NXP Semiconductors has announced it will make the IEEE 802.15.4 based wireless connectivity network layer software it inherited from the acquisition of Jennic, JenNET-IP, open source, in a bid to generate greater interest in the 'Internet of Things' concept. It will create an open source consortium with a focused set of charter members to manage the protocol stack.
The 'internet of things' conceptually gives every electronic device in operation its own IP address, allowing it to be wirelessly addressed and controlled using the internet protocol based on IPv6.
The first open source release of JenNET-IP is scheduled for Q4 2011. The protocol is already available to customers using NXP's GreenChip smart lighting solution, and TCP - the largest CFL lighting manufacturer in North America - is using a combination of NXP silicon and JenNET-IP software in its smart lighting products. TCP's VP of Marketing, Jim Crowcraft, believes that making the protocol open source will extend this to include smart metering, white goods and home energy management.
However, as demand increases for smart energy management solutions, OEMs choosing the JenNET-IP protocol are likely to compete at some level with manufacturers and devices using the ZigBee Smart Energy protocol. Making JenNET-IP open source may be seen as necessary in order to make it viable in an increasingly competitive environment.
The protocol is an enhanced 6LoWPAN network layer targeting ultra low power networking based on IEEE 802.15.4 in the 2.4GHz ISM band. NXP has previously open-sourced its video/audio software, as well as its NFC stack for the Google Android platform, in a bid to accelerate industry adoption. NXP also intends to help establish a compatibility test lab.
This article originally appeared on EE Times Europe.