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Study of multipoint-to-point and broadcast traffic performance in the “IPv6 Routing Protocol for Low Power and Lossy Networks”


Recent trends in Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) have suggested converging to such being IPv6-based. To this effect, the Internet Engineering Task Force has chartered a Working Group to develop a routing protocol specification, enabling IPv6-based multi-hop Wireless Sensor Networks. This routing protocol, denoted “IPv6 Routing Protocol for Low Power and Lossy Networks” (RPL), has been under development for approximately a year, and this paper takes a critical look at the state of advancement hereof: it provides a brief algorithmic description of the protocol, and discusses areas where—in the authors view—further efforts are required in order for the protocol to become a viable candidate for general use in WSNs. Among these areas is the lack of a proper broadcast mechanism. This paper suggests several such broadcast mechanisms, all aiming at (1) exploiting the existing routing state of RPL, while (2) requiring no additional state maintenance, and studies the performance of RPL and of these suggested mechanisms.

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  1. Note that while this may be commonly assumed, this is not a universal distribution of traffic patterns in WSNs—there are scenarios in which sensor-router to sensor-router traffic is assumed a more common occurrence, such as Martocci et al. (2010).

  2. Actually, even worse: in order to prevent “looping” packets, state would have to be maintained in each sensor router, ensuring that each such packet would be retransmitted no more than once.

  3. Such is the case for some implementations of IEEE 802.11b. IEEE 802.11b is, of course, not suggested as a viable radio interface for WSNs, but serves to illustrate that such asymmetric designs exist.


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Correspondence to Ulrich Herberg.

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Herberg, U., Clausen, T. Study of multipoint-to-point and broadcast traffic performance in the “IPv6 Routing Protocol for Low Power and Lossy Networks”. J Ambient Intell Human Comput 2, 293–305 (2011).

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  • Wireless Sensor Network
  • Delivery Ratio
  • Control Traffic
  • Collision Ratio
  • Prefer Parent