IPv6 over Low Power Wide-Area Networks
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A new generation of wireless technologies has emerged under the generic
name of Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA), with a number of common characteristics,
which make these technologies unique and disruptive for Internet of Things
Those common traits include an optimized radio modulation, a star topology,
frame sizes in the order of tens of bytes transmitted a few times per day at
ultra-low speeds and sometimes variable MTUs, and, though downstream may be
supported, a mostly upstream transmission pattern that allows the devices to
spend most of their time in low-energy deep-sleep mode.
This enables a range of several kilometers and a long battery lifetime, possibly
ten years operating on a single coin-cell. This also enables simple and scalable
deployments with low-cost devices and thin infrastructures.
Those benefits come at a price: the layer 2 frame formats are optimized and
specific to each individual technology. There is no network layer and the
application is often hard wired to the layer 2 frame format, leading to siloed
deployments that must be managed, secured and operated individually. Migrating
from one LPWA technology to another implies rebuilding the whole chain.
To unleash the full power of LPWA technologies and their ecosystems, there is a
need to couple them with other ecosystems that will guarantee the inter-working
by introducing a network layer, and enable common components for management and
security, as well as shared application profiles. The IETF can contribute by
providing IPv6 connectivity, and propose technologies to secure the operations
and manage the devices and their gateways.
The Working Group will focus on enabling IPv6 connectivity over the following
selection of Low-Power Wide-Area technologies: SIGFOX, LoRa, WI-SUN and NB-IOT.
These technologies present similar characteristics of rare and widely unbalanced
over-the-air transmissions, with little capability to alter the frame formats to
accommodate this work, which makes it so that existing IETF work (6lo) cannot be
The Working Group will leverage cross-participation with the associated set of
stakeholders to ensure that the work taking place corresponds to real demands
and that the proposed solutions are indeed applicable.
The group will produce informational work describing LPWA
technologies and their needs as well as new standard work to optimize
IPv6-based communications to the end device
The group will:
1. Produce an Informational document describing and relating some selected LPWA
technologies. This work will document the common characteristics and highlight
actual needs that the IETF could serve; but it is not intended to provide a
competitive analysis. It is expected that the information contained therein
originates from and is reviewed by people who work on the respective LPWA
2. Produce a Standards Track document to enable the compression and
fragmentation of a CoAP/UDP/IPv6 packet over LPWA networks. This will be
achieved through stateful mechanisms, specifically designed for star topology
and severely constrained links. The work will include the definition of generic
data models to describe the compression and fragmentation contexts. This work
may also include to define technology-specific adaptations of the generic
compression/fragmentation mechanism wherever necessary.