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Do Linear's Dust Networks Matter in IoT?

6LowPAN to include Time Slotted Channel Hopping
5/5/2014 01:33 PM EDT
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krisi
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ahead of the time
krisi   5/5/2014 6:12:49 PM
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Smart Dust vision was ahead of the time...it will happen in 10 years ;-)...evolution of the start-company from a futuristic vision to a concerete application specific use in current industries makes a lot of sense

junko.yoshida
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Re: ahead of the time
junko.yoshida   5/5/2014 6:17:40 PM
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@kris, yes, it WAS ahead of the time 10 years ago; but I think the IoT has caught up with it. My particular concern was if the IoT might have bypassed Dust, but apparently, that doesn't seem to be the case, judging from my conversation with Joy Weiss.

krisi
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Re: ahead of the time
krisi   5/5/2014 6:30:55 PM
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By reading your interview I think they are ahead of the game...in fact it is a rare example of real business...most of the rest like my fridge talking to me about refiling beer is just hype...Kris

junko.yoshida
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Re: ahead of the time
junko.yoshida   5/5/2014 6:32:35 PM
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Ha ha, indeed, although I wouldn't mind my fridge refilling beer!

TonyTib
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Re: ahead of the time
TonyTib   5/5/2014 7:06:20 PM
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But what if your fridge re-orders the wrong type of beer?

krisi
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Re: ahead of the time
krisi   5/5/2014 9:02:58 PM
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You just tell the fridge to re-order the right beer...and have no TV privelages for a week...and threaten to replace with more reliable model if it continues to mis-behave!

Jonas Berge
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Re: ahead of the time
Jonas Berge   5/6/2014 5:47:44 AM
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In my personal oppinion a "thing" doesn't have to have an IP address to be part of the IoT. RFID is also IoT  - its origin. See Wikipedia. What they do need is a unique identifier. The sensor needs some kind of secure connection through the Internet so it can be accessed remotely. So you can have sensors on Dust in your friedge at home, or WirelessHART in your plant, or on CAN bus in your car, with a connection to a box that has an IP address and is connected to the Internet. This way these sensors can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Preferably through a VPN connection - so you get an IntRAnet of Things. At least in plants this is already happening today. Control valves on offshore platorms are being diagnosed for failures by experts sitting in a cosy office onshore.

chanj0
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Re: ahead of the time
chanj0   5/7/2014 1:05:45 PM
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I agree. I believe when people are talking about IoT, they assume all devices are IP connected one way or the other. The device could have an IP address that will accept API for various features, e.g. data polling. Or an IP address resides in the gateway node that will be responsible to interface with all the sensor devices the gateway node is responsible of. There are pros and cons of either approach. IP enabled devices will create overhead in data transmission over wireless interface. An IPV4 address is already 4 octets. With both source and destination addresses, the IP header will likely longer than the load the packet is carrying. Longer packet means longer transmission time. Longer transmission time equates to higher power consumption. 

The latter approach will introduce single point of failure. Once gateway node is dead, all sensors are "lost".

 

Jonas Berge
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Re: ahead of the time
Jonas Berge   5/7/2014 8:05:14 PM
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Gateway from the sensor network to the IP-network and the Internet/Intranet can be redundant in critical applications. It is already available for WirelessHART today. However, most applications related to IoT are not process critical - it doesn't matter is the measurement is missing for a few hours or even a few days - because it is monitoring, not closed loop control. Often it is monitoring related to reliability/maintenance, energy efficiency, and so on. Therefore redundancy is rarely used even though it is available.

Dick Caro
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Re: ahead of the time
Dick Caro   5/10/2014 4:52:47 PM
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A few details are left to the reader to understand. If you look at the 6LowPAN standard, you will see that it implements IPv6, but using a highly compressed header suitable for a limited size local area, or in this case, personal area network. It does this by circulating only the low order 16-bits of the entire 128-bit IP address. This makes room for up to 127 devices on a 6LowPAN segment. The Network Manager supplies the remaining bits of the IPv6 address. Since all traffic must be filtered via the Network Manaager, every device is IP addressable.

While Dust developed the protocol for Timed Sequence Channel Hopping that was used by ISA100 Wireless (ANSI/ISA 100.11a, IEC 62734) and WirelessHART (IEC 62591) it was also adopted into the IEEE 802.15.4 base standard by task group E in 2012. Dust has been selling IEEE 802.15.4e chips for several years. 

Also not discussed is the expression "channel hopping." IEEE 802.15.4 devides the 2.4 GHz spectrum into 16 non-overlapping channels. This is the same spectrum that IEEE 802.11 (WiFi) divides into as many as 13 channels, but there may only be 3 non-overlapping channels. In IEEE 802.15.4e, as developed by Dust the transmission radio frequencies move sequentially through a list of channels in the order prescribed by a channel hopping table known at all nodes. The value of channel hopping in this pseudorandom order is to eliminate reflections causing multipath signal cancellation that is a major cause of signal loss in low powered radio in heavy industry with it canyons of steel building and pressure vessels. Relections at one channel are usually different at a different frequency. Since repeated signals will always be on a different channel, multipath loss becomes irrelevant in 6TiSCH.

To your last question about reliability: both ISA100 Wireless and WirelessHART specify mesh networks with inherent redundancy. Both also allow both a primary and backup Gateway device to remove any possibility of single points of failure. Not only that, but both networks also respond to Publish/Subscribe protocols to eliminate constant frequency polling when the host device has the ability to subscribe to data.

boblespam
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licensing
boblespam   5/6/2014 2:23:13 AM
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Apparently you need to buy a license to build-up a Dust network, and also a WirelessHart certification. It looks complicated.

Do we have an idea of the max distance beetween two nodes ?

Kris Pister
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Re: licensing
Kris Pister   5/7/2014 11:24:10 AM
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No license required, and very simple.  Buy an IP network, deploy it, look at your data live on the internet via browser, cell phone, data analytics software, whatever.

(Or read the IEEE and IETF standards and build your own implementation, no license required)

Integration is easy - analog or serial inputs go straight to cloud databases.

Kris Pister
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range (Re: licensing)
Kris Pister   5/7/2014 11:27:44 AM
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Range depends on antenna type and elevation.  With simple antennas you can get more than a kilometer per hop if you have line of sight and are a couple of meters off of the ground.  If you bury them in the ground (e.g. for parking monitoring), then you're lucky to get 10 meters.  "Average" deployments in buildings and industrial environments get many tens to hundreds of meters per hop.

krisi
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Re: range (Re: licensing)
krisi   5/7/2014 11:41:19 AM
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Kirs, what happens with 1km range installation when line of site gets blocked?

Kris Pister
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Re: range (Re: licensing)
Kris Pister   5/7/2014 12:38:29 PM
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This is where mesh networking is critical.  The network continuously monitors all of the available RF paths.  When long range links are available, they are used to minimize latency and power consumption.  When the packet delivery ratio changes on an RF link, network management will reschedule traffic on other paths.

If the *only* link to a node is over a single RF link (long or short), this will be identified by network management as a potential point of future failure.  Then it's up to the application/installer/owner to add additional routing infrastructure.

rick merritt
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Zigbee vs 6LoWPAN
rick merritt   5/7/2014 10:58:57 AM
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I did not realize that for large installations Zigbee requires repeaters that cannot be pratically run on batteries. Is this true Zigbee-ites?

krisi
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Re: Zigbee vs 6LoWPAN
krisi   5/7/2014 11:08:27 AM
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What is so special about ZigBee repeaters that requires to have them batteries? Data in, data out, nothing else to do...Kris

Kris Pister
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Re: Zigbee vs 6LoWPAN
Kris Pister   5/7/2014 11:36:39 AM
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To date, Zigbee has not time synchronized their networks.  Battery operated end nodes wake up whenever they like to send a message.  A router node needs to leave its radio receiver on all of the time because it never knows when that message will arrive.  Typical receivers burn around 20mA (Dust's is about 5mA).

You need a really big battery to pull 20mA for a decade.

If you're time synchronized, then the routing node knows exactly when to wake up to receive an incoming packet.  It can wake up ten times per second and still run at under 1% duty cycle, meaning that your average current consumption is in the tens of microAmps, not mA.  That lets you run the entire network, even the routers, on inexpensive lithium batteries for a decade or more.

We've been working in the IETF and IEEE on the standards that will enable Zigbee to adopt this kind of low power networking for IP.

krisi
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Re: Zigbee vs 6LoWPAN
krisi   5/7/2014 11:39:45 AM
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thank you Kris for explaining the sunchronization issue...Kris

ewertz
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Re: Zigbee vs 6LoWPAN
ewertz   5/10/2014 4:17:46 PM
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To date, Zigbee has not time synchronized their networks.  Battery operated end nodes wake up whenever they like to send a message.  A router node needs to leave its radio receiver on all of the time because it never knows when that message will arrive.  Typical receivers burn around 20mA (Dust's is about 5mA).

Then what are Zigbee beaconed networks all about?  Unless you're defining "time synchronized network" in some unique Dustian way, I believe that Zigbee has had provisions like this for years -- both synchronization and guaranteed time slots.

Your statement strikes me as somewhat FUDtastic.  Please feel free to elaborate.

 

Kris Pister
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Re: Zigbee vs 6LoWPAN
Kris Pister   5/12/2014 2:08:26 PM
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ewertz - 

I certainly wasn't trying to be FUDtastic.  Certainly 15.4 supports beacons, and some (all?) versions of the various Zigbee standards support beacons.  I've just never heard of anyone using Zigbee beacon mode in an interoperable product.  Googling "zigbee beacon mode" gets you a handful of academic papers, a lot of user forum posts asking why beaconing doesn't seem to work, and several chip vendors stating that their stack does not support beacon mode.

Maybe it works great, but I've never seen it used.  

As Rick Merritt asked: "Is this true Zigbee-ites?"

chanj0
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Maximum Data Rate
chanj0   5/7/2014 12:57:37 PM
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What's the maximum data rate it can potentially support?

BrainiacVI
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SmartDust
BrainiacVI   5/7/2014 1:35:51 PM
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As I recall, the initial idea of SmartDust was to create a battlefield network.

In the same manner that the Internet was designed to take damage and still let the information hrough, was the idea for the SmartDust to allow battlefield communications.

I recall reading about it and "smart" artillary shells that would pick their own target at apogee (provided the electronics can survive the launch) back in the mid 80's when I had somehow gotten on a defense design magazine mailing list.

markhahn0
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firmware
markhahn0   5/10/2014 1:33:02 AM
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It's attractive to make our Things pretty smart about networking - time-synchronized, mesh-based, encrypted, etc.  The problem is that these features involve quite a bit of firmware.  More capability means more need to update firmware.  How can the consumer feel comfortable with smarter, more networked devices?

psabadin
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Re: Zigbee vs 6LoWPAN (vs WirelessHart vs MiWi)
psabadin   5/13/2014 10:58:32 PM
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Indeed there is little to no info or implementation of super-low-power Zigbee beacon networks to be found. I have looked very hard. So the momentum is with Time-slotted Channel hopping as discussed.

Also agree with Jonas Berde that IoT/IoE will very possibly only use 6LoWPAN at the netework edge at one (or more for said redundancy) gateways and the rest of the WPAN may be another protocol running on truly very inexpensive hardware or other implementations/standards.


Nonetheless, I believe chip/module/firmware vendors (talkin' ta you, Kris/Linear) and standards authors would do best to make it as easy as possible for developers to get their heads and their keyboards around else it will go the way of the Do-Do bird and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol ... which, as they say is neither simple nor object oriented). The physics of these ephemeral networks alone makes them difficult to develop with. BTW, kudos on the TSMP whitepaper, and thanks.


Case in point: I contacted Linear/Dust trying to get application help on when one might use (in today's world) Smartmesh IP vs Smartmesh WirelessHART. It fell on deaf ears (never answered) so I am successfully using another vendor's micro-chip (ehem) hardware to get my prototypes going with an ad hoc protocol and ultra-low power.

Finally, my perspective is that the cost of node HW will have to come down a half order of magnatude or so to make the standard and technology gain the momentum of ubiquity. Guess Moore's law might take care of that. But frankly, there will be stiff HW competition out there.

 

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