The Trickle Algorithm
RFC 6206

Approval announcement
Draft of message to be sent after approval:

From: The IESG <>
To: IETF-Announce <>
Cc: Internet Architecture Board <>,
    RFC Editor <>,
    roll mailing list <>,
    roll chair <>
Subject: Protocol Action: 'The Trickle Algorithm' to Proposed Standard (draft-ietf-roll-trickle-08.txt)

The IESG has approved the following document:
- 'The Trickle Algorithm'
  (draft-ietf-roll-trickle-08.txt) as a Proposed Standard

This document is the product of the Routing Over Low power and Lossy
networks Working Group.

The IESG contact persons are Adrian Farrel and Stewart Bryant.

A URL of this Internet Draft is:

Technical Summary

    The Trickle algorithm allows nodes in a lossy shared medium (e.g.,
    low power and lossy networks) to exchange information in a highly
    robust, energy efficient, simple, and scalable manner.  Dynamically
    adjusting transmission windows allows Trickle to spread new 
    information on the scale of link-layer transmission times while
    sending only a few messages per hour when information does not
    change.  A simple suppression mechanism and transmission point
    selection allows Trickle's communication rate to scale logarithmically
    with density.  This document describes the Trickle algorithm and
    considerations in its use.

    The Trickle algorithm establishes a density-aware local 
    communication primitive with an underlying consistency model that
    guides when a node transmits.  When a node's data does not agree
    with its neighbors, that node communicates quickly to resolve the
    inconsistency (e.g., in milliseconds).  When nodes agree, they slow
    their communication rate exponentially, such that nodes send packets
    very infrequently (e.g., a few packets per hour).  Instead of flooding a
    network with packets, the algorithm controls the send rate so each
    node hears a small trickle of packets, just enough to stay consistent.
    Furthermore, by relying only on local communication (e.g., broadcast
    or local multicast), Trickle handles network re-population, is robust to
    network transience, loss, and disconnection, is simple to implement,
    and requires very little state.  Current implementations use 4-11 
    bytes of RAM and are 50-200 lines of C code.

    While Trickle was originally designed for reprogramming protocols
    (where the data is the code of the program being updated),  
    experience has shown it to be a powerful mechanism that can be 
    applied to wide range of protocol design problems, including control
    traffic timing, multicast propagation, and route discovery.  This 
    flexibility stems from being able to define, on a case-by-case basis,
    what constitutes "agreement" or an "inconsistency;"

    This document describes the Trickle algorithm and provides  
    guidelines for its use.  It also states requirements for protocol  
    specifications that use Trickle.  This document does not provide
    results on Trickle's performance or behavior, nor does it explain the
    algorithm's design in detail.

Working Group Summary

    No discontent.

Document Quality

    The Trickle algorithm is a true component of the RPL routing protocol,  
    specified by the ROLL WG, which has passed WG Last Call. Since
    RPL has been implemented by more than a dozens of implementation
    and several interoperability events took place, the trickle algorithm has
    also been successfully implemented (the reason for documenting 
    trickle in a separate document was that it could be used in other
    circumstances than RPL)


    JP Vasseur ( is the Document Shepherd.
    Adrian Farrel ( is the Responsible AD.