Performance of RPL Under Wireless Interference

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“Performance of RPL Under Wireless Interference” by Dong Han and Omprakash Gnawali. IEEE Communications Magazine, vol. 51, no. 12, 2013, pp. 137-143.


Smart homes and environments will consist of a large number of low power wireless devices such as sensors and actuators. Recently IETF standardized a network protocol called RPL that is designed to run on these nodes. In this article, we study the performance of RPL on a variety of scenarios that these nodes will encounter when they are deployed in practice. We deploy a network of 23 sensor nodes in a computer lab to monitor energy used by each computer across the applications and users. We subject the network to four different levels of interference that are representative of the types and levels of interference that these networks might encounter in deployment. Our study finds that RPL's reliability degrades even with an access point in overlapping channel under normal network traffic. With high interference, the packet delivery reliability goes down to 10 percent. The scenario that resulted in this performance is not unimaginable in smart home or environment. This performance degradation is partly due to lack of coordination across the layers of the protocol stack: RPL is unaware of the changes in the wireless environment underneath and proceeds as usual. As other research has shown, coordination across the network stack is essential for network protocols to work reliably in the presence of interference. This will require a more coordinated approach to standards across the bodies.

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BibTeX entry:

   author = {Dong Han and Omprakash Gnawali},
   title = {{Performance of RPL Under Wireless Interference}},
   journal = {IEEE Communications Magazine},
   volume = {51},
   number = {12},
   pages = {137-143},
   year = {2013}