IoT Standards reference

A quick guide for IoT standards, protocols, governing bodies and use cases. This is not all encompassing but a way of putting together resources that I have gathered in my quest to gain knowledge of the ever expanding and complex maze of standards, stacks and protocols

Internet of Things

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. IoT is closely associated with machine-to-machine (M2M) communication in manufacturing and power, oil and gas utilities. Products built with M2M communication capabilities are ‘smart’ and can sense, report and make decisions based on set rules.

IoT + Cloud + Big Data

Wireless Standards (or last mile connectivity between sensors and aggregators)

  • BLE – Bluetooth Low Energy
  • 6lowPAN
  • ZigBee
  • ANT+
  • Z-Wave
  • EnOcean

BLE – Blue tooth Low Energy:

Bluetooth low energy wireless technology is an open low energy, short-range radio technology.

Some Key Benefits:

  • Low power consumption
  • Connectivity to mobile phones
  • Small size and Low cost
  • Robust, efficient
  • Multi-vendor interoperability
  • Globally availability, license free

BLE is a connectionless, always OFF technology, with small silicon footprint and thereby very low cost having a robust through frequency hopping compared to other wireless technologies. Security is through 128-bit AES encryption and can be for low power consumption with no competitors (Bluetooth is already in phones).

Bluetooth – classic, smart ready & BLE


BLE - Classic, Smart Ready and Smart(BLE)

Bluetooth – Classic, Smart Ready and Smart(BLE)

Connections involve two separate roles – Central (master):  Repeatedly scans the preset frequencies for connectable advertising packets and, when suitable, initiates a connection. Once the connection is established, the central manages the timing and initiates the periodical data exchanges. Peripheral (slave): A device that sends connectable advertising packets periodically and accepts incoming connections. Once in an active connection, the peripheral follows the central’s timing and exchanges data regularly with it.

Protocols versus Profiles –  From its inception, the Bluetooth specification introduced a clear separation between the distinct concepts of protocols and profiles: Protocols: Building blocks used by all devices conform to the Bluetooth specification, protocols are the layers that implement the different packet formats, routing, multiplexing, encoding, and decoding that allow data to be sent effectively between peers. Profiles: “Vertical slices” of functionality covering either basic modes of operation required by all devices (Generic Access Profile, Generic Attribute Profile) or specific use cases (Proximity Profile, Glucose Profile), profiles essentially define how protocols should be used to achieve a particular goal, whether generic or specific.

BLE - Details

BLE – Mixed Topology

BLE can send data from anything to the Internet like,

  • I’ve walked 10,000 steps today
  • The steak has been grilled to perfection
  • My mother is calling
  • The toilet has been flushed 6 times
  • My dog is outside in the backyard.

References: Bluetooth Standards –; CSR Mesh:

6lowPAN (IPv6 over Low power WPAN)

The 6LoWPAN concept originated from the idea that “the Internet Protocol could and should be applied even to the smallest devices”, and that low-power devices with limited processing capabilities should be able to participate in the Internet of Things.

6lowPAN for IoT

6lowPAN for IoT


6lowPAN ==> Low-power RF + IPv6 = The Wireless Embedded Internet or IP on IEEE 802.15.4

The benefits of 6LoWPAN include:

  • Open, long-lived, reliable standards
  • Easy learning-curve
  • Transparent Internet integration
  • Network maintainability
  • Global scalability
  • End-to-end data flows

The IETF 6LoWPAN working group was officially started in 2005, although the history of embedded IP goes back farther. Throughout the 1990s it was assumed that Moore’s law would advance computing and communication capabilities so rapidly that soon any embedded device could implement IP protocols.

The first 6LoWPAN specifications were released in 2007, first with an informational RFC [RFC4919] specifying the underlying requirements and goals of the initial standardization, and then with a standard track RFC [RFC4944] specifying the 6LoWPAN format and functionality. Through experience with implementations and deployments, the 6LoWPAN working group continued with improvements to header compression [ID-6lowpan-hc], 6LoWPAN Neighbor Discovery [ID-6lowpan-nd], use cases [ID-6lowpan-uc] and routing requirements [ID-6lowpan-rr]. In 2008 a new IETF working group was formed, Routing over Low-power and Lossy Networks  (ROLL)[ROLL]. This working group specifies routing requirements and solutions for low-power, wireless, unreliable networks.

Sample 6lowPAN system

Sample 6lowPAN system

A 6LoWPAN system contains one or more WPANs (Wireless Personal Area Networks) connected to the Internet via a wired bus such as an Ethernet or wired IP
bus . This allows the WPAN(s) to be monitored and controlled remotely over the Internet. Multiple WPANs to communicate with each other via wired IP connections (thus, a node in one WPAN can send a message to a node in another WPAN).

The main components of a 6LoWPAN system, as above, are as follows:

Wireless Cluster: A WPAN (which may be one of many in the system).
Wired Bus: A bus (e.g. Ethernet) to which the wireless clusters are connected.
Border-Router (Wired-Wireless Router): A device used to connect a wireless cluster to the wired bus.
Host: A device, such as a PC or workstation, with an IP connection to the system. For example, this may be:
– A Remote Access Terminal used to access the 6LoWPAN system remotely via the Internet.
– A Data Management Centre on the wired bus, used to configure and interrogate the 6LoWPAN system, and to act as a web server for access to the system from the Internet.

Wireless Cluster:

A WPAN in a 6LoWPAN system is referred to as a ‘cluster’. A 6LoWPAN system may contain multiple clusters, where each cluster is an autonomous wireless network. As a WPAN, each cluster contains a single Co-ordinator node and a number of other nodes (End Devices and/or Routers). For a 6LoWPAN wireless
cluster, the Co-ordinator is incorporated in the Border-Router device. The clusters of a 6LoWPAN system may have distinct pre-set PAN IDs and Network Application IDs, or may share common network identifiers.

Messages are sent between the wireless network nodes of a 6LoWPAN system as IPv6 packets which are compressed and embedded in IEEE 802.15.4 frames. The
delivery of a message uses the destination IPv6 address from the embedded IPv6 packet (irrespective of whether the destination node is inside or outside the cluster of the source node).

Wired Bus:

The wired bus in a 6LoWPAN system connects together the wireless clusters of the system. It is typically an Ethernet bus. The bus allows the clusters to communicate with each other (send a message from a node in one cluster to another node in a different cluster) by means of IPv6 packets and also provides a connection to the Internet.

Border-Router (Wired-Wireless Router):

The Border-Router is a device used to connect a wireless cluster to the wired bus, where each cluster has its own Border-Router. It is also sometimes referred to as an Edge-Router. The Border-Router is usually incorporated in the same device as the network Co-ordinator.

Within a wireless cluster, messages are transported as IEEE 802.15.4 frames with compressed IPv6 packets embedded in their payloads. However, on the wired bus they are transported as uncompressed IPv6 packets encapsulated in the wired bus frames (e.g. Ethernet). The Border-Router must therefore:

Take an IEEE 802.15.4 frame from its wireless cluster, extract the compressed IPv6 packet from the frame payload, uncompress the packet and insert it into a
frame for transportation on the wired bus.

Take an encapsulated IPv6 packet from the wired bus, extract the packet from the frame, compress the packet and then insert it into the payload of an IEEE
802.15.4 frame for transportation within the wireless cluster.

To receive messages destined for its own wireless cluster, a Border-Router must ‘listen’ on the wired bus for messages addressed to members of its cluster – for this,
the Border-Router must analyze the destination IPv6 address in each IPv6 packet broadcasted on the wired bus.


The IP hosts that are part of a 6LoWPAN system are normally PCs or workstations connected to the system via the wired bus or the Internet.

Remote Access Terminal:
A Remote Access Terminal is used to access the 6LoWPAN system remotely via the Internet. As such, it is not strictly part of the 6LoWPAN system.
Although this device can be a standard PC/workstation, it must be equipped with specific software for 6LoWPAN system monitoring and control. Interaction between this device and the 6LoWPAN system is through the Data Management Centre.
Data Management Centre(DMC):
The Data Management Centre is a device used to configure and interrogate the 6LoWPAN system, and to act as a web server for remote access to the system over
the Internet. It may be a PC/workstation or a dedicated device connected to the wired bus (for a single-cluster system, it may be possible to accommodate this functionality in the same device as the Border-Router).

The specific roles of the device are as follows:
The Data Management Centre provides a web server for interactions with a Remote Access Terminal (described above) over the Internet. The Data Management Centre handles requests from the remote device for status information on the system components and for configuration changes to the system components.
On the remote device, this interaction is performed through web applications, so the Data Management Centre must be able to generate web-based output to be displayed on the remote device and accept web-based input from the device.

The Data Management Centre must interact with individual nodes within the system clusters, in order to deal with configuration and monitoring requests
from a remote device.Since a 6LoWPAN system uses IPv6 packets and the Internet still uses IPv4 packets, any communication between the 6LoWPAN system and a remote device across the Internet must be translated from one IP version to the other, which the DMC takes care of.

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