6TiSCH                                                  T. Watteyne, Ed.
Internet-Draft                                         Linear Technology
Intended status: Informational                            MR. Palattella
Expires: April 23, 2014                         University of Luxembourg
                                                              LA. Grieco
                                                     Politecnico di Bari
                                                        October 20, 2013

              Using IEEE802.15.4e TSCH in an LLN context:
                 Overview, Problem Statement and Goals


   This document describes the environment, problem statement, and goals
   for using the IEEE802.15.4e TSCH MAC protocol in the context of LLNs.
   The set of goals enumerated in this document form an initial set

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  TSCH in the LLN Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   3.  Problems and Goals  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     3.1.  Network Formation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     3.2.  Network Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     3.3.  Multi-Hop Topology  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     3.4.  Routing and Timing Parents  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     3.5.  Resource Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     3.6.  Dataflow Control  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     3.7.  Deterministic Behavior  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     3.8.  Scheduling Mechanisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     3.9.  Secure Communication  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   4.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   5.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     5.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     5.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     5.3.  External Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
   Appendix A.  TSCH Protocol Highlights . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
     A.1.  Timeslots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
     A.2.  Slotframes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     A.3.  Node TSCH Schedule  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     A.4.  Cells and Bundles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     A.5.  Dedicated vs. Shared Cells  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     A.6.  Absolute Slot Number  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     A.7.  Channel Hopping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     A.8.  Time Synchronization  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
     A.9.  Power Consumption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
     A.10. Network TSCH Schedule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
     A.11. Join Process  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
     A.12. Information Elements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
     A.13. Extensibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
   Appendix B.  TSCH Gotchas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
     B.1.  Collision Free Communication  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
     B.2.  Multi-Channel vs. Channel Hopping . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
     B.3.  Cost of (continuous) Synchronization  . . . . . . . . . .  20
     B.4.  Topology Stability  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
     B.5.  Multiple Concurrent Slotframes  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21

1.  Introduction

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   The IEEE802.15.4e standard [IEEE802154e] was published in 2012 as an
   amendment to the Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol defined by the
   IEEE802.15.4-2011 [IEEE802154] standard.  The Timeslotted Channel
   Hopping (TSCH) mode of IEEE802.15.4e is the object of this document.

   This document describes the main issues arising from the adoption of
   the IEEE802.15.4e TSCH in the LLN context, following the terminology
   defined in [I-D.palattella-6tisch-terminology].

   TSCH was designed to "allow IEEE802.15.4 devices to support a wide
   range of industrial applications" [IEEE802154e].  At its core is a
   medium access technique which uses time synchronization to achieve
   ultra low-power operation and channel hopping to enable high
   reliability.  This is very different from the "legacy" IEEE802.15.4
   MAC protocol, and is therefore better described as a "redesign".
   TSCH does not amend the physical layer; i.e., it can operate on any
   IEEE802.15.4-compliant hardware.

   IEEE802.15.4e can be seen as the latest generation of ultra-lower
   power and reliable networking solutions for LLNs.  [RFC5673]
   discusses industrial applications, and highlights the harsh operating
   conditions as well as the stringent reliability, availability, and
   security requirements for an LLN to operate in an industrial
   environment.  Commercial networking solutions are available today in
   which motes consume 10's of micro-amps on average [CurrentCalculator]
   with end-to-end packet delivery ratios over 99.999%

   IEEE802.15.4e TSCH focuses on the MAC layer only.  This clean
   layering allows for TSCH to fit under an IPv6 enabled protocol stack
   for LLNs, running 6LoWPAN [RFC6282], RPL [RFC6550] and CoAP

   Bringing industrial-like performance into the LLN stack developed by
   the 6LoWPAN, ROLL and CORE working groups opens up new application
   domains for these networks.  Sensors deployed in smart cities
   [RFC5548] will be able to be installed for years without needing
   battery replacement.  "Umbrella" networks will interconnect smart
   elements from different entities in smart buildings [RFC5867].  Peel-
   and-stick switches will obsolete the need for costly conduits for
   lighting solutions in smart homes [RFC5826].

   While [IEEE802154e] defines the mechanisms for a TSCH mote to
   communicate, it does not define the policies to build and maintain
   the communication schedule, match that schedule to the multi-hop
   paths maintained by RPL, adapt the resources allocated between
   neighbor nodes to the data traffic flows, enforce a differentiated
   treatment for data generated at the application layer and signalling

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   messages needed by 6LoWPAN and RPL to discover neighbors, react to
   topology changes, self-configure IP addresses, or manage keying

   In other words, IEEE802.15.4e TSCH is designed to allow optimizations
   and strong customizations, simplifying the merging of TSCH with a
   protocol stack based on IPv6, 6LoWPAN, and RPL.

2.  TSCH in the LLN Context

   In many cases, to map the services required by the IP layer to the
   services provided by the link layer, an adaptation layer is used
   [palattella12standardized].  The 6LoWPAN working group started
   working in 2007 on specifications for transmitting IPv6 packets over
   IEEE802.15.4 networks [RFC4919].  Typically, low-power WPANs are
   characterized by small packet sizes, support for addresses with
   different lengths, low bandwidth, star and mesh topologies, battery
   powered devices, low cost, large number of devices, unknown node
   positions, high unreliability, and periods during which communication
   interfaces are turned off to save energy.  Given these features, it
   is clear that the adoption of IPv6 on top of a Low-Power WPAN is not
   straightforward, but poses strong requirements for the optimization
   of this adaptation layer.  For instance, due to the IPv6 default
   minimum MTU size (1280 bytes), an un-fragmented IPv6 packet is too
   large to fit in an IEEE802.15.4 frame.  Moreover, the overhead due to
   the 40-byte long IPv6 header wastes the scarce bandwidth available at
   the PHY layer [RFC4944].  For these reasons, the 6LoWPAN working
   group has defined an effective adaptation layer [RFC6568].  Further
   issues encompass the auto-configuration of IPv6 addresses
   [RFC2464][RFC6755], the compliance with the recommendation on
   supporting link-layer subnet broadcast in shared networks [RFC3819],
   the reduction of routing and management overhead [RFC6606], the
   adoption of lightweight application protocols (or novel data encoding
   techniques), and the support for security mechanisms (confidentiality
   and integrity protection, device bootstrapping, key establishment,
   and management).

   These features can run on top of TSCH.  There are, however, important
   issues to solve, as highlighted in Section 3.

   Routing issues are challenging for 6LoWPAN, given the low-power and
   lossy radio-links, the battery-powered nodes, the multi-hop mesh
   topologies, and the frequent topology changes due to mobility.
   Successful solutions take into account the specific application
   requirements, along with IPv6 behavior and 6LoWPAN mechanisms
   [palattella12standardized].  The ROLL working group has defined RPL
   in [RFC6550].  RPL can support a wide variety of link layers,
   including ones that are constrained, potentially lossy, or typically

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   utilized in conjunction with host or router devices with very limited
   resources, as in building/home automation [RFC5867][RFC5826],
   industrial environments [RFC5673], and urban applications [RFC5548].
   RPL is able to quickly build up network routes, distribute routing
   knowledge among nodes, and adapt to a changing topology.  In a
   typical setting, motes are connected through multi-hop paths to a
   small set of root devices, which are usually responsible for data
   collection and coordination.  For each of them, a Destination
   Oriented Directed Acyclic Graph (DODAG) is created by accounting for
   link costs, node attributes/status information, and an Objective
   Function, which maps the optimization requirements of the target
   scenario.  The topology is set up based on a Rank metric, which
   encodes the distance of each node with respect to its reference root,
   as specified by the Objective Function.  Regardless of the way it is
   computed, the Rank monotonically decreases along the DODAG towards
   the destination, building a gradient.  RPL encompasses different
   kinds of traffic and signalling information.  Multipoint-to-Point
   (MP2P) is the dominant traffic in LLN applications.  Data is routed
   towards nodes with some application relevance, such as the LLN
   gateway to the larger Internet, or to the core of private IP
   networks.  In general, these destinations are the DODAG roots and act
   as data collection points for distributed monitoring applications.
   Point-to-Multipoint (P2MP) data streams are used for actuation
   purposes, where messages are sent from DODAG roots to destination
   nodes.  Point-to-Point (P2P) traffic allows communication between two
   devices belonging to the same LLN, such as a sensor and an actuator.
   A packet flows from the source to the common ancestor of those two
   communicating devices, then downward towards the destination.  RPL
   therefore has to discover both upward routes (i.e. from nodes to
   DODAG roots) in order to enable MP2P and P2P flows, and downward
   routes (i.e. from DODAG roots to nodes) to support P2MP and P2P

   Section 3 highlights the challenges that need to be addressed to use
   RPL on top of TSCH.

   Several open-source initiatives have emerged around TSCH.  The
   OpenWSN project [OpenWSN][OpenWSNETT] is an open-source
   implementation of a standards-based protocol stack, which aims at
   evaluating the applicability of TSCH to different applications.  This
   implementation was used as the foundation for an IP for Smart Objects
   Alliance (IPSO) [IPSO] interoperability event in 2011.  In the
   absence of a standardized scheduling mechanism for TSCH, a "slotted
   Aloha" schedule was used.

3.  Problems and Goals

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   As highlighted in Appendix A, TSCH is different for traditional low-
   power MAC protocols because of its scheduled nature.  TSCH defines
   the mechanisms to execute a communication schedule, yet it is the
   entity that sets up that schedule which controls the topology of the
   network.  This scheduling entity also controls the resources
   allocated to each link in that topology.

   How this entity should operate is out of scope of TSCH.  The
   remainder of this section highlights the problems this entity needs
   to address.  For simplicity, we will refer to this entity by the
   generic name "6TiSCH".  Note that the 6top sublayer, currently being
   defined in [I-D.wang-6tsch-6top], can be seen as an embodiment of
   this generic "6TiSCH".

   Some of the issues 6TiSCH needs to target might overlap with the
   scope of other protocols (e.g., 6LoWPAN, RPL, and RSVP).  In this
   case, it is entailed that 6TiSCH will profit from the services
   provided by other protocols to pursue these objectives.

3.1.  Network Formation

   6TiSCH needs to control the way the network is formed, including how
   new motes join, and how already joined motes advertise the presence
   of the network. 6TiSCH needs to:

   1.  Define the Information Elements to include in the Enhanced
       Beacons advertising the presence of the network.

   2.  For a new mote, define rules to process and filter received
       Enhanced Beacons.

   3.  Define the joining procedure.  This includes a mechanism to
       assign a unique 16-bit address to a mote, and the management of
       initial keying material.

   4.  Define a mechanism to secure the joining process and the
       subsequent optional process of scheduling more communication

3.2.  Network Maintenance

   Once a network is formed, 6TiSCH needs to maintain the network's
   health, allowing for motes to stay synchronized. 6TiSCH needs to:

   1.  Manage each mote's time source neighbor.

   2.  Define a mechanism for a mote to update the join priority it
       announces in its Enhanced Beacon.

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   3.  Schedule transmissions of Enhanced Beacons to advertise the
       presence of the network.

3.3.  Multi-Hop Topology

   RPL, given a weighted connectivity graph, determines multi-hop
   routes. 6TiSCH needs to:

   1.  Define a mechanism to gather topological information, which it
       can then feed to RPL.

   2.  Ensure that the TSCH schedule contains links along the multi-hop
       routes identified by RPL.

   3.  Where applicable, maintain independent sets of links to transport
       independent flows of data.

3.4.  Routing and Timing Parents

   At all times, a TSCH mote needs to have a time source neighbor it can
   synchronize to. 6TiSCH therefore needs to assign a time source
   neighbor to allow for correct operation of the TSCH network.  A time
   source neighbors could, or not, be taken from the RPL routing parent

3.5.  Resource Management

   A link in a TSCH schedule is a "unit" of resource.  The number of
   links to assign between neighbor motes needs to be appropriate for
   the size of the traffic flow. 6TiSCH needs to:

   1.  Define rules on when to create or delete a slotframe.

   2.  Define rules to determine the length of a slotframe, and the
       trigger to modify the length of a slotframe.

   3.  Define rules on when to add or delete links in a particular

   4.  Define a mechanism for neighbor nodes to exchange information
       about their schedule and, if applicable, negotiate the addition/
       deletion of links.

   5.  Allow for an entity (e.g., a set of devices, a distributed
       protocol, a PCE, etc.) to take control of the schedule.

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   6.  Define a set of metrics to evaluate the trade-off between
       latency, bandwidth and energy consumption achieved by a
       particular schedule.

3.6.  Dataflow Control

   TSCH defines mechanisms for a mote to signal it cannot accept an
   incoming packet.  It does not, however, define the policy which
   determines when to stop accepting packets. 6TiSCH needs to:

   1.  Define a queueing policy for incoming and outgoing packets.

   2.  Manage the buffer space, and indicate to TSCH when to stop
       accepting incoming packets.

   3.  Handle transmissions that have failed.  A transmission is
       declared failed when TSCH has retransmitted the packet multiple
       times, without receiving an acknowledgement.  This covers both
       dedicated and shared links.

3.7.  Deterministic Behavior

   As highlighted in [RFC5673], in some applications, data is generated
   periodically and has a well understood data bandwidth requirement,
   which is deterministic and predictable. 6TiSCH needs to:

   1.  Ensure timely delivery of such data.

   2.  Provide a mechanism for such deterministic flows to coexist with
       bursty or infrequent traffic flows of different priorities.

3.8.  Scheduling Mechanisms

   Several scheduling mechanisms can be envisioned, and possibly coexist
   in the same network.  For example,
   [I-D.phinney-roll-rpl-industrial-applicability] describe how the
   allocation of bandwidth can be optimized by an external Path
   Computation Element (PCE).  Alternatively, two neighbor nodes can
   adapt the number of cells autonomously by monitoring the amount of
   traffic, and negotiating the allocation to extra cell when needed.
   This mechanism can be used to establish multi-hop paths in a fashion
   similar to RSVP. 6TiSCH needs to:

   1.  Provide a mechanism for two 6TiSCH devices to negotiate the
       allocation and deallocation of cells between them.

   2.  Provide a mechanism for device to monitor and manage the 6TiSCH
       capabilities of a node several hops away.

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   3.  Define an mechanism for these different scheduling mechanisms to
       coexist in the same network.

3.9.  Secure Communication

   Given some keying material, TSCH defines mechanisms to encrypt and
   authenticate MAC frames.  It does not define how this keying material
   is generated. 6TiSCH needs to:

   1.  Define the keying material and authentication mechanism needed by
       a new mote to join an existing network.

   2.  Define a mechanism to allow for the secure transfer of
       application data between neighbor motes.

   3.  Define a mechanism to allow for the secure transfer of signalling
       data between motes and 6TiSCH.

4.  Acknowledgements

   Special thanks to Jonathan Simon for his review and valuable
   comments.  Thanks to the IoT6 European Project (STREP) of the 7th
   Framework Program (Grant 288445).

5.  References

5.1.  Normative References

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

5.2.  Informative References

   [RFC2464]  Crawford, M., "Transmission of IPv6 Packets over Ethernet
              Networks", RFC 2464, December 1998.

   [RFC3819]  Karn, P., Bormann, C., Fairhurst, G., Grossman, D.,
              Ludwig, R., Mahdavi, J., Montenegro, G., Touch, J., and L.
              Wood, "Advice for Internet Subnetwork Designers", BCP 89,
              RFC 3819, July 2004.

   [RFC4919]  Kushalnagar, N., Montenegro, G., and C. Schumacher, "IPv6
              over Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPANs):
              Overview, Assumptions, Problem Statement, and Goals", RFC
              4919, August 2007.

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   [RFC4944]  Montenegro, G., Kushalnagar, N., Hui, J., and D. Culler,
              "Transmission of IPv6 Packets over IEEE 802.15.4
              Networks", RFC 4944, September 2007.

   [RFC5548]  Dohler, M., Watteyne, T., Winter, T., and D. Barthel,
              "Routing Requirements for Urban Low-Power and Lossy
              Networks", RFC 5548, May 2009.

   [RFC5826]  Brandt, A., Buron, J., and G. Porcu, "Home Automation
              Routing Requirements in Low-Power and Lossy Networks", RFC
              5826, April 2010.

   [RFC5867]  Martocci, J., De Mil, P., Riou, N., and W. Vermeylen,
              "Building Automation Routing Requirements in Low-Power and
              Lossy Networks", RFC 5867, June 2010.

   [RFC5673]  Pister, K., Thubert, P., Dwars, S., and T. Phinney,
              "Industrial Routing Requirements in Low-Power and Lossy
              Networks", RFC 5673, October 2009.

   [RFC6282]  Hui, J. and P. Thubert, "Compression Format for IPv6
              Datagrams over IEEE 802.15.4-Based Networks", RFC 6282,
              September 2011.

   [RFC6550]  Winter, T., Thubert, P., Brandt, A., Hui, J., Kelsey, R.,
              Levis, P., Pister, K., Struik, R., Vasseur, JP., and R.
              Alexander, "RPL: IPv6 Routing Protocol for Low-Power and
              Lossy Networks", RFC 6550, March 2012.

   [RFC6568]  Kim, E., Kaspar, D., and JP. Vasseur, "Design and
              Application Spaces for IPv6 over Low-Power Wireless
              Personal Area Networks (6LoWPANs)", RFC 6568, April 2012.

   [RFC6606]  Kim, E., Kaspar, D., Gomez, C., and C. Bormann, "Problem
              Statement and Requirements for IPv6 over Low-Power
              Wireless Personal Area Network (6LoWPAN) Routing", RFC
              6606, May 2012.

   [RFC6755]  Campbell, B. and H. Tschofenig, "An IETF URN Sub-Namespace
              for OAuth", RFC 6755, October 2012.

              Wang, Q., Vilajosana, X., and T. Watteyne, "6TSCH
              Operation Sublayer (6top)", draft-wang-6tsch-6top-00 (work
              in progress), July 2013.


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              Palattella, M., Thubert, P., Watteyne, T., and Q. Wang,
              "Terminology in IPv6 over the TSCH mode of IEEE
              802.15.4e", draft-palattella-6tisch-terminology-00 (work
              in progress), October 2013.

              Thubert, P. and J. Hui, "LLN Fragment Forwarding and
              Recovery", draft-thubert-roll-forwarding-frags-02 (work in
              progress), September 2013.

              Tsao, T., Alexander, R., Daza, V., and A. Lozano, "A
              Security Framework for Routing over Low Power and Lossy
              Networks", draft-tsao-roll-security-framework-02 (work in
              progress), March 2010.

              Thubert, P., "RPL adaptation for asymmetrical links",
              draft-thubert-roll-asymlink-02 (work in progress),
              December 2011.

              Vasseur, J., "Terms used in Ruting for Low power And Lossy
              Networks", draft-ietf-roll-terminology-13 (work in
              progress), October 2013.

              Goyal, M., Baccelli, E., Philipp, M., Brandt, A., and J.
              Martocci, "Reactive Discovery of Point-to-Point Routes in
              Low Power and Lossy Networks", draft-ietf-roll-p2p-rpl-17
              (work in progress), March 2013.

              Hui, J. and R. Kelsey, "Multicast Protocol for Low power
              and Lossy Networks (MPL)", draft-ietf-roll-trickle-
              mcast-05 (work in progress), August 2013.

              Thubert, P., "6LoWPAN Backbone Router", draft-thubert-
              6lowpan-backbone-router-03 (work in progress), February

              Sarikaya, B., Ohba, Y., Moskowitz, R., Cao, Z., and R.
              Cragie, "Security Bootstrapping Solution for Resource-
              Constrained Devices", draft-sarikaya-core-
              sbootstrapping-04 (work in progress), April 2012.

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              Gilger, J. and H. Tschofenig, "Report from the 'Smart
              Object Security Workshop', 23rd March 2012, Paris,
              France", draft-gilger-smart-object-security-workshop-00
              (work in progress), October 2012.

              Phinney, T., Thubert, P., and R. Assimiti, "RPL
              applicability in industrial networks", draft-phinney-roll-
              rpl-industrial-applicability-02 (work in progress),
              February 2013.

              Shelby, Z., Hartke, K., and C. Bormann, "Constrained
              Application Protocol (CoAP)", draft-ietf-core-coap-18
              (work in progress), June 2013.

5.3.  External Informative References

              IEEE standard for Information Technology, "IEEE std.
              802.15.4e, Part. 15.4: Low-Rate Wireless Personal Area
              Networks (LR-WPANs) Amendament 1: MAC sublayer", April

              IEEE standard for Information Technology, "IEEE std.
              802.15.4, Part. 15.4: Wireless Medium Access Control (MAC)
              and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications for Low-Rate
              Wireless Personal Area Networks", June 2011.

   [OpenWSN]  , "Berkeley's OpenWSN Project Homepage", ,

              Watteyne, T., Vilajosana, X., Kerkez, B., Chraim, F.,
              Weekly, K., Wang, Q., Glaser, S., and K. Pister, "OpenWSN:
              a standards-based low-power wireless development
              environment", Transactions on Emerging Telecommunications
              Technologies 2012, August 2012, <http://

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Appendix A.  TSCH Protocol Highlights

   This appendix gives an overview of the key features of the
   IEEE802.15.4e Timeslotted Channel Hopping (TSCH) amendment.  It makes
   no attempt at repeating the standard, but rather focuses on the

   o  Concepts which are sufficiently different from traditional
      IEEE802.15.4 networking that they may need to be defined and
      presented precisely.

   o  Techniques and ideas which are part of IEEE802.15.4e and which
      might be useful for the work of the 6TiSCH WG.

A.1.  Timeslots

   All motes in a TSCH network are synchronized.  Time is sliced up into
   timeslots.  A timeslot is long enough for a MAC frame of maximum size
   to be sent from mote A to mote B, and for mote B to reply with an
   acknowledgement (ACK) frame indicating successful reception.

   The duration of a timeslot is not defined by the standard.  With
   IEEE802.15.4-compliant radios operating in the 2.4GHz frequency band,
   a maximum-length frame of 127 bytes takes about 4ms to transmit; a
   shorter ACK takes about 1ms.  With a 10ms slot (a typical duration),
   this leaves 5ms to radio turnaround, packet processing and security

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A.2.  Slotframes

   Timeslots are grouped into one of more slotframes.  A slotframe
   continuously repeats over time.  TSCH does not impose a slotframe
   size.  Depending on the application needs, these can range from 10s
   to 1000s of timeslots.  The shorter the slotframe, the more often a
   timeslot repeats, resulting in more available bandwidth, but also in
   a higher power consumption.

A.3.  Node TSCH Schedule

   A TSCH schedule instructs each mote what to do in each timeslot:
   transmit, receive or sleep.  The schedule indicates, for each
   scheduled (transmit or receive) cell a channelOffset and the address
   of the neighbor to communicate with.

   Once a mote obtains its schedule, it executes it:

   o  For each transmit cell, the mote checks whether there is a packet
      in the outgoing buffer which matches the neighbor written in the
      schedule information for that timeslot.  If there is none, the
      mote keeps its radio off for the duration of the timeslot.  If
      there is one, the mote can ask for the neighbor to acknowledge it,
      in which case it has to listen for the acknowledgement after

   o  For each receive cell, the mote listens for possible incoming
      packets.  If none is received after some listening period, it
      shuts down its radio.  If a packet is received, addressed to the
      mote, and passes security checks, the mote can send back an

   How the schedule is built, updated and maintained, and by which
   entity, is outside of the scope of the IEEE802.15.4e standard.

A.4.  Cells and Bundles

   Assuming the schedule is well built, if mote A is scheduled to
   transmit to mote B at slotOffset 5 and channelOffset 11, mote B will
   be scheduled to receive from mote A at the same slotOffset and

   A single element of the schedule characterized by a slotOffset and
   channelOffset, and reserved for mote A to transmit to mote B (or for
   mote B to receive from mote A) within a given slotframe, is called a
   "scheduled cell".

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   If there is a lot of data flowing from mote A to mote B, the schedule
   might contain multiple cells from A to B, at different times.
   Multiple cells scheduled to the same neighbor can be equivalent, i.e.
   the MAC layer sends the packet on whichever of these cells happens to
   show up first after the packet was put in the MAC queue.  The union
   of all cells between two neighbors, A and B, is called a "bundle".
   Since the slotframe repeats over time (and the length of the
   slotframe is typically constant), each cell gives a "quantum" of
   bandwidth to a given neighbor.  Modifying the number of equivalent
   cells in a bundle modifies the amount of resources allocated between
   two neighbors.

A.5.  Dedicated vs. Shared Cells

   By default, each scheduled transmit cell within the TSCH schedule is
   dedicated, i.e., reserved only for mote A to transmit to mote B.
   IEEE802.15.4e allows also to mark a cell as shared.  In a shared
   cell, multiple motes can transmit at the same time, on the same
   frequency.  To avoid contention, TSCH defines a back-off algorithm
   for shared cells.

   A scheduled cell can be marked as both transmitting and receiving.
   In this case, a mote transmits if it has an appropriate packet in its
   output buffer, or listens otherwise.  Marking a cell as
   [transmit,shared,receive] results in slotted-Aloha behavior.

A.6.  Absolute Slot Number

   TSCH defines a timeslot counter called Absolute Slot Number (ASN).
   When a new network is created, the ASN is initialized to 0; from then
   on, it increments by 1 at each timeslot.  In detail:

   ASN = (k*S+t)

   where k is the slotframe cycle (i.e., the number of slotframe
   repetitions since the network was started), S the slotframe size and
   t the slotOffset.  A mote learns the current ASN when it joins the
   network.  Since motes are synchronized, they all know the current
   value of the ASN, at any time.  The ASN is encoded as a 5-byte
   number: this allows it to increment for hundreds of years (the exact
   value depends on the duration of a timeslot) without wrapping.  The
   ASN is used to calculate the frequency to communicate on, and can be
   used for security-related operations.

A.7.  Channel Hopping

   For each scheduled cell, the schedule specifies a slotOffset and a
   channelOffset.  In a well-built schedule, when mote A has a transmit

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   cell to mote B on channelOffset 5, mote B has a receive cell from
   mote A on the same channelOffset.  The channelOffset is translated by
   both nodes into a frequency using the following function:

   frequency = F {(ASN + channelOffset) mod nFreq}

   The function F consists of a look-up table containing the set of
   available channels.  The value nFreq (the number of available
   frequencies) is the size of this look-up table.  There are as many
   channelOffset values as there are frequencies available (e.g. 16 when
   using IEEE802.15.4-compliant radios at 2.4GHz, when all channels are
   used).  Since both motes have the same channelOffset written in their
   schedule for that scheduled cell, and the same ASN counter, they
   compute the same frequency.  At the next iteration (cycle) of the
   slotframe, however, while the channelOffset is the same, the ASN has
   changed, resulting in the computation of a different frequency.

   This results in "channel hopping": even with a static schedule, pairs
   of neighbors "hop" between the different frequencies when
   communicating.  Channel hopping is a technique known to efficiently
   combat multi-path fading and external interference.

A.8.  Time Synchronization

   Because of the slotted nature of communication in a TSCH network,
   motes have to maintain tight synchronization.  All motes are assumed
   to be equipped with clocks to keep track of time.  Yet, because
   clocks in different motes drift with respect to one another, neighbor
   motes need to periodically re-synchronize.

   Each mote needs to periodically synchronize its network clock to
   another mote, and it also provides its network time to its neighbors.
   It is up to the entity that manages the schedule to assign an
   adequate time source neighbor to each mote, i.e., to indicate in the
   schedule which of neighbor is its "time source neighbor".  While
   setting the time source neighbor, it is important to avoid
   synchronization loops, which could result in the formation of
   independent clusters of motes.

   TSCH adds timing information in all packets that are exchanged (both
   data and ACK frames).  This means that neighbor motes can
   resynchronize to one another whenever they exchange data.  In detail,
   in the IEEE 802.15.4e standard two methods are defined for allowing a
   device to synchronize in a TSCH network: (i) Acknowledgement-Based
   and (ii) Frame-Based synchronization.  In both cases, the receiver
   calculates the difference in time between the expected time of frame
   arrival and its actual arrival.  In Acknowledgement-Based
   synchronization, the receiver provides such information to the sender

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   mote in its acknowledgement.  Thus, in this case, it is the sender
   mote that synchronizes to the clock of the receiver.  In Frame-Based
   synchronization, the receiver uses the computed delta for adjusting
   its own clock.  Therefore, it is the receiver mote that synchronizes
   to the clock of the sender.

   Different synchronization policies are possible.  Motes can keep
   synchronization exclusively by exchanging EBs.  Motes can also keep
   synchronized by periodically sending valid frames to a time source
   neighbor and use the acknowledgement to resynchronize.  Both method
   (or a combination thereof) are valid synchronization policies; which
   one to use depends on network requirements.

A.9.  Power Consumption

   There are only a handful of activities a mote can perform during a
   timeslot: transmit, receive, or sleep.  Each of these operations has
   some energy cost associated to them, the exact value depending on the
   the hardware used.  Given the schedule of a mote, it is
   straightforward to calculate the expected average power consumption
   of that mote.

A.10.  Network TSCH Schedule

   The schedule defines entirely the synchronization and communication
   between motes.  By adding/removing cells between neighbors, one can
   adapt a schedule to the needs of the application.  Intuitive examples

   o  Make the schedule "sparse" for applications where motes need to
      consume as little energy as possible, at the price of reduced

   o  Make the schedule "dense" for applications where motes generate a
      lot of data, at the price of increased power consumption.

   o  Add more cells along a multi-hop route over which many packets

A.11.  Join Process

   Motes already part of the network can periodically send Enhanced
   Beacon (EB) frames to announce the presence the network.  These
   contain information about the size of the timeslot used in the
   network, the current ASN, information about the slotframes and
   timeslots the beaconing mote is listening on, and a 1-byte join
   priority.  Because of the channel hopping nature of TSCH, these EB
   frames are sent on all frequencies.

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   A mote wishing to join the network listens for EBs.  Using the ASN
   and the other timing information of the EB, the new mote synchronizes
   to the network.  Using the slotframe and link information from the
   EB, it knows how to contact the network.

   The IEEE802.15.4e TSCH standard does not define the steps beyond this
   network "bootstrap".

A.12.  Information Elements

   TSCH introduces the concept of Information Elements (IEs).  An
   information element is a list of Type-Length-Value containers placed
   at the end of the MAC header.  A small number of types are defined
   for TSCH (e.g., the ASN in the EB is contained in an IE), and an
   unmanaged range is available for extensions.

   A data bit in the MAC header indicates whether the frame contains
   IEs.  IEs are grouped into Header IEs, consumed by the MAC layer and
   therefore typically invisible to the next higher layer, and Payload
   IEs, which are passed untouched to the next higher layer, possibly
   followed by regular payload.  Payload IEs can therefore be used for
   the next higher layers of two neighbor motes to exchange information.

A.13.  Extensibility

   The TSCH standard is designed to be extensible.  It introduces the
   mechanisms as "building block" (e.g., cells, bundles, slotframes,
   etc.), but leaves entire freedom to the upper layer to assemble
   those.  The MAC protocol can be extended by defining new Header IEs.
   An intermediate layer can be defined to manage the MAC layer by
   defining new Payload IEs.

Appendix B.  TSCH Gotchas

   This section lists features of TSCH which we believe are important
   and beneficial to the work of 6TiSCH.

B.1.  Collision Free Communication

   TSCH allows one to design a schedule which yields collision-free
   communication.  This is done by building the schedule with dedicated
   cells in such a way that at most one node can communicate with a
   specific neighbor in each slotOffset/channelOffset cell.  Multiple
   pairs of neighbor motes can exchange data at the same time, but on
   different frequencies.

B.2.  Multi-Channel vs. Channel Hopping

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   A TSCH schedule looks like a matrix of width "slotframe size", S, and
   of height "number of frequencies", nFreq.  For a scheduling
   algorithm, these can be considered atomic "units" to schedule.  In
   particular, because of the channel hopping nature of TSCH, the
   scheduling algorithm should not worry about the actual frequency
   communication happens on, since it changes at each slotframe

B.3.  Cost of (continuous) Synchronization

   When there is traffic in the network, motes which are communicating
   implicitly re-synchronize using the data frames they exchange.  In
   the absence of data traffic, motes are required to synchronize to
   their time source neighbor(s) periodically not to drift in time.  If
   they have not been communicating for some time (typically 30s), motes
   can exchange an dummy data frame to re-synchronize.  The frequency at
   which such messages need to be transmitted depends on the stability
   of the clock source, and on how "early" each mote starts listening
   for data (the "guard time").  Theoretically, with a 10ppm clock and a
   1ms guard time, this period can be 100s. Assuming this exchange
   causes the mote's radio to be on for 5ms, this yields a radio duty
   cycle needed to keep synchronized of 5ms/100s=0.005%. While TSCH does
   requires motes to resynchronize periodically, the cost of doing so is
   very low.

B.4.  Topology Stability

   The channel hopping nature of TSCH causes links to be very "stable".
   Wireless phenomena such as multi-path fading and external
   interference impact a wireless link between two motes differently on
   each frequency.  If a transmission from mote A to mote B fails,
   retransmitting on a different frequency has a higher likelihood of
   succeeding that retransmitting on the same frequency.  As a result,
   even when some frequencies are "behaving bad", channel hopping
   "smoothens" the contribution of each frequency, resulting in more
   stable links, and therefore a more stable topology.

B.5.  Multiple Concurrent Slotframes

   The TSCH standard allows for multiple slotframes to coexist in a
   mote's schedule.  It is possible that at some timeslot, a mote has
   multiple activities scheduled (e.g. transmit to mote B on slotframe
   2, receive from mote C on slotframe 1).  To handle this situation,
   the TSCH standard defines the following precedence rules:

   1.  Transmissions take precedence over receptions;

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   2.  Lower slotframe identifiers take precedence over higher slotframe

   In the example above, the mote would transmit to mote B on slotframe

Authors' Addresses

   Thomas Watteyne (editor)
   Linear Technology
   30695 Huntwood Avenue
   Hayward, CA  94544

   Phone: +1 (510) 400-2978
   Email: twatteyne@linear.com

   Maria Rita Palattella
   University of Luxembourg
   Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust
   4, rue Alphonse Weicker
   Luxembourg  L-2721

   Phone: +352 46 66 44 5841
   Email: maria-rita.palattella@uni.lu

   Luigi Alfredo Grieco
   Politecnico di Bari
   Department of Electrical and Information Engineering
   Via Orabona 4
   Bari  70125

   Phone: +39 08 05 96 3911
   Email: a.grieco@poliba.it

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