An Efficient Machine-to-Machine Communication Protocol for WSNs

Data transmission in sensor networks, and machine-to-machine communication in general, requires a protocol for marking sensor values with semantic and syntactic information. A integer value of “23775” alone cannot be displayed to the user or be used for automated decision making. The meaning only becomes clear with the accompanying metadata which tells the system that this may be a reading from a temperature sensor, along with the make and model of the sensor. The data can then be understood as “23°C” by both the user and the system.

To achieve a high transmission efficiency, protocols like CoAP and sMAP are employing a efficient binary coding of the metadata associated with sensor values. Our research is based on the IPFIX protocol which follows a different approach. Instead of focusing on transmitting the metadata in an compressed way, IPFIX separates metadata and application data into different messages. Metadata is declared in template messages and application data is sent in data messages which reference the metadata in the aforementioned templates. An example is shown below:

IPFIX Template Set and the referencing Data Set

IPFIX Template Set and the referencing Data Set

Theoretically, templates only have to be sent once. However, our system is repeating them periodically to account for message loss. Depending on the interval between template re-transmissions, a high amount of transmission efficiency can be reached. We further increased the efficiency through a header compression scheme that manages to reduce the IPFIX header from 20 bytes down to one three bytes. This is illustrated in the figure below:

IPFIX transmission efficiency depending on the re-transmission interval of the template set

IPFIX transmission efficiency depending on the re-transmission interval of the template set

Source Code

The source code has been released under the GPLv3 and eCOS License. It also includes network aggregator functionality written by Benjamin Ertl. See the project page at the chair for network systems at TUM about further details.

My related Publications

2014

  • [PDF] [DOI] C. Schmitt, T. Kothmayr, B. Ertl, W. Hu, L. Braun, and G. Carle, “TinyIPFIX: An efficient application protocol for data exchange in cyber physical systems ,” Computer Communications , 2014.
    [Bibtex]
    @article{schmitt2014tinyipfix,
      title = "TinyIPFIX: An efficient application protocol for data exchange in cyber physical systems ",
      author = {Corinna Schmitt and Thomas Kothmayr and Benjamin Ertl and Wen Hu and Lothar Braun and Georg Carle},
      journal = "Computer Communications ",
      year = "2014",
      doi = {10.1016/j.comcom.2014.05.012},
      url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.comcom.2014.05.012},
    }

2010

  • [PDF] T. Kothmayr, “Data collection in Wireless Sensor Networks for Autonomic Home Networking,” , 2010.
    [Bibtex]
    @article{kothmayr2010bachelor,
      title={Data collection in Wireless Sensor Networks for Autonomic Home Networking},
      author={Kothmayr, Thomas},
      year={2010}
    }
  • [PDF] [DOI] T. Kothmayr, C. Schmitt, L. Braun, and G. Carle, “Gathering Sensor Data in Home Networks with IPFIX,” Wireless Sensor Networks, pp. 131-146, 2010.
    [Bibtex]
    @article{kothmayr2010gathering,
      title={Gathering Sensor Data in Home Networks with IPFIX},
      author={Kothmayr, Thomas and Schmitt, Corinna and Braun, Lothar and Carle, Georg},
      journal={Wireless Sensor Networks},
      pages={131--146},
      year={2010},
      publisher={Springer},
      doi={10.1007/978-3-642-11917-0_9},
      url={http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-11917-0_9}
    }
  • [PDF] [DOI] C. Schmitt, L. Braun, T. Kothmayr, and G. Carle, “Collecting sensor data using compressed IPFIX,” in Proceedings of the 9th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks, 2010, pp. 390-391.
    [Bibtex]
    @inproceedings{schmitt2010collecting,
      title={Collecting sensor data using compressed IPFIX},
      author={Schmitt, Corinna and Braun, Lothar and Kothmayr, Thomas and Carle, Georg},
      booktitle={Proceedings of the 9th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks},
      pages={390--391},
      year={2010},
      organization={ACM},
      doi={10.1145/1791212.1791269},
      url={http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1791212.1791269},
    }