  BNordman@LBL.gov

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