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Posted: 11:41:41 AM, 14/06/2011

Wireless sensor networks & the outlook for deterministic Internet

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Based on the latest studies, the wireless sensor networking chip market increased by 300% in 2010 and is doubling yet again this year. More important for embedded systems developers, wireless-enabled sensor spending grew by 80% in 2010. This increased interest in embedded wireless connectivity is also reflected in the 2011 Embedded Market Study.


But with great opportunities come great challenges. In Ron Wilson's recent column on wireless networks he pointed to the serious problem of wireless security, especially as more of these networks use or interface to the wider Internet via the IPv6 protocol. In "Sensor Fusion brings situational awareness to health devices," Supreet Oberoi points out another serious problem: how do you collect, organize and respond to the information you are getting from the wireless sensors?


Elaborate, data-centric networking methods in the form of the Data Distribution Service and the Java Messaging protocol will go a long way toward solving the data management problem.


Then there is the problem of real time and deterministic performance over wireless sensor networks, given the fact that the IPv6 protocol many of these devices will connect to is still asynchronous, with no real global clocking mechanism. Specifications such as IEEE 1588 have emerged to deal with this but adoption is moving happening slowly. To fill in the gap, wireless network-specific protocols such as WirelessHART, 6LowWPAN, and AODV have been proposed.


Then there's the new IPv6 protocol which makes available unique URLs that are counted in the billions of billions of billions. Even if every human on the planet had his or her own URL address, the number of URLs still available is essentially infinite, raising the prospect that almost every embedded device in the world will have its own URL. Will sensors with 8- or 16bit MCUs be up to this challenge, or will 32bit MCUs dominate?


These are questions that I think need to be addressed and I look forward to hearing from you with your ideas and contributions.



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[Last update: 11:41:51 AM, 14/06/2011]


Visitor 04:00:06 PM, 28/05/2012
Comment: Then what would be better is for this devcie to act as some kind of remote desktop connection. Two fingers to scroll around the screen, and then the rest is touch screen. Perhaps the pinch and spread gestures to zoom in and out and double tap two fingers back to 100% zoom. Now THAT would sell the iPad with ease. Especially that it is going through a low latency wifi connection.
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