Uniting IoT Networks

By Daeyoung Kim, Seong Hoon Kim and Minkeun Ha

Integrating EPC and IPv6 wireless standards will enable the Internet of Things.


Researchers worldwide are working to address the many technical challenges that must be overcome to realize the Internet of Things (IoT), a network of networks that promises to connect everything and everyone everywhere to everything and everyone else. At the Auto-ID Lab at KAIST, in Korea, we are developing wireless sensor network (WSN) technologies, based on a verified standard protocol.

We launched a network platform project called Sensor Networks for an All-IP worLd (SNAIL) based on an open-standard Internet Protocol (IP). The IP-WSN enables smart things to seamlessly communicate with other smart things and with the IoT infrastructure. We plan to turn our SNAIL platform into an open-source project, probably by next year.

Daeyoung Kim, Seong Hoon Kim and Minkeun Ha

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), an international standards organization, is developing new IP-WSN protocol standards in three working groups, so we designed the SNAIL platform to be fully compatible with these standards. The IETF standards are: IPv6 Over Low Power Wireless Personal Area Networks, to enable small devices with limited processing capabilities to connect to the IoT; IPv6 Routing Protocol for Low Power and Lossy Networks, to support routing of traffic flows between devices; and Constrained Application Protocol, to allow simple electronics devices to communicate interactively over the IoT.

Another project we are working on is the development of Electronic Product Code sensor networks (EPCSN). By embedding an EPC identifier in each sensor node, we can integrate SNAIL and ZigBee networks with the current EPC network standards. This way, sensor networks can take advantage of the global infrastructure provided by EPC networks. That is, sensor data published locally in a certain area can be discovered, shared and accessed across the Internet by leveraging EPC Information Services (EPCIS), Object Name Service (ONS) and Discovery Services defined in EPC networks. Also, EPCSN can benefit from the low-cost, low-power features of WSNs.

This year, we demonstrated SNAIL and EPCSN at EU IoT-week in Italy and the IoT conference in China, and both have been adopted and integrated with the IoT6, a European research project about the future of the Internet of Things. We believe SNAIL and EPCSN will pave the way for the longstanding vision of the IoT to rendezvous with real-world adoption in the foreseeable future.

Daeyoung Kim is research director of the Auto-ID Lab at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Seong Hoon Kim and Minkeun Ha are associate directors at the lab.