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NXP Demonstrates Smart Home Control Using 6LoWPAN

Wed, 10/12/2011 - 11:02am
What if every device in your home had its own Internet IP address? You could remotely control when your lights, appliances, heating and air conditioning turn on and off; receive alerts from your security system when you are away from home; and effectively manage energy usage throughout the day. Your “smart home” could have dozens or even hundreds of appliances connected through a secure wireless network designed for two-way communication – so you can monitor your home environment and power consumption levels, and also control individual devices or groups of devices as needed.

At an IPSO Alliance event on the “Internet of Things” this week, NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI) will present a smart home control demo using JenNet-IP – its ultra-low-power wireless connectivity network layer software based on 6LoWPAN. The demonstrator shows compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), LED light bulbs, smart plugs and a display panel – each with its own IP address – monitored and controlled wirelessly by iPad® and Android™ tablets as part of a secure network. Building on the GreenChip™ smart lighting demo released earlier this year, the new JenNet-IP home control demo also shows how groups of lights and other devices can be managed through a mobile app, and how energy usage in the home can be monitored in real time. A Wi-Fi gateway with a USB dongle based on the NXP JN5148 wireless microcontroller serves as a bridge between the 6LoWPAN IPv6-based home wireless network and the local IPv4-based wireless network, and also provides a DHCP server for the IP addresses of local 6LoWPAN devices. A video of the JenNet-IP smart home control demo is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l890erU9_kI      

“Smart lighting as a concept has sparked the imagination of industry observers worldwide, and the feedback we’ve received on JenNet-IP – from customers and partners – has been brilliant. Our demo at this year’s IPSO Alliance event shows how remote controls and tablets can be used to monitor and control not only your lights, but also other devices such as TVs and smart plugs, and manage overall energy consumption in the smarter home,” said Jim Lindop, chief strategist, Low Power RF product line, NXP Semiconductors. “NXP is firmly committed to the ongoing development of ultra-low-power 802.15.4-based solutions for wireless connectivity in the smart home, in smart buildings, and in smart industrial environments.”

Recent updates to the JenNet-IP protocol include enhanced gatewayless operation, allowing consumers to use remote controls and switches to control devices in the home without an Internet connection. This is particularly important, as consumers will typically start off with a small number of IP-enabled lights and a single remote, adding more lights, devices and remote controls as they become familiar with the technology, before finally upgrading the system to include an Internet gateway. Enabling the network to work independently from an Internet gateway ensures that the network will continue to work if the gateway fails, thus overcoming a weakness of other wireless control solutions. Other updates to JenNet-IP include faster throughput, improved security, and support for more types of Building and Home Automation devices in the SNAP (Simple Network Access Protocol) layer. Information on JenNet-IP is available at http://www.nxp.com/jennic/products/protocol_stacks/jennet-ip           

Components of the JenNet-IP Smart Home Control Demonstrator

NXP will show the JenNet-IP smart home controls demonstrator at the IPSO press reception in Santa Clara, California today. The demonstrator comprises:

  • Light bulbs using the ultra-low-power NXP GreenChip smart lighting solution, which includes the GreenChip iCFL or iSSL chipset, consisting of highly efficient, low-cost, deep-dimmable CFL or SSL lamp drivers; a high-efficiency standby power supply controller; the JN5148 wireless microcontroller; and JenNet-IP network layer software for wireless connectivity
  • Smart plugs that provide on/off control and real-time energy monitoring via a metrology software engine running on the NXP JN5148 wireless microcontroller
  • A Wi-Fi gateway with a JN5148-based USB dongle, bridging the 6LoWPAN home wireless network to a local WiFi network and the Internet
  • iPad and Android tablet computers running Home Control demonstration applications
  • A 6LoWPAN remote control that directly communicates with and controls the light bulbs and smart plugs, using the JN5148 and providing a low-cost remote control with capacitive touch-sensing keys

“As a founding member of the IPSO Alliance, the Low Power RF team at NXP Semiconductors has made important contributions to 6LoWPAN. The latest demo from NXP shows how its 6LoWPAN-based JenNet-IP software is extending beyond lighting applications to support a broader range of devices in home automation and building automation, and nicely demonstrates how wireless IPv6 networking is starting to enable the Internet of Things in the broadest sense,” said Geoff Mulligan, co-chair of IETF 6lowpan Working Group and chair, IPSO Alliance.

Updates to the JenNet-IP Protocol

JenNet-IP is a sophisticated network layer using the IPv6 addressing and header compression schemes as defined in the IETF 6LoWPAN standard, and is designed for ultra-low-power networking based on IEEE 802.15.4 for both residential and industrial applications. Capable of scaling to support large networks up to 500 devices, JenNet-IP has many attractive features including ultra-low power consumption, long RF range, low memory footprint, and a low total cost of ownership. In May, NXP announced its intent to make JenNet-IP available under an Open Source license.

Since then, NXP has made further enhancements to the JenNet-IP protocol, which will be demonstrated at the IPSO Alliance event:

  • Faster throughput to ensure that messages are passed through the network in a timely manner, so that users get immediate response from any operation – particularly important in lighting where network latencies are visible immediately
  • Enhanced gatewayless operation, allowing consumers to use remote controls and switches to control home devices without an Internet connection
  • Over-the-air download capability enabling the devices in the JenNet-IP/6LoWPAN network to have their firmware updated to the latest release while still allowing the network to continue operating
  • Security procedures to deny unauthorized devices access to the network and to ensure protection of control and status information in the network, using the built-in AES-128 security engine available on the JN514x series wireless microcontroller
  • Support for new devices such as smart plugs and capacitive touch remote controls in the SNAP (Simple Network Access Protocol) application layer

Additional support will be added to SNAP to cover the entire range of typical building and home automation devices, such as environmental control systems for heating and air conditioning, as well as security and alarm systems.

Links

Additional information can be found by visitingwww.nxp.com. 



Posted by Janine E. Mooney, Associate Editor

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