When IoT meets IPv6

By on 18 Dec 2014

Category: Tech matters

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is a promising and rapidly developing technology area. Many global IT companies have announced their IoT business plans. IoT has become a powerful force affecting the wide variety of industries, and has been applied in smart home, manufacturing, and transportation.

From wireless access perspective, 802.15.4, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G/4G are normally used as the physical layer and link layer solutions for IoT. When it comes to the network layer, let’s look into how IPv6 could be applied.

  • Wi-Fi and 3G/4G networks, designed towards IP connectivity, have already supported IPv6.
  • IETF released 6LoWPAN to support transmission of IPv6 packets over IEEE 802.15.4 Networks.
  • Bluetooth, the Bluetooth SIG has just officially announced the new Bluetooth 4.2 specification this month, which allows Bluetooth smart sensors to access the Internet directly via IPv6/6LoWPAN.
  • Zigbee IP, brings IPv6 network protocols to IEEE 802.15.4 wireless mesh networks. ZigBee IP enables low-power devices to participate natively with other IPv6 enabled Ethernet, Wi-Fi and, HomePlug devices without the need for intermediate gateways.
  • Thread, a new wireless networking protocol for the Home, was introduced by Google, Samsung Electronics, Yale Security, Silicon Labs, etc. in early July 2014. Thread also adopts IPv6 and 6LoWPAN with additional enhancements to create simple, low-power mesh network for the smart home and its connected devices.

We’re seeing a trend that more physical layer and link layer protocols which can be widely used in IoT begin to embrace IPv6. With the rapid development of IoT, if IPv6/6Lowpan are rapidly developed and applied, the large amount of terminal devices may require enormous number of IPv6 addresses. So we need to keep a close eye on the market for the new business trend, as well as on the tech organizations or groups for the new technologies and platforms.

Jessica Shen is the IP Operations Management Manager at CNNIC.

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