Article 1

IoT Connectivity

Geoff Varrall

Internet of Things connectivity is often discussed in the context of the 4G to 5G transition including the spectrum and standards requirements needed to achieve an order of magnitude reduction in connectivity cost and an order of magnitude decrease in connectivity energy consumption. There is a persuasive argument that this could be accomplished by repurposing GSM spectrum at 850 and 900 MHz, subdividing existing GSM 200 kHz channels into narrow band carriers that could support low data rate long range low cost connectivity.

 


Article 2

Should Public Policy Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way?

Andy Haire

It goes without challenge that the subject of the Internet of Things is among the most widely debated and discussed topics in our industry in recent memory. Rightly so; it serves as the fastest growing part of the communications sector. The mere existence of this newsletter from a highly respected institution proves the point.

 


Article 3

The Case for IPv6 as an Enabler of the Internet of Things

Sébastien Ziegler, Peter Kirstein, Latif Ladid, Antonio Skarmeta and Antonio Jara

Many discussions of the Internet of Things (IoT) appear to assume that IP address space is an unlimited resource that will scale as the IoT scales to previously unimagined proportions. But the IP address space is not unlimited. In fact, the IPv4 address space has been depleted since February 2011. And that could have been the single best reason to consider IPv6 – Internet Protocol version 6 – for the future of IoT. Research has demonstrated that many other reasons exist as well.

 


Article 4

IoT for Development (IoT4D)

Marco Zennaro and Antoine Bagula

The internet is evolving from a communication platform that provides access to information "anytime" and "anywhere" into the Internet of Things (IoT): a network that integrates "anything" by gathering and disseminating data from the physical world to enable a better understanding of our environment. IoT allows us to make inferences about phenomena and take mitigation measures against unwanted environmental effects.

 

 

This Month's Contributors

Geoff Varrall joined RTT in 1985 as an executive director and shareholder to develop RTT's international business as a provider of technology and business services to the wireless industry.
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Andrew Haire with more than 30 years of experience spanning four continents has been associated with some of the industry’s most successful telecom initiatives.
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Sébastien Ziegler is the founder and Director of Mandat International, a foundation based in Geneva with special consultative status to the UN and a member of the International Telecommunication Union.
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Peter Kirstein is Professor of Computer Communications Systems at University College London. He is a fellow of many professional bodies including the Royal Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Science, US National Academy of Engineering.
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Latif Ladid holds the following positions: Founder & President, IPv6 FORUM; Founder & Chair, 5G World Alliance; Chair, ETSI IP6 ISG; Chair, IEEE ComSoc 5G MWI & IoT subTC; Emeritus Trustee, Internet Society; Board Member IPv6 Ready & Enabled Logos Program.
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Antonio F. Skarmeta received the M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Granada and B.S. (Hons.) and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Murcia, Spain.
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Antonio Jara has received two Master Sciences (Hons. – valedictorian) degrees: a Master in Business Administration – MBA (Hons), and PhD (Cum Laude). He is especially focused on the design and development of new protocols for security and mobility for the Internet of things, the topic of his Ph.D.
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Marco Zennaro received his Electronic Engineering degree from Universita' di Trieste, Italy and his PhD from KTH-Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. His PhD thesis was on "Wireless Sensor Networks for Development: Potentials and Open Issues".
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Antoine Bagula received the MEng degree in Computer Engineering from Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) in Belgium and the MSc Degree in computer science from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.
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Contributions Welcomed
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Raffaele Giaffreda, Editor-in-Chief
raffaele.giaffreda@create-net.org

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stuartsharrock@ieee.org

 

About the IoT eNewsletter

The IEEE Internet of Things (IoT) eNewsletter is a bi-monthly online publication that features practical and timely technical information and forward-looking commentary on IoT developments and deployments around the world. Designed to bring clarity to global IoT-related activities and developments and foster greater understanding and collaboration between diverse stakeholders, the IEEE IoT eNewsletter provides a broad view by bringing together diverse experts, thought leaders, and decision-makers to exchange information and discuss IoT-related issues.

IoT Connectivity

Geoff Varrall
July 14, 2015

 

Internet of Things connectivity is often discussed in the context of the 4G to 5G transition including the spectrum and standards requirements needed to achieve an order of magnitude reduction in connectivity cost and an order of magnitude decrease in connectivity energy consumption. There is a persuasive argument that this could be accomplished by repurposing GSM spectrum at 850 and 900 MHz, subdividing existing GSM 200 kHz channels into narrow band carriers that could support low data rate long range low cost connectivity

The counter argument is that the Internet of Things also includes devices that require high data rate and low latency connectivity. This implies a wider range of spectrum and physical layer options including LTE and LTE Advanced and whatever comes next, coupled with regulatory innovation – the licensed versus lightly licensed versus unlicensed debate.

At this point the discussion becomes alarmingly unfocused, failing to comprehend the cost of band and standards complexity.

Band complexity

The number of mobile broadband cellular bands has increased from three core bands in 1990 to thirty bands in 2010. Currently the count is 44 LTE bands including TDD options. By 2020 there will be at least three hundred band combinations assuming carrier aggregation is adopted.

That’s before WiFi at 2.4GHZ, 5 GHZ and 60 GHz is added to the equation plus other country specific ISM bands such as the US ISM band at 902 to 928 MHz.

Each new band and band combination increases design and test cost. Each additional filter and switch path introduces additional component cost and performance loss making any of these connectivity options progressively less efficient for IoT.

Standards complexity

The relentless LTE Release process is increasing R&D and test cost at an alarming rate compounded by an IEEE standards process that remains at best loosely coupled to 3GPP/ 5GPP work items.

The cost targets of IoT connectivity can only plausibly be met by realising a global harmonised spectrum allocation and physical layer implementation. Getting consensus agreement on the optimum choice becomes harder as the options multiply.

A possible solution – think wavelength not frequency

A possible solution is to think in terms of wavelength rather than frequency

For the first fifty years of radio, wavelength was used as the default way of describing spectrum. This was simply because it was easier to measure wavelength and harder to measure frequency. Many of these descriptors are still used today including long wave, medium wave and short wave.

Accurate measurement of frequency required highly stable quartz crystal oscillators. As these became more readily available through the 1930s there was a shift towards describing radio in terms of frequency – VHF, UHF or other arbitrary naming systems – C,X and K bands for radar for example.

The introduction of cellular radio from 1980 onwards marked a shift to describing radio systems with a band number, the 800 MHz AMPS networks became Band 5, the 900 MHz TACS/ETACS networks became Band 8, and the 1800 MHz networks became Band 3.

But many of the design and performance challenges of IoT connectivity revolve around form factor and RF efficiency. These are a function of wavelength rather than frequency or band number.

For example an IoT device at 300 MHz is working at a metre wavelength (wavelength being the speed of light, 300 million metres per second divided by frequency).

Given that the optimum theoretic length for an antenna is one quarter or one half of the wavelength to be received or transmitted it is clear that a 300 MHz IoT device is either going to have a big antenna or an inefficient antenna, neither of which is desirable.

In terms of IoT device size and performance it is therefore helpful to think about three rather than 300 bands, the Metre Band, (300 MHz to 3 GHz, 1 metre to 0.1 metre), the Centimetre Band (3 GHz to 30 GHz, 10 to 1 centimetre) and the Millimetre Band (30 to 300 GHz, 10 to 1 millimetre).

The Metre band (300 MHz to 3 GHz) captures more or less everything we have in present mobile broadband wide area connectivity and the US 900 MHz ISM band.

The Centimetre band (3GHz to 30 GHz) captures 5 GHz WiFi with 802.11p for the connected car and satellites at Ku band (12-14 GHz, 2.49 centimetres to 2.14 centimetres) and Ka band (27-30 GHz, 1.1 to 0.99 centimetres). New launch and propulsion /orbit station keeping techniques, spot beam antennas, phased array antennas and solar panel efficiency gains are together transforming the link budgets and economics of these wide area connectivity options.

The Millimetre band (30 to 300 GHz) captures WiFi at 60 GHz but placed in the context of the options for 5G connectivity including the 66-71 GHz band, 71-76 GHz band, the 81-86 GHz band and the 92-93 GHz band – effectively repurposed lightly licensed point to point radio for mobile broadband IoT connectivity. It also comprehends present and likely future sub space radio system innovation including Google balloons and Facebook Drones for low cost internet connectivity.

The Millimetre bands are not generally discussed in the context of IoT connectivity but these are the bands which DARPA and the DOD are proposing to use to implement high bandwidth low latency military radio and telemetry systems supported from sub space base stations on board unmanned aerial vehicles. These are not local area networks but mobile wide area rapidly deployable systems with a free space line of sight range of up to 60 km.

We tend to think about the Internet of Things in terms of familiar everyday objects that become connected – the pot that calls the kettle back. This ignores the market for Small Devices that do things that we haven’t thought about yet. These small devices need short wavelength transceivers. The Internet of large things will need supporting as well and includes those dastardly drones. This wide dynamic range of devices requires a wide but selective and optimised range of spectrum and technologies.

This could be achieved by having not more than two IoT 'micro bands' within each wavelength 'macro band', one for local area, one for wide area connectivity. In the Metre band this would be a 900 MHz repurposed GSM carrier for wide area with 2.4 GHz for WiFi/ Bluetooth local area, in the Centimetre band, WiFi at 5 GHz including 802.11p for car connectivity and Ku or Ka band satellite for wide area, in the Millimetre band, 60 GHz WiFi for local area and one of the four sub-100 GHz bands for wide area sub space. Each option would use simple two or four level frequency or phase modulation. This combination would provide a wide range of data rates, coverage from a few metres to many kilometres, energy efficiency and global market and design scale economy.

The Internet of Things is promoted as a new market paradigm but we are still thinking about connecting the IoT in an old fashioned way.

Think wavelength not frequency. It makes the debate about IoT technology and spectrum much easier to comprehend.

 


 

Geoff VarrallGeoff Varrall joined RTT in 1985 as an executive director and shareholder to develop RTT's international business as a provider of technology and business services to the wireless industry. He co-developed RTT's original series of design and facilitation workshops including 'RF Technology', 'Data Over Radio', 'Introduction to Mobile Radio', and 'Private Mobile Radio Systems' and developed 'The Oxford Programme', a five day strategic technology and market programme presented annually over a period of twenty years.

Geoff is a co-author of the Mobile Radio Servicing Handbook, Data Over Radio, and 3G Handset and Network Design. Geoff's fourth book, Making Telecoms Work – from technical innovation to commercial success was published in early 2012. He is presently writing a book on 5G spectrum and standards. He also writes regularly for a number of European trade journals and chairs a broad cross section of industry conference and trade events.

As a past Director of Cambridge Wireless, Geoff is actively involved in a number of wireless heritage initiatives that aim to capture and record past technology and engineering experience.

 

 

Should Public Policy Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way?

Andy Haire
July 14, 2015

 

It goes without challenge that the subject of the Internet of Things is among the most widely debated and discussed topics in our industry in recent memory. Rightly so; it serves as the fastest growing part of the communications sector. The mere existence of this newsletter from a highly respected institution proves the point.

From what has been written in the past in this forum, much is focused on development, on uses, on technical concerns, on platforms. In the course of reading the fine contributions to this newsletter there is another avenue of conversation that needs our attention: the role that public policy plays and the role that public policy makers should play in the IoT market.

As has been laid out carefully in prior writings, IoT is underpinned by the evolution of cheap communication, cheaper storage and computing, and more sophisticated analytics. But make no mistake, that even in the face of migration to more liberalized markets worldwide, the communications sector remains regulated, and we must be wary that rule makers may get in the way.

The best of technical ideas, even those with obvious societal benefits, can face the unexpected worst of barriers, sometimes from government policy, as they enter the worldwide market. Ask Skype or WhatsApp as they readied for their respective global audiences. In a very thought-provoking report last year the Internet Society reported that the primary reason that half the planet’s human inhabitants are unconnected is government policies.

Rules abound

The authorities or governmental bodies with this say in 'what can', 'what can't', 'what should be' is growing as fast as individuals with the title of 'president' in some companies. We have telecom regulators, competition authorities, and privacy commissions – each with a continuing sense that they must do something meaningful to justify their existence. Twenty years ago only 14 countries in the world could claim that they regulated their communications market; today that number is over 200. Rules abound. Each creates regulations or set policy; often by people who plainly don’t understand the technical nuances of a technical marketplace.

Combine the fastest growing segment of the communications sector with un-harmonized global rulemaking and we could very well face the largest obstacle for growth and the realization of benefits for IoT.

Having served as both an advocate of and an architect for communications public policy for over three decades on four continents, I have often viewed the policy impact akin to the waterbed – push down here, and watch it rise over there – something economists call the 'law of unintended consequences'.

The hope is to develop this conversation further by taking a closer look at the regulatory and public policy issues surrounding the emerging Internet of Things (IoT). There has been much written on the differences between M2M (Machine to Machine) and IoT or even IoE (Internet of Everything). But for the sake of these articles, they will be treated as overlapping, and will address policy topics that each and all present. For simplicity reference will be to IoT – and will make distinctions only when M2M or IoE demand a policy distinction.

As IoT gains wider reach, the regulator has little choice but to take on an expanded role. History tells us that, but what issues are regulators most concerned about? When viewed from afar, the regulator’s mind is often mysterious, its critics would say less than transparent, and its decisions are perplexing. Over the next few articles we expect to expand this thinking. This is by no means intended to be critical to the role of regulators – I know only too well what that role is, having served as one for over a decade. The goal here will not attempt something unrealistic by trying to solve all of these concerns, but rather to bring awareness to those who are developing the platforms, the products, and the deliverables that the IoT market hopes to realize.

In general terms policy issues that have made an appearance on the IoT frontier are:

Intrusion

  • Privacy – who gets to see what? Privacy and data protection have gained significant public awareness – but there are many differences in approach around the world.
  • Security – how can we protect? This topic differs from privacy but is often incorrectly used when mentioned in the same thought. Given the growing incidents of data breaches, and the potential for unauthorized intrusion, it is important that the role of the authority be defined beyond 'self-regulate'.
  • Access to (public sector) Information; while privacy is an important policy issue and certain protections can be employed, what happens to those protections in downstream use? In the use of personal data that was seen as protected, several high profile cases and some university research projects have debunked the notion of full anonymization. So who gets access?

Scarce resource pressures

  • Spectrum policy – changes to IoT platforms will have a profound impact on existing uses of radio spectrum. Devices (or sensors) are unmanned, often difficult and/or expensive to reach, and costly to change. What guidelines are needed to determine best use, especially in the 5-15 year planning horizon – would it be those that benefit the most people, or those that deliver the most value? What future role should the regulator (or at least the part of government that monitors spectrum use) play concerning interference, or assuring fair use of assigned spectrum? This can be seen as a slippery slope when you take into account licensing, type approval, enforcement.
  • Are we establishing a further scarce resource – namely the identification of device processes? Given estimates of many billions of connected devices by, say, 2020, who will be responsible for the allocation of identifying numbers? Is this a national or global issue?

Compliance

  • Might IoT prompt further liberalization of the communications market – i.e., who governs the control of the market devices; what is regulatory compliance? (And whose rules?). Or on the other hand is this beyond the reach of existing authority and present legislation, so the regulator chooses to forebear?
  • Roaming – will a device relying on wireless connectivity and intended to work in one market easily adapt to a neighboring market? Will the car or the tractor be less effective if it crosses a national boundary? Will that car be more expensive to operate?

In coming articles each policy issue will be explored using the following broad approach: what elements make up that particular policy – what is important and impactful (and what isn’t); how can it be dealt with; what are the anticipated benefits or impacts and what are the costs or risks. Every attempt will be made to not just raise questions, but to offer direction or answers.

Again the intention here is to arm those who are planning, developing and building this evolution with the awareness of a broader set of issues that might result in starting the necessary advocacy efforts to ensure we see the benefits of the IoT revolution.

 


 

Andrew HaireAndrew Haire with more than 30 years of experience spanning four continents has been associated with some of the industry’s most successful telecom initiatives. He advises both governments and communication providers and is an expert in industry policy, market growth, strategy, technical opportunity, and economic structure. His portfolio included architecting major policy frameworks in the telecoms, technology, and postal sectors, as well as serving as regulator and ICT policy for 10 years at Singapore’s iDA, soon after its inception in the year 2000.

He serves on the Board of the International Institute of Communications in London, and is Chairman of its US Chapter. Mr Haire holds a degree in engineering in the United States, attended the advanced management program from Harvard University. He has delivered papers / speeches on policy and regulatory frameworks in Asia, Europe and North America.

 

 

The Case for IPv6 as an Enabler of the Internet of Things

Sébastien Ziegler, Peter Kirstein, Latif Ladid, Antonio Skarmeta and Antonio Jara
July 14, 2015

 

Many discussions of the Internet of Things (IoT) appear to assume that IP address space is an unlimited resource that will scale as the IoT scales to previously unimagined proportions. But the IP address space is not unlimited. In fact, the IPv4 address space has been depleted since February 2011. And that could have been the single best reason to consider IPv6 – Internet Protocol version 6 – for the future of IoT. Research has demonstrated that many other reasons exist as well.

IPv6 represents the next iteration of IPv4, which has provided just 232 Internet addresses or about 4.3 billion addresses, which were largely exhausted by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) by Feb. 1, 2011. In contrast, IPv6 enables 2128 IP addresses equivalent to 3.4 x 1038 addresses or 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses – enough, arguably, for generations to come.

Scalability is but one factor in IPv6’s favor. IPv6’s manageability, end-to-end connectivity, as well as its current rate of uptake are also encouraging. In terms of manageability, IPv6 can be compressed into a couple of bytes by using 6LoWPAN translation, an advantage over IPv4, and this enables its use in low-power sensors that may proliferate in IoT deployment scenarios. In terms of connectivity, two end points anywhere in the world can communicate via IPv6 with the properties of a virtual private network (VPN).

In terms of uptake, leading wireless telecom operators in the United States have been the first to adopt IPv6, based on the need to serve a vast and increasing number of mobile devices. And major web services and online applications, such as Google, YouTube, Netflix and LinkedIn have adopted IPv6 to handle massive global traffic between IP addresses. Internet Service Providers’ chokehold on the "last mile," however, remains an impediment to a highly functional IoT. Figure 1 shows the adoption curve for global IPv6 traffic on Google servers describes the proverbial "hockey stick" – IPv6 adoption is doubling every nine months. Countries such as Belgium already achieved over 32% IPv6 adoption rate and 52 Million US end-users today use IPv6 to reach Google without even knowing it.

Figure 1

Figure 1: Google IPv6 statistics

Traditionally, the proprietary protocol approach was built into many if not most enterprises’ business case, so governments, vertical industries, engineers and application developers, among others, had to be persuaded of IPv6’s superior qualities as an enabler of an unfettered IoT and, presumably, resulting market growth. When analyzing the emerging IoT and M2M-related standards, they all tend to converge toward the adoption of IPv6 and its 6LoWPAN compressed version as the reference network protocol. This is the case for 6TiSCH (IETF), LWM2M (OMA) and OneM2M. The adoption of IPv6 down to the last miles of IoT deployments is a growing reality.

The following account of IPv6’s origins, its advantages to IoT, use cases and costs/benefits is based on research by the IoT6 (www.iot6.eu), a three-year FP7 European research project that has explored the issue in depth.

A brief history of IPv6

IPv6 was designed by the IETF IPng (Next Generation) Working Group in the 1990s and it has been promoted by the IPv6 Forum since 1999. Several IETF working groups worked on expanding the IPv4 protocol suite to arrive at the next iteration, which is IPv6. These groups sought a larger address space, defined new capabilities and explored deployment scenarios with transition models that recognize the need for IPv6 to interact with legacy IPv4 infrastructure and services. These working groups have also enhanced a combination of features that were not tightly designed or scalable in IPv4, such as IP mobility, to enable lowest-cost deployment of large-scale sensor networks wherever networking adds value.

Benefits of IPv6 to IoT

The next logical step from networks of mobile devices to networks of communicating "Things" is IoT. That next step will mirror the sequence of events experienced by mobile networks. Proprietary protocols came first, because an individual company’s profits often come before consideration of the common good. But the use of IP and transparency (i.e., open source protocols) is fundamental to IoT development, just as the ease of use and the invisibility of the technology is important to end users. Our view, based on our research, is that the value of transparency and ease-of-use, and even more importantly the need for interoperability, will favor IPv6 adoption by the IoT market.

Specific aspects of IPv6 that will propel its use for IoT include, among others:

    • Scalability
    • Growing global adoption and product availability
    • Overcoming Network Address Translation (NAT) limitations
    • IP security enablement
    • Mobility support
    • Stateless Address auto-configuration
    • Redesign of many features that existed in IPv4 but are greatly improved in IPv6: e.g. multicast, multiple addresses

We have discussed the first two features. The other features are summarized here:

Network Address Translation (NAT) enables several users and devices to share the same public IP address by associating with it several distinct private ones. This solution has been used mainly to cope with internet growth. It has serious disadvantages for IoT, however, by limiting the accessibility of those private addresses. A device can be accessed only if it has first contacted the application and maintained an open channel. Moreover, NAT breaks end-to-end connectivity and may weaken authentication processes. Use of NATs makes it more difficult to share a sensor infrastructure with several different IoT application providers. In contrast, IPv6 enables a highly scalable and NAT-free network deployment.

In terms of IP security enablement, IPv6 can provide end-to-end connectivity with a more distributed routing mechanism, thus, network intermediaries such as gateways are eliminated and the network is focused on routing and switching units, at the same time security vulnerabilities are reduced, since security is not broken by intermediary entities (e.g., NAT routers). Moreover, IPv6 is supported by a large community of users and researchers – including IPSec – investigating support and on-going improvement of its security features. (Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) refers to a protocol suite for securing IP communications through the authentication and encryption of each packet in a session.) The additional use of identifiers and multiple IPv6 addresses for the same end point enables different security and access properties for different IoT Applications Providers accessing the same IoT sensor/actuator infrastructure.

IPv6 provides features and solutions to support the mobility of end-nodes, as well as the mobility of the routing nodes of the network. Some of these features also work with IPv4, but are inefficient in how they were defined for that protocol.

IoT deployment will be massive, thus it’s particularly important that as many activities as possible occur in an automated fashion. One enabler of automation is IPv6’s stateless address auto-configuration (SLAAC), which allows a device new to the IoT network to obtain its IPv6 address autonomously without human intervention and related costs.

Multicast allows an operation to be performed on multiple devices; this was also supported in IPv4 but was unusable in its IPv4 version because it could disturb normal operation if it was misconfigured. It is very valuable in IoT operations that can be done at the network level. Multiple IP addresses for a single interface were also possible theoretically in IPv4; address shortage made its usage impractical. It is particularly valuable in IoT applications, where multiple stakeholders are using the same IoT physical deployments. Each stakeholder may use its own address space for the same end device.

At least another half-dozen features of IPv6 could be described, but would require us to digress into too much technology detail for this high-level paper.

Implementation hurdles

The biggest hurdle cited by many observers to IPv6 adoption for IoT is the apparent lack of interoperability between IPv4 and IPv6. The perception of this hurdle was based on the notion that the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 would take a long time. This led to efforts to keep IPv4 working, mainly by artificially expanding its address space, with the idea that at some point the entire world would switch over to IPv6.

But a secure, practical transition from IPv4 to IPv6 would place the two protocols side-by-side in what we call a "dual-stack" approach. When an IPv4 device calls a dual-stack device, for instance, the latter would receive that call using IPv4.When an IPv6 device calls, the receiver would use IPv6. Can a dual-stack approach be maintained, based on cost? Mobile operators have resolved that question by making all new mobile devices with IPv6 and converting IPv4 to IPv6 in the central network.

But there are as many solutions to this potential hurdle as there are vertical industries. Thus, the dual-stack approach may be necessary until a market tipping point occurs in the deployment of IPv6-enabled devices and sensors – the "Things" in IoT. At that point the manufacturers of sensors and devices and "things" may have to agree to go all IPv6.

Another area that will require major advances in research and development is improving IPv6’s security and privacy capabilities. These qualities must be implemented in the design phase, or "baked in," not as an afterthought, or "bolted on." Obviously, this will influence user and market confidence, because with the anticipated proliferation of "Things" in IoT – everyone is talking about 50 billion connected devices not too far down the road – comes an exponential increase in potential attack surfaces. This issue must be addressed head-on.

A third major obstacle to the adoption of IPv6 is the current state of address translation limitations. Currently, most devices in an IoT context do not support IP or IPv6. They have their own proprietary addressing schemes, such as RFID (radio-frequency identification) numbers. That’s a small, closed universe. To track a product across the world, for instance – say, a cow from Brazil, shipped to a slaughterhouse in the U.S. and then distributed as cuts of meat to a thousand places – one could link the RFID number to an IPv6 address, at least the Host ID part of it. Thus address translation is critical to global adoption of IPv6, because most industries currently are using proprietary, closed IoT systems of their own.

A path to adoption

The single most efficacious path to IPv6 adoption is to get national governments around the world on board. They have the budgets to create a business case for manufacturers of IPv6-based devices and networks. And that creates economies of scale that will motivate engineers and developers to focus on a truly global, open source IoT. Adoption by large governments will probably be necessary to persuade vertical industries to abandon proprietary communication protocols in favor of an open source protocol such as IPv6 for an open, transparent, useful, worldwide IoT. In any case, considering the evolution of the global internet infrastructure towards IPv6 and the perfect match between IPv6 and IoT requirements in terms of scalability and mobility, the question is not any more whether IPv6 will be at the core of the global IoT architecture, but how fast.

 


 

Sebastien ZieglerSébastien Ziegler is the founder and Director of Mandat International, a foundation based in Geneva with special consultative status to the UN and a member of the International Telecommunication Union. He graduated in international relations at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, followed by a Master in Environment, an MBA in international administration (HEC Geneva), and complementary executive courses at Harvard Business School, Stanford University, UC Berkeley and EPFL. Sébastien founded two foundations, as well as two ICT-related SMEs and several organizations, including ICT-related alliances. He is Vice President of the IoT Forum and Vice Chair of the IEEE ComSoc Subcommittee on the IoT. He initiated several national and international research projects in the area of ICT, with a focus on Internet of Things, IPv6, multiprotocol interoperability and crowdsourcing. He initiated and coordinates several European research projects on IoT, including IoT6 (www.iot6.eu), IoT Lab (www.iotlab.eu) on IoT and crowdsourcing, and Privacy Flag on privacy and personal data protection.

 

Peter KirsteinPeter Kirstein is Professor of Computer Communications Systems at University College London. He is a fellow of many professional bodies including the Royal Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Science, US National Academy of Engineering. He has received many awards including the Commander of the British Empire, SIGCOMM, Postel, Lifetime achievement of Royal Academy of Engineering and Marconi.

Peter has led many projects in computer networks, communications and applications – both National and EC – included IPv6 activities in public safety, videoconferencing, security and sensor networking. He led the Networking Work-packages in both U2010 and IoT6.

 

Latif LadidLatif Ladid holds the following positions: Founder & President, IPv6 FORUM; Founder & Chair, 5G World Alliance; Chair, ETSI IP6 ISG; Chair, IEEE ComSoc 5G MWI & IoT subTC; Emeritus Trustee, Internet Society; Board Member IPv6 Ready & Enabled Logos Program. He is a Research Fellow at the University of Luxembourg on multiple European Commission Next Generation Technologies IST Projects. He is also Board Member of 3GPP PCG (www.3gpp.org), member of UN Strategy Council, and member of the Future Internet Forum EU Member States (representing Luxembourg).

 

Antonio SkarmetaAntonio F. Skarmeta received the M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Granada and B.S. (Hons.) and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Murcia, Spain. Since 2009 he is a Full Professor at the Computer Science department of the University of Murcia. Antonio Skarmeta has worked on different research projects in the national and international area in the networking, security and IoT areas, such as Seinit, Deserec, Enable, Daidalos, SWIFT, IoT6, SMARTIE and SocIOtal. He has published over 90 international papers and is a member of several program committees. He has also participated in several standardization activities being co-author of some drafts at the IETF.

 ​

Antonio JaraAntonio Jara has received two Master Sciences (Hons. – valedictorian) degrees: a Master in Business Administration – MBA (Hons), and PhD (Cum Laude). He is especially focused on the design and development of new protocols for security and mobility for the Internet of things, the topic of his Ph.D. He is currently working on IPv6 technologies for the Internet of Things in projects such as IoT6, and also Big Data and Knowledge Engineering for Smart Cities in collaboration with projects such as SmartSantander.

Antonio has published over 80 international papers about the Internet of Things and holds one patent in the Internet of Things area. His specialties are: Internet of Things, IPv6, Future Internet, e-health, AAL, healthcare, 6LoWPAN, RFID, Bluetooth Low Energy, IoT6, and security. Antonio is interested in developing new proposals for H2020 in the areas of IoT, Big Data, mHealth, IPv6, SDN and User Experiences.

 

 

Comments

2015-09-19 @ 6:00 PM by Cornum, Curt

I enjoyed reading your article. The data on the uptake of IPv6 was interesting and the information about the technical benefits and the implementation hurdles should help me validate some use cases I’m currently investigating. I was a bit surprised that you think the best path to adoption is to get governments on board. I would agree that might be the case for some verticals but I envision the private sector taking the lead for other verticals, like retail and healthcare. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

 

2015-09-20 @ 12:17 PM by Ladid, Latif

Yes, everyone is an enabler in the end. Industry always looks at the market with a market survey and defines the business case first with a proprietary solution with its own IPR to have exclusivity. Governments are the biggest customer and research investor keen to have open standards for the benefit of their citizens if they have the skills to define the requirements.

For more details, pls download the IPv6 Roadmap from the IPv6 Forum web site: www.ipv6forum.org 

2015-10-07 @ 4:40 PM by Cornum, Curt

Hi Latif,

 
Thanks for the additional info. By the way, I gave you attribution in a LinkedIn post I wrote last week. Here is the link:
 

IoT for Development (IoT4D)

Marco Zennaro and Antoine Bagula
July 14, 2015

 

The internet is evolving from a communication platform that provides access to information "anytime" and "anywhere" into the Internet of Things (IoT): a network that integrates "anything" by gathering and disseminating data from the physical world to enable a better understanding of our environment. IoT allows us to make inferences about phenomena and take mitigation measures against unwanted environmental effects.

IoT fulfills all the technological requirements to be successful in developing countries: it is low power technology (good for places with unreliable power supply), it does not require a fast internet connection (nodes are sending small amounts of data, and servers can be local), it is low-cost (or getting there) and it has an immediate impact on people’s lives.

IoT applications in developing countries

Applications of the Internet of Things can greatly benefit populations in developing countries: weather can be monitored, food safety can be checked, water quality can be analysed, air quality can be measured, landslides can be detected and mosquitoes can be counted in cities in real time. Furthermore, cheap e-health kits can be shipped to the isolated areas of the developing world to bridge the healthcare gap between urban and rural settings. The picture below showing sensor nodes that publish their data openly on the internet (as searched by https://www.thingful.net/) reveals a visibility gap where the North is scattered with nodes while the South is poorly represented. Africa, for example which is home to 1 billion people, has very few sensors.

Figure 1

Need for training

To realize the benefits offered by IoT, a broad portfolio of successful deployments are needed as a proof of concept. It is important that the deployed IoT networks are planned considering both the potential scientific impact as well as the one on local society. Wider dissemination is needed to engage a greater audience for IoT development activities.

To make sure the deployments are properly maintained, local capacity needs to be built. The International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP, Italy), in collaboration with Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC, USA), has already organized several training activities on IoT and wireless sensor networks (WSN) in developing countries, in the past few years: South Africa in 2010, Kenya in 2011, Ghana in 2011, Benin in 2014, Indonesia in 2012, Thailand in 2014, Japan in 2014 (for ICT4D students), Nicaragua in 2013, Ecuador in 2014. Rwanda and Costa Rica are planned for 2015.

After the workshops, participants have developed some interesting ideas. In South Africa two students developed a pollution monitoring system to be installed on public buses. The system measures air quality and position via GPS, and sends the readings to a server via SMS. The air quality is visualized on Google Maps as shown in real time. In Kenya, a PhD student developed a low cost weather monitoring system to be used in rural areas. Building upon the training received in Cape Town in 2010, one of the participants from Malawi developed an irrigation system that reduces water consumption. From the workshop organized in Ghana emerged the idea of a joint project to develop an air pollution monitoring system including the effects of the Harmatan wind. The training in Thailand allowed researchers to study the effects of water temperature and oxygen on fish growth.

While high-end equipment is too expensive for hands-on training for scientists and engineers of the developing world, the emergence of off-the-shelf low cost sensor network equipment has enabled a new training model where knowledge is acquired on real devices. This model also allows scientists and engineers, both students and professionals, to be exposed to engineering design by having planning and configuration combined with fine-tuning of equipment during the training period to meet deployment requirements. The use of IoT will also enhance Computer Science curricula in academic institutions of developing countries. Long-term data from sensor networks will be valuable for educational purposes and the associated tools for curricula development should be encouraged.

Research on IoT4D

The research activity on IoT4D focusses on issues such as intermittent energy availability, energy harvesting, opportunistic networking for low speed internet connections, sensor field readiness in harsh environmental conditions, privacy and security issues for underrepresented communities, and the use of white space frequencies in wireless sensor networking. These particular issues require further research to produce solutions that will drive IoT4D architectures.

Networking

As the problems tackled by IoT practitioners in developing countries fall into a limited number of categories (air quality, water quality, smart agriculture, healthcare, etc.), it is paramount to establish a network of IoT scientists/practitioners working in this domain. The network will provide a way for researchers to share solutions and to collaborate on finding the best solution to their problem.

Call for action!

We advocate the use of IoT for Development as this technology has many applications that can greatly benefit poor communities (water quality monitoring, intelligent irrigation, landslide monitoring and many others). At the same time it can help bridge the scientific divide by providing an affordable way for researchers to study the physical environment.

References
Million Mafuta, Marco Zennaro, Antoine Bagula, Graham Ault, Harry Gombachika, Timothy Chadza Successful Deployment of a Wireless Sensor Network for Precision Agriculture in Malawi. International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks. 04/2013; 2013:1-13. DOI:10.1155/2013/150703 pp.1-13

M. S. Radicella, R. Struzak and M. Zennaro Educating on Wireless Solutions for Environmental Monitoring. Journal of Telecommunications and Information Technology (JTIT), No. 4/2012, pages 78 -82, 2012.

M. Zennaro, A. Bagula, M. Nkoloma From Training to Projects: Wireless Sensor Networks in Africa. Proceedings of the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC2012), Seattle, Washington-USA, October 21-24, 2012.

Antoine Bagula, Marco Zennaro, Gordon Inggs, Simon Scott and David Gascon Ubiquitous Sensor Networking for Development (USN4D): An Application to Pollution Monitoring. Sensors 2012, 12(1), 391-414.

M. Nkoloma, M. Zennaro and A. Bagula SM2: Solar Monitoring System in Malawi. Proceedings of ITU Kaleidoscope 2011, South Africa 2011.

M.Zennaro, B.Pehrson and A.Bagula Wireless Sensor Networks: a great opportunity for researchers in Developing Countries. 2nd IFIP Intl. Symposium on Wireless Communications and Information Technology in Developing Countries. South Africa, 2008

 


 

Marco ZennaroMarco Zennaro received his Electronic Engineering degree from Universita' di Trieste, Italy and his PhD from KTH-Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. His PhD thesis was on "Wireless Sensor Networks for Development: Potentials and Open Issues". He is now a Researcher at the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP). His research interest is in ICT4D, the use of ICT for Development. In particular, he is interested in Wireless Networks and in Wireless Sensor Networks in Developing Countries. He is the editor of wsnblog.com and co-author of the Wireless Networking in Developing Countries (www.wndw.net) book.

 

Antoine BagulaAntoine Bagula received the MEng degree in Computer Engineering from Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) in Belgium and the MSc Degree in computer science from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He obtained a PhD in communication systems from the KTH-Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. He is now an Associate Professor at the University of the Western Cape, in South Africa. The focus of his research is on the design, analysis and control of intelligent telecommunication systems and their integration into the emerging ubiquitous networks. His current interests include the modelling, optimization, performance evaluation, and implementation of RFID, sensor/actuator networks as well as next generation IP/optical networks. Besides his strong involvement in research at the academic and industry levels, Prof Bagula is currently involved in training, innovation and technology observation activities in developing countries.