NewsDiscover Acklio’s Library for IPv6 on LoRaWAN running on a Chic STM32WL

Discover Acklio’s Library for IPv6 on LoRaWAN running on a Chic STM32WL

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The Challenges Behind a Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN)

Why Does IoT Use Different Internet Technologies?

The Internet of Things takes its name from the network that revolutionized our world IoT does not always depend on the traditional Internet protocol. For instance, the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is used in a multitude of ways and by a variety of applications. But, it’s not an ideal solution for devices that have huge limitations on memory and computation. The are UDP solutions for microcontrollers however, developers do not use UDP in order to link to thousands of sensors. Therefore, developers choose protocols that use lesser memory or computational performance. However, these protocols do not always provide the possibilities that make the Internet useful like an IP for every device.

What is IPv6? LoRaWAN or SCHC?

To meet these challenges to overcome these challenges, LoRa Alliance has taken on these issues. LoRa Alliance recently launched IPv6 Over LoRaWAN. The name says it all it allows IoT products to acquire an IPv6 address in order to enable secure communications as well as enjoy the convenience of IP packets that are transmitted over the LoRa network. Also, IPv6 over LoRaWAN specifies the compression and fragmentation method known as SCHC (pronounced “chic”). Recently defined by the IETF it reduces payloads and headers as well as fragment messages if they exceed LoRaWAN’s MTU. SCHC operates by creating the context and framework that is a reflection of what the majority of packages would appear to be. Thus, the sender could leave out a significant amount of header data because it is reconstructed from the context of the receiver.

The Solutions to Improve Efficiency on LoRaWAN

How Does SCHC Compare?

The concept of compressing information on a network that has devices that are low-power is not new. But, it is possible to be wondering what the reason behind why this LoRa Alliance settled on SCHC. Researchers from the University of Ghent in Belgium released a study 1. in the year 2019 that addresses this issue. In the paper, the authors contrast SCHC with 6LoWPAN, which is a 6LoWPAN the compression as well as fragmentation mechanism , and conclude that SCHC requires “a lot less memory” and utilizes ” a more suitable compression and fragmentation mechanism for LPWAN devices in terms of header overhead, reliability, and total number of packets exchanged.”

Acklio’s Implementation on STM32

The problem for developers is implementing SCHC. The standard provides the fundamental specifications, but integrating in an app is a separate aspect completely. Thus, Acklio offers an SCHC Embedded Library operating on STM32 and also offers the capability of applying compression to DLMS/COSEM in Smart meters. Indeed, according to Smart Energy International, DLSM COSEM has been deemed an “most widely accepted International standard for utility meter data exchange.” In simple way, DLSM (Device Language Message Specification) defines the message as well as COSEM (COmpanion Specification for Energy Metering) specifies the details of it. It allows for interoperability among devices and creates an industry standard.

Acklio’s library designed for STM32 devices allows compression of IPv6/UDP headers as well as the DLMS wrapper to provide the possibility of reducing data by as much as 90%, and reduction of 75% for the actual packet. This means that smart meters must move less data. This decreases their usage of networks, and also reduces the amount of time it takes to be alert. It also improves the sustainability of the design. Reduced energy consumption and data usage will be a sign of less maintenance and a greater time span on the battery. To assist developers in getting started, Acklio provides a DLMS Gurux server with client applications, as well as examples of code. In addition making use of the STM32WL, which is the first MCU that has the embedded LoRa transceiver can cut down on the cost of materials and make designs simpler.

Michal Pukala
Electronics and Telecommunications engineer with Electro-energetics Master degree graduation. Lightning designer experienced engineer. Currently working in IT industry.