The next billion nodes on the Internet will not be PCs, laptops or “netbooks”: they will be embedded systems solving a large number of problems in industry, building management, utilities, energy management and home comfort. Many of these will use wireless connectivity, and many will be low-power.

The success stories of the Internet, or of technologies such as Ethernet or 802.11 WLAN(WiFi) show that one of the most important success factors for a networking technology is ease of integration. What needs to be done to make wireless embedded networks as easy to integrate as today’s Ethernet or WLAN products?

The 6LoWPAN concept of an edge router makes sure LoWPANs integrate easily with the majority of wired and wireless networks that will be used in future deployments. There is no need to change the edge router for each new application; the network is concerned with networking. So the integration problem can be considered solved at a packet transport level. However, this is not the whole story:

  • The processes for the setup and management of the networks have to work together. In particular, the security models have to fit, and the setup of a LoWPAN must not require the setup of a whole new world of security parameters and attributes. In general, it is a challenge to reconcile the requirements of security and usability.
  • LoWPAN Nodes (and edge routers) of different vendors have to integrate easily. The integration may not be completely “plug and play”, as most systems need ...

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