Internet of Things Starter Kit Connects Devices Over IPv6

October 25, 2013 | 00:14
Internet of Things Starter Kit Connects Devices Over IPv6
Internet of Things Starter Kit Connects Devices Over IPv6
IBM teamed up with M2M hardware provider Libelium to create a development platform for wireless sensor networks. The open source kit uses the 6LoWPAN protocol to connect every single node directly to the Internet over IPv6.

The Internet of Things -a vision of trillions of devices and sensors connected to the Internet collecting and processing data about the world around us- has been a promise on the horizon for quite some time now. But there are still many obstacles to overcome before we can enjoy (or detest) a planet-wide roll-out. Amongst them are standardization and platform integration.

With the Waspmote Mote Runner Developer Kit presented last Monday, IBM and Libelium hope to contribute to resolving these problems. Integrating Libelium's Waspmote wireless sensor platform with IBM's Mote Runner software, the kit provides developers with an open source toolbox to test IPv6 enabled sensor networks and build applications on top.

In the box are five nodes with sensors and sixth gateway node with an Ethernet connection. The nodes create a mesh network using 6LoWPAN (IPv6 over Low-power Wireless Personal Area Network). Each node has its own IP address and communicates to the gateway directly. The gateway sends the data to servers on the Internet. For now there is a computer between the gateway and the server to take care of IPv4/IPv6 tunneling but Libelium intends to integrate these two functions in one device in the future.

IBM's Mote Runner is a run-time platform and development environment for wireless sensor networks. Developers can build applications for the sensor network in Java and C#. It includes source code of the 6LoWPAN libraries for modification and improvement.

The 6LoWPAN protocol enables devices with limited processing power to use IPv6 over low-power wireless networks, specifically IEEE 802.15.4. It was proposed in 2004 by the Internet Engineering Task Force and specifically designed with the IoT in mind. IBM and Libelium clearly want to promote the open standard. The starter kit only supports 6LoWPAN radio, even though Libelium also independently offers Waspmote with eight radio technologies like WiFi, Bluetooth and Zigbee. David Gascón, CTO at Libelium, said: 'This platform is a powerful tool for improving and testing 6LoWPAN capabilities in the context of wireless sensor networks and the Internet of Things.'

Spanish Libelium specializes open source, modular M2M hardware. David Gascón strongly believes that the power of open source will drive the IoT. For the deployment of trillions of networked devices to be realized companies will have to embrace open standards and platform interoperability. The silo-approach won't get us there. Data too can be open. Instead of storing the data of, say, traffic flow sensors in proprietary databases, use HTTP and make it available on the web. And the IoT isn't solely a business for companies either. People should get involved too with their own sensors, smartphones, Arduinos and Raspberry Pis.

Image: Libelium

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