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Journal of Computer Networks and Communications
Volume 2019, Article ID 5787653, 11 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/5787653
Research Article

An Experimental Study of Sub-1 GHz Frequency-Hopping-Based 6LoWPAN Mesh Networking for Smart-Grid Applications

1System Engineering and Marketing, Industrial Systems, Grid Infrastructure, Texas Instruments, Dallas, TX 75243, USA
2Embedded Processor, Connected MCU, Low Power RF, Texas Instruments, Dallas, TX 75243, USA
3Industrial Accounts Support, Texas Instruments France, Issy-les-Moulineaux 92130, France
4Kilby Labs, Texas Instruments, Dallas, TX 75243, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Wonsoo Kim; moc.it@mik.oosnow

Received 12 October 2018; Revised 28 January 2019; Accepted 10 April 2019; Published 16 May 2019

Guest Editor: Amir Rastegarnia

Copyright © 2019 Wonsoo Kim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This paper presents an experimental study of a multihop Internet Protocol Version 6 over Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPAN)-based mesh system that uses un-slotted channel hopping (USCH) medium access control (MAC). Designers of wireless smart-grid networks are using (or looking to use) the Sub-1 GHz spectrum, given its longer radio range compared to the traditional 2.4 GHz spectrum used in Wi-Fi® or Bluetooth® low energy. The frequency-hopping (FH) technique is attractive in this area, as it provides improved robustness and longer range owing to the higher transmission power that regulatory requirements allow. Although Sub-1 GHz allows for a longer range, smart-grid networks deployed over a large geographic area still require multiple hops to provide the required coverage. Many proprietary and standards-based solutions have been proposed to implement such a networking protocol. Notable specifications in this area include the Field Area Networks (FAN) specification from the Wi-SUN (smart utility networks) Alliance and the JupiterMesh specification from the Zigbee Alliance. Little is known about the performance of FH systems over a multihop network, however. This paper presents an implementation of an FH-based multihop networking protocol based on the Texas Instruments (TI) SimpleLink™ TI 15.4-stack, with an experimental study of such a system over multiple hops compared to a non-frequency-hopping (non-FH) system. Results show that the proposed FH-based 6LoWPAN mesh system significantly improves network coverage, network capacity, and communication robustness to interference while demonstrating coexistence capabilities.