Monday, December 14, 2009

6LowApp BOF at IETF 76, Hiroshima by Barry Leiba

6lowapp — Application Protocols for Low-power V6 Networks BOF
The 6lowapp BOF aimed to look at protocol issues for low-power V6 applications, to identify potential work in that area. The organizers have a number of application domains in mind; the two that were particularly presented in the BOF are home and building automation (having, for example, every lamp in the building as a separately addressable/controllable device, in addition to dealing with HVAC, fire control, building security, etc.) and power-system management (smart meters, remote-controllable thermostats, etc.).

Some versions of much of this stuff is working now, in limited environments. The goal here is to generalize the solutions and standardize protocols to be used. The key is the initial scope of the work. The BOF presented two protocol ideas, based on REST (representational state transfer) concepts: one for “Constrained Application Protocol” (CoAP), and one for “Constrained-to-General- Internet Intermediates” (CoGII). Service discovery, device discovery, and system security are key points (and there was discussion of the difference between channel security (where (D)TLS may be used) and object security (where CMS may be used)).

Significant issues/questions:

Questions about how much of this fits into the IETF, and how much is already being done in industry consortia and other SDOs.
Concern about timeline, need for speedy development, normal IETF timeframes. Will the industry be willing to wait for IETF process? Counter: significant momentum behind this, might be able to move through the IETF quickly.
Concern that this be general, not just restricted to constrained environments/devices.
Concern about the CoGII portion, related to location of CoGII intermediary, interaction with REST, and other issues.

Consensus is to work on the CoAP side, but to drop CoGII. The group will move ahead with charter plans.

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