April 28, 2020
Network Installers

At Wittra, we want to give our customers a smart, flexible, secure, efficient, and future-proof solution to keep track of their things. That’s why we have based the Wittra IoT solution on open standards and low-power wireless networks based on 6LoWPAN. That clunky acronym stands for the latest version of the Internet Protocol (IPv6) and Low-power Wireless Personal Area Networks (LoWPAN).

6LoWPAN is a set of standards defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It creates and maintains all core internet standards and architecture work including HTTP (web), SMTP (email), TCP, UDP, and many others. The reason we are using 6LoWPAN is that it is a key technology for wireless embedded devices on the internet. It is also a revolutionizing networking technology. It allows data to be carried efficiently over radio links. This lets the smallest devices with limited processing ability transmit information wirelessly using an internet protocol. And it’s not just us, more and more companies are embracing 6LoWPAN as their standard for wireless communication.

Let us have a look at why 6LoWPAN is such a smart choice. We will also explore why using open standards is so important when it comes to building an IoT environment. Lastly, we will go into how you as our customer can benefit from all this.

Why we are using 6LoWPAN

There are always a lot of trends when it comes to technology. Some come and go, while others become standard. The trick to creating sustainable and successful technical solutions is to find out which is which. The reason why 6LoWPAN seems to be a trend turning into a standard is that decades of IP technology and wireless network development are coming together in a smart way here. This allows developers and users to connect more things to the cloud. It also allows for a more efficient and affordable way to collect and transmit data at IoT environments, and in the case of our customers – at job sites.

It’s important that the Wittra solution can reach anywhere. Additionally, that it lets you collect sensor and positioning data from your key assets for a more reliable operation and improved support and maintenance. IP-based technologies have existed for decades, are very well known, and have been proven to work and scale. That’s why we use 6LoWPAN.

The benefits of this protocol are stacking up:

It’s perfect for connecting things to the internet.

The low-power, IP-driven nodes and large mesh network support make this technology a great option for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. With 6LoWPAN it’s possible to connect more things to the cloud through low-power wireless sensors. This makes it easier for you to keep track of your valuable assets.

6LoWPAN works great with open IP standard, and it offers end-to-end IP addressable nodes.

IP-based devices can be connected easily to other IP networks without the need for translation gateways and proxies. There’s no need for a gateway, only a router that can connect the 6LoWPAN network to IP. It’s a simple out-of-the-box solution that’s quick and easy for you to deploy.

6LoWPAN is using a mesh network where the mesh routers can route data to other nodes in the network.

This makes it resilient, self-healing, and with a minimum of errors. This is lowering the maintenance needs for you as a user. It just works.

It’s energy efficient.

The LoW in 6LoWPAN stands for low power. The leaf nodes in the network can sleep for a long time, saving energy when they’re not in use. This also means less maintenance for you as a user. The only thing you need to care about is where your stuff is. This solution will tell you just that.

It’s secure.

IoT environments can be vulnerable to hackers, so security is very important. 6LoWPAN connected to the internet and 802.15.4 provides a variety of security suites. 6LoWPAN can use AES-128 link-layer security, which means that you get both authentication and encryption. It is also possible to implement digital signatures to improve your security further.

6LoWPAN operates equally well over both wireless and wired connections.

IP networks allow the use of existing network infrastructure. This makes things much easier for the customer when many different applications don’t have to use separate networks.

It allows for automation and using tools.

When you can automate data monitoring, analysis, predictive maintenance, and using tools for managing and diagnosing networks, you can save both time and money. In addition, your workplace becomes smarter, more sustainable, and productive.

You can create smart grids.

Smart grids enable your devices to use micro mesh networks. They can also use the IPv6 protocol to better optimize the systems and services. This will let you monitor, locate, and control your assets so you can work more efficiently.

To summarize, with 6LoWPAN it’s possible to connect more things to the cloud through low-power wireless sensors. This makes it much easier for you to digitize your industry and keep track of your valuable assets.

Why Wittra uses open standards

In order to make our solutions future-proof, we always keep our eyes on the horizon. This way we can keep track of new trends and developments. What we are seeing is that equipment and environments like trucks, storage facilities, factories, etc. are likely to use standardized networks that can support different types of sensors. We believe these networks will be based on open standards that make them useful not only for the sensors but also for after-market and 3rd party devices that require network access.

The reasons why we believe open standards are the way to the future are:

  • Open standards are specified in an open and free way, with standards processes and documents available to anyone. It encourages innovation, improvements, interoperability, and a better understanding by a wider audience.
  • With open standards, the developers don’t need to use specific technologies or rely on one single supplier.
  • Open standards mean fewer problems with integrations and leads to more efficient development. It also means that the developers can convert data from obsolete applications without trouble.
  • When developers aren’t forced into using systems from one vendor or the other, they get more creative freedom and use systems that actually match the needs of the application.
  • With standards that are open and accessible to everyone, it is much easier to port an application from one platform to another. This means that you spend less time on clunky integrations and more time on actually improving your applications.

In the end, using open standards is all about making our solution as future-proof as possible for our customers. With the combination of 6LoWPAN and open standards, we can give you a solution that works out-of-the-box, and that you never have to think about once it is up and running.

The future of 6LoWPAN

As we said in the beginning, more and more companies are using open standards and 6LoWPAN for their applications and solutions. And we believe its use is only going to grow and expand. With 6LoWPAN, devices all utilize the same Internet Protocol (IP) standard. This allows them to talk with each other with no interference issues, no matter if it is at home or on the factory floor. An interoperability that allows different sensors and end devices to be added, removed, or moved to a different location, making the network extremely flexible and scalable.

The 6LoWPAN protocol excels in many areas, but especially when there’s a requirement to integrate more devices in the future. As we see it, the communication part of our solution will most likely be supported by already deployed data networks. Wittra’s belief is that these standards will be based on the internet IPv6 protocol that 6LoWPAN is based on. Our mission has always been to deliver tomorrow’s solutions today, allowing you to work smarter, that’s why we are using 6LoWPAN.