What is 6LoWPAN (IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks)?

6LoWPAN is IPv6 over low power Wireless Personal area Network. The idea of 6LoWPAN originated from the concept that IP (Internet Protocol) should be applied even to small devices. The main features of 6LoWPAN are that it supports 64 bit or 16 bit addressing. It is specifically targeted at low-power radios. It uses network auto-configuration for all the participating devices and in this case, each device is engaged in the neighbor discovery process. It supports unicast, multicast, broadcast, and the concept of fragmentation. LoWPAN works on the principle of having a flat address space which means that inside the wireless network there is only one IPv6 subnet that has its own unique MAC address.

6LoWPAN is used in automation and entertainment applications in the home, offices, and factory environments because it needs wireless internet connectivity at lower data rates for various devices. IPv6 is also in use in smart grids enabling smart meters. 6LoWPAN supports security which is important for IoT systems. 6LoWPAN standards enable the efficient use of IPv6 over low-rate, low power wireless networks of simple embedded devices, through optimization of related protocols and adaptation layers. This technology is connecting more things to the cloud. It is a networking technology or adaptation layer that allows IPv6 packets to be efficiently carried in small link-layer frames which are defined by IEEE standards.

6LoWPAN supports security which is very much important for IoT systems. Wireless radio waves in reality are easily overheard and also they have a limited amount of processing power. Any system has three main security goals as Integrity, confidentiality, and availability. These goals are supported by mainly three layers namely the Application layer, media access layer, and network layer. 6LoWPAN has many features like support for 64 bit and 16 bit addressing which is targeted at low power networks including Bluetooth low energy. This is a protocol that deals with constraints issues in IoT systems and it is suitable for IoT technology.