IoT bus combines properties of field bus and IPv6

IoT bus combines properties of field bus and IPv6

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Linking production plants over long distances with one another is one of the great challenges on the IoT. Many applications in industry 4.0, building automation and power management will require IP capability in the communications end nodes in the future. The IoT bus of the Fraunhofer IIS is a field bus with native IPv6 support and enables continuous communication via TCP / IP from the sensor to the cloud. The standardized encryption methods of the Internet protocol family (TLS, DTLS) ensure secure data transmission wherever it is needed.

Many future IoT applications will require data rates ranging from low data rates to 20 kbps with simple fieldbuses for building automation and high data rates of over 100 Mbps. If the data rates are too low, the IP capability and encryption cannot be implemented. Too high bandwidths, on the other hand, unnecessarily increase the cost and energy consumption of communication. Therefore the IoT bus with its current data rate up to 1 Mbps with a range of up to 500 meters is ideal for IoT applications with medium data transfer rates. Through of its data container concept, it can be used as a range extender for fieldbuses and thus, for example, transport CAN messages over a larger distance.


An IP-enabled end node provides clear advantages with direct access to the end nodes over the Internet or with the direct connection to the cloud. This means that no protocol conversion is necessary and the encryption on the transport layer can be carried out consistently. By integrating the IPv6 protocol in the IoT bus, each end node receives its own IP address and thus can send and receive data. In this way, status messages and alerts from machines can be sent to mobile devices such that responsible persons react quickly to these messages and take countermeasures, thus preventing failures.

If a confidential or tamper-proof data connection is necessary in cloud-based industrial applications, the IoT bus provides cryptological methods such as TLS or D-TLS for authentication and encryption. Data and control commands can thus be safely communicated to the cloud. Due to the IP capability of the end nodes, protocols such as CoAP, MQTT, OPC-UA and web services can be used at higher levels. The protocol continuity makes it possible to maintain MAC layer encryption of the IEEE 802.15.4 protocol even during media exchange.

With its IP capability and real-time capability, the IoT bus is suitable for a wide range of applications such as industry 4.0, building automation and energy management. It enables secure communication between local equipment, power generators such as photovoltaic systems and the Internet. System components and sensors can easily be connected as part of the IOT for status monitoring via mobile terminals. In addition, dependent production systems can exchange information about the IoT bus.

The evolutionary approach of the IoT bus allows the easy integration of further standard protocols. Compared to wireless sensor networks and WPAN solutions, it is characterized by high reliability, robustness and greater range in point-to-point connections. Once fully implemented, the Fraunhofer researchers intend to make the IoT bus protocol stack available for licensing.

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