March 2013 – Featured Promoter: Linear Technology/Dust Networks

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IETF 6TSCH: Combining IPv6 Connectivity with Industrial Performance

Authors: Thomas Watteyne, Kris Pister
Affiliation: Dust Networks Product Group, Linear Technology

Dust Networks’ SmartMesh IP product line achieves ultra low-power, ultra high reliability and IPv6 connectivity by combining the IEEE802.15.4e TSCH and IETF 6LoWPAN standards on the best-in-class low-power system-on-chip.

TSCH is the recently-ratified IEEE version of the MAC-layer protocol used in several high-reliability industrial automation standards, including WirelessHART and ISA100.  The time-synchronized channel-hopping MAC allows a direct trade-off between latency, throughput and the power consumption of the motes via scheduled communication. A “dense” schedule allows for tens of packets per second to flow through the multi-hop network, while a “sparse” schedule keeps the radio duty cycle well below 1%, yielding years of battery lifetime. This enables the protocol stack to satisfy a wide range of applications, from bandwidth-intensive fast-sampling monitoring networks to resource-constrained energy-harvesting applications. Building and optimizing the communication schedule is part of all SmartMesh products.

Together with several other like-minded technology companies and academic institutions, Dust Networks is leading the effort to define an open standard for building and maintaining a TSCH schedule in a 6LoWPAN network. This work has started as part of the IETF 6TSCH (pronounced “sixtus”) working group, which was created in early 2013. With close to one hundred 6TSCH members at the time of this writing, rapid progress is being made toward a standard marrying industrial-strength reliability with native IPv6 networking.

The 6TSCH group will meet at IETF 86 in Orlando, FL in March 2013. The meeting is open to all IETF 86 attendees, as is the 6TSCH mailing list.

For more information about Linear Technology and the IETF 6TSCH group, visit http://www.linear.com/dust and http://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/6tsch.

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