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Assignment of an Ethertype for IPv6 with Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Network (LoWPAN) Encapsulation
RFC 7973

Document Type RFC - Informational (November 2016)
Authors Ralph Droms , Paul Duffy
Last updated 2016-11-16
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Additional resources Mailing list discussion
IESG Responsible AD Suresh Krishnan
Send notices to (None)
RFC 7973
Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                          R. Droms
Request for Comments: 7973
Category: Informational                                         P. Duffy
ISSN: 2070-1721                                                    Cisco
                                                           November 2016

                Assignment of an Ethertype for IPv6 with
    Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Network (LoWPAN) Encapsulation


   When carried over Layer 2 technologies such as Ethernet, IPv6
   datagrams using Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Network (LoWPAN)
   encapsulation as defined in RFC 4944 must be identified so the
   receiver can correctly interpret the encoded IPv6 datagram.  The IETF
   officially requested the assignment of an Ethertype for that purpose
   and this document reports that assignment.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for informational purposes.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Not all documents
   approved by the IESG are a candidate for any level of Internet
   Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 7841.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

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RFC 7973           Ethertype for LoWPAN Encapsulation      November 2016

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2016 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
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   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.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Assignment of an Ethertype by IEEE  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   5.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4

1.  Introduction

   The IETF defined "LoWPAN encapsulation", a format for IPv6 [RFC2460]
   datagram encapsulation [RFC4944].  This document regards any IPv6
   datagram using the Dispatch octet as defined in Section 5.1 of RFC
   4944 as using LoWPAN encapsulation.  LoWPAN encapsulation as defined
   in RFC 4944 has been updated by [RFC6282], and may be extended and
   modified by future IETF Standards.  The intended Layer 2 technology
   for IPv6 datagrams using LoWPAN encapsulation as originally defined
   is [IEEE.802.15.4_2011], which does not provide for a protocol switch
   in its Layer 2 headers.

   The following list gives some example use cases for the Ethertype-
   based protocol dispatch for the LoWPAN-encapsulated IPv6 datagram:

   o  Usage of LoWPAN encapsulation in conjunction with IEEE 802.15.9
      Multiplexed Data Service [IEEE802159], which provides the ability
      to perform upper layer protocol dispatch for IEEE 802.15.4
      networks.  Wi-SUN Alliance intends to use the 15.9 Multiplexed
      Data Information Element for upper layer protocol dispatch.  As
      specified in IEEE 802.15.9, dispatch of LoWPAN encapsulation
      frames will require that an Ethertype be assigned for LoWPAN

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RFC 7973           Ethertype for LoWPAN Encapsulation      November 2016

   o  LoWPAN encapsulation will likely be needed for Wi-Fi Alliance's
      HaLoW [HALOW] standard (low-power operation in the 900 MHz band).

   o  Other Layer 2 technologies such as Ethernet and debugging tools
      such as Wireshark require a unique Protocol Type field for LoWPAN
      encapsulation to properly interpret IPv6 datagrams that use LoWPAN

   o  Any existing or future Layer 2 technology, incorporating
      Ethertype-based upper layer dispatch, can use the Ethertype
      proposed in this document to dispatch LoWPAN-encapsulated IPv6

2.  Assignment of an Ethertype by IEEE

   The IETF formally submitted a request to IEEE for assignment of an
   Ethertype for IPv6 datagrams using LoWPAN encapsulation.  IEEE has
   responded with the assignment of Ethertype 0xA0ED for this purpose.
   The assignment has been recorded by IEEE [IEEE-ETHERTYPES].

3.  IANA Considerations

   The following entry has been added to the "ETHER TYPES" subregistry
   of the "IEEE 802 Numbers" registry [IANA-IEEE802]:

      Ethertype (decimal): 41197
      Ethertype (hex): A0ED
      Exp. Ethernet (decimal): -
      Exp. Ethernet (octal): -
      Description: LoWPAN encapsulation
      References: RFC 7973 (this document)

4.  Security Considerations

   This document only requests assignment of an Ethertype for IPv6
   datagrams using LoWPAN encapsulation.  It has no incremental
   implications for security beyond those in the relevant protocols.

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5.  Normative References

   [HALOW]    Wi-Fi Alliance, "Wi-Fi HaLow",

              IANA, "IEEE 802 Numbers",

              IEEE, "Ethertype",

              IEEE, "IEEE Standard for Local and metropolitan area
              networks--Part 15.4: Low-Rate Wireless Personal Area
              Networks (LR-WPANs)", IEEE 802.15.4-2011,
              DOI 10.1109/ieeestd.2011.6012487, September 2011,

              IEEE, "IEEE Draft Recommended Practice for Transport of
              Key Management Protocol (KMP) Datagrams",
              IEEE P802.15.9/D04, May 2015,

   [RFC2460]  Deering, S. and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version 6
              (IPv6) Specification", RFC 2460, DOI 10.17487/RFC2460,
              December 1998, <>.

   [RFC4944]  Montenegro, G., Kushalnagar, N., Hui, J., and D. Culler,
              "Transmission of IPv6 Packets over IEEE 802.15.4
              Networks", RFC 4944, DOI 10.17487/RFC4944, September 2007,

   [RFC6282]  Hui, J., Ed. and P. Thubert, "Compression Format for IPv6
              Datagrams over IEEE 802.15.4-Based Networks", RFC 6282,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6282, September 2011,

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Authors' Addresses

   Ralph Droms


   Paul Duffy
   1414 Massachusetts Ave.
   Boxborough, Massachusetts  01719
   United States of America

   Phone: +1 978 204 9993

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