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Smart home control

What if every device in the home had its own Internet IP address? It would be possible to remotely control lights, appliances, heating and air conditioning units, as well as receiving alerts from a security system when away from home as well as effectively manage energy usage throughout the day.

The smart home could have dozens or even hundreds of appliances connected through a secure wireless network designed for two-way communication

The smart home could have dozens or even hundreds of appliances connected through a secure wireless network designed for two-way communication.

At an IPSO Alliance event on the Internet of Things last week, NXP Semiconductors presented a smart home control demo using JenNet-IP – its ultra-low-power wireless connectivity network layer software based on 6LoWPAN.

The demonstrator showed 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 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.

“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.

“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.

JenNet-IP is a 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 networks up to 500 devices, JenNet-IP has many features including ultra-low power consumption, long RF range, low memory footprint, and a low total cost of ownership. In May 2011, NXP announced its intent to make JenNet-IP available under an Open Source license.

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