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Is Cisco’s Path to Networked Lighting Via 6LoWPAN?

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A wireless standard called 6LoWPAN is looking like a dark horse for helping wirelessly connect devices — from lightbulbs, to appliances — in the smart energy home. Chip maker NXP is using the low power standard for its wireless light bulb chip, and Cisco bet on 6LoWPAN when it acquired wireless networking company Arch Rock.

In Jeff’s column on GigaOM Pro this week (subscription required), he looks into the benefits of using 6LoWPAN for an end-to-end smart grid network, from home energy devices to a wider neighborhood smart meter management system. In fact, if NXP and Cisco started working on integrating somehow, 6LoWPAN would take an important step forward, effectively competing with home wireless leader WiFi and the utility-leading home wireless standard ZigBee.

Whatever the dominant home energy wireless standard is, the important piece will be creating an ecosystem for innovations, applications and end devices to emerge. That’s why Google is working on an open source wireless mesh standard with partner Lighting Science Group, and NXP is open sourcing the software that will run over its chips and across 6LoWPAN. The future of lighting and home devices is networked, and digital — why fight it?

To read the rest of Jeff’s column check out GigaOM Pro.

4 Responses to “Is Cisco’s Path to Networked Lighting Via 6LoWPAN?”

  1. Jon Smirl

    Cisco employees are running the 6lowpan standardization effort. Zigbee Smart Energy 2.0 is based on top of 6lowpan.

    6lowpan is not a dark horse, it is the spec describing how to get TCP/IP working over low power networks. I have lights on my desk right now that you can use a web browser to turn off/on. The tcp/ip from the browser goes direct over 6lowpan to the light. There is is no gateway in the middle translating from TCP/IP to proprietary Zigbee 1.0.

    How long until we see Cisco wireless routers with 802.15.4 chips running 6lowpan?

    • No gateway translating to zigbee? LOL… Apparently your definition of gateway excludes the necessary translation from wifi or ethernet to SEP2 6lo 15.4.

      • Jon Smirl

        Zigbee needs a layer 5 application level gateway. 6lowpan uses layer 3 routing. 6lowpan devices can have globally accessible IPv6 addresses. Accessing devices via tcp/ip is standardized.

        Obviously you need some hardware to do this. But in one case it is a gateway and the other it is a router.

      • Jon Smirl

        Zigbee 1.0 needs a gateway. 6lowpan needs a router. They both need hardware. Gateway vs router makes a lot of difference when programming.