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Interconnecting ZigBee and 6LoWPAN wireless sensor networks for smart grid applications

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3 Author(s)
Chia-Wen Lu ; Dept. of Comput. Sci. & Inf. Eng., Nat. Chi Nan Univ., Puli, Taiwan ; Shu-Cheng Li ; Quincy Wu

Although the ZigBee communication protocol is popularly adopted in wireless sensor networks (WSNs), it is rather immature compared with Internet Protocol (IP) which has been developed over the past 40 years. ZigBee networks can not directly communicate with current Internet. It always needs a gateway to collect required data from a ZigBee network and to convert the ZigBee protocol to IP. Moreover, it scales poorly on routing and network management. On the contrary, Internet Protocol, especially the new Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), is a more promising alternative as scalability is concerned. If a wireless sensor network is developed based on the IP protocol, it does not need an application-layer translator which is mandatory for ZigBee networks. This can greatly save developing time and improve the efficiency for end-to-end communications. Many existing IP-based services can thus be re-used to monitor WSNs status in real time. From a perspective on network management service, this paper compares the advantages and disadvantages of ZigBee and IP. Since ZigBee is only appropriate for small-scale networks and suffers from the scope expansion of a sensor network, our suggestion is that future deployment of wireless sensor network devices should be IP-based, so that they can be easily managed remotely. To allow legacy ZigBee networks to coexist with IP networks, translators may be required during this migration phase.

Published in:

Sensing Technology (ICST), 2011 Fifth International Conference on

Date of Conference:

Nov. 28 2011-Dec. 1 2011