IBM and Libelium have joined efforts to offer a unique IPv6 development platform for sensor networks and the Internet of Things (IoT). By integrating the IBM Mote Runner SDK on top of Libelium Waspmote sensor platform we get a unique and powerful tool for developers and researchers interested in 6LoWPAN / IPv6 connectivity for the Internet of Things.
David Gascón, Libelium CTO
Thorsten Kramp, IBM Researcher
› Networking - 6LoWPAN / IPv6
6LoWPAN is an acronym of IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Network. This protocol offers encapsulation and header compression mechanisms that allow IPv6 packets to be sent to and received from over IEEE 802.15.4 based networks.
» Node Types
- End Node : These nodes have sensors integrated and are used to gather the information and send to the GW. They create a mesh network among them, forwarding the packets of other nodes in order to make the information reach the GW. Each End Node is equipped with a 6LoWPAN radio, sensors and a battery.
- Gateway (GW) : This node takes the information sent by the End Nodes and send it to the Tunnelling IPv4 / IPv6 server by using the Ethernet IPv4 interface. Each GW Node is equipped with a 6LoWPAN radio and a Ethernet interface and a battery.
» Network Topology
In the diagram below we can see how the Waspmote Mote Runner 6LoWPAN / IPv6 Network works.
- The sensor nodes uses the 6LoWPAN protocol over the 802.15.4 link layer to create a mesh network which interconnects any device in the network with the Gateway (GW).
- Once the GW takes the 6LoWPAN packets, it changes the IP header to IPv4 while keeping the UDP transport layer.
- Then it sends the information to the IPv4 / IPv6 Tunneling machine which will change header to a the proper IPv6 format and will send the information to IPv6 Servers located on the Internet, where users are connected.
* The GW and the Tunneling Machine are intended to be a single device in the future.
» 6LoWPAN / IPv6 Radios
6LoWPAN Radio (2.4GHz)
6LoWPAN Radio (868MHz)
Ethernet Module (GW)
CO, CO 2 , NO 2 , O 3
Emissions from farms and hatcheries
CH 4 , H 2 S, NH 3
Control of chemical and industrial processes
C 4 H 10 , H 2 , VOC
CO, CO 2
- Carbon Monoxide – CO
- Carbon Dioxide – CO 2
- Oxygen – O 2
- Methane – CH 4
- Hydrogen – H 2
- Ammonia – NH 3
- Isobutane – C 4 H 10
- Ethanol – CH 3 CH 2 OH
- Toluene – C 6 H 5 CH 3
- Hydrogen Sulfide – H 2 S
- Nitrogen Dioxide – NO 2
- Ozone – O 3
- Hydrocarbons – VOC
- Atmospheric pressure
Vibration, hall effect (doors and windows), person detection PIR
Presence detection and water level sensors, temperature
Control of goods in logistics
Vibration and impact sensors
- Hall Effect
- Temperature (+/-)
- Liquid Presence
- Liquid Level
- Presence (PIR)
» Smart Cities
Monitor in real time the acoustic levels in the streets of a city
Structural health monitoring
Crack detection and propagation
Detect the level of particulates and dust in the air
Measure the garbage levels in bins to optimize the trash collection routes
- Microphone (dBSPLA)
- Crack detection gauge
- Crack propagation gauge
- Linear displacement
- Dust - PM-10
- Ultrasound (distance measurement)
» Smart Parking
- Car detection for available parking information
- Detection of free parking lots outdoors
- Parallel and perpendicular parking lots control
- Magnetic Field
Leaf wetness, fruit diameter
Soil moisture, leaf wetness
Solar radiation, humidity, temperature
Anemometer, wind vane, pluviometer
- Air Temperature / Humidity
- Soil Temperature / Moisture
- Leaf Wetness
- Atmospheric Pressure
- Solar Radiation - PAR
- Ultraviolet Radiation - UV
- Trunk Diameter
- Stem Diameter
- Fruit Diameter
- Wind Vane
- Monitor the radiation levels wirelessly without comprising the life of the security forces
- Create prevention and control radiation networks in the surroundings of a nuclear plant
- Measure the amount of Beta and Gamma radiation in specific areas autonomously
Geiger tube [β, γ]
(Beta and Gamma)
» Smart Metering
- Energy measurement
- Water consumption
- Pipe leakage detection
- Liquid storage management
- Tanks and silos level control
- Supplies control in manufacturing
- Industrial Automation
- Agricultural Irrigation
- Water flow
- Liquid level
- Load cell
- Distance Foil
» Prototyping Sensor
- Prepared for the integration of any kind of sensor .
- Pad Area
- Integrated Circuit Area
- Analog-to-Digital Converter (16b)
› SDK - Mote Runner
IBM Mote Runner is a run-time platform and development environment for wireless sensor networks (WSN) currently under development at the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory.
On the mote platform the Mote Runner firmware provides a run-time environment, which incorporates a virtual machine (VM) for executing byte codes and operating system (OS) to organize access to different devices and to schedule the various activities of applications.
Those byte codes are generated compiling an application with the Mote Runner Compiler. Mote Runner applications can be written in C# or Java.
In general applications are shielded from the underlying hardware and management functionality is provided by the VM/OS The Mote Runner VM provides only a single thread of execution. However, multiple applications can be running on top of the VM/OS at the same time.
Figure 1: Overview of Mote Runner Ecosystem
» Main Features
- Simulation of thousand of nodes networks
- Step by Step debugging
- C# and Java programming languages allowed
- Direct integration with Eclipse
- Extended documentation and examples available
You can find many specific examples about how to program the Waspmote Mote Runner nodes in the link below.
There is a specific thread in the Forum which will be supported by both Libelium and IBM teams.
- Libelium Dev Team will answer to the Hardware questions.
- IBM Dev Team will answer to the Software / Networking / Data related questions.
› Waspmote VS Waspmote Mote Runner
|Waspmote||Waspmote Mote Runner|
|Wireless Modules||XBee (802.15.4 2.4GHz, DigiMesh 2.4GHz, 868MHz, 900MHz, ZigBee), GPRS, 3G, RFID, WiFi Bluetooth||6LoWPAN radio modules (2.4 GHz and 868 MHz)|
|OTA Programming||Yes, by Libelium (available on all XBees, GPRS, 3G and WiFi)||Yes, by IBM (available on the 6LoWPAN module)|
|SD Card||Yes (2GB)||No|
|IDE/SDK||Waspmote IDE (Open Source License)||Mote Runner (Evaluation License)|
|Programming language||Similar to C/C++||Java or C#|
|Sleep modes||Yes (three modes: sleep, deep sleep, hibernate)||Yes, but automated, controlled by the OS|
|Float variables||Yes. Native, easy handling||Only simulated handling|
|String variables||Yes. Native, easy handling||No, only byte arrays|
|Gateway||Two Options: Waspmote GW and Meshlium||Waspmote Mote Runner Gateway + PC for IPv4/IPv6 Tunneling|
|Meshlium||Yes, Meshlium has modules to interoperate with Waspmote (XBee, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth). Remote access, mesh networks, Sensor Parser, MySQL Database, ..||No, Meshlium cannot interoperate with Mote Runner|
|Enclosure||Yes (Plug & Sense! line)||No|
|Bootloader||Yes, preinstalled and ready to work||No. User must install it using the Mote Runner SDK. An AVR Programmer hardware is included in the kit.|
|Support, Technical Assistance||HW + SW + Networking by Libelium||HW by Libelium.
SW + Networking by IBM.
|Recommended for experimentation with 6LoWPAN||No||Yes|
|Recommended for industrial / commercial projects||Yes||No|
|Recommended for new users||Yes||No|
|Suitable for users with poor programming skills||Yes||No|
|Recommended for experts||Yes||Yes|
|Time to market||Small||Medium, experimental platform, not market-focused “as is”|
› Licences and Conditions of Use
- The Waspmote Mote Runner Kits consist of LIBELIUM Waspmote sensor modified and ready to work ONLY with the IBM Mote Runner environment. If you want to use the Waspmote IDE or other modules specific to the original Waspmote platform, you should buy one of these kits.
- Although quite similar, Waspmote nodes and Waspmote Mote Runner nodes are not the same Hardware. For this reason Developers can not interchange code, libraries or radio between both platforms
- The Mote Runner SDK must be downloaded from the IBM website; it does not come with the Waspmote Mote Runner Kit. Mote Runner is distributed by IBM under an evaluation license which allows to be used at no cost for non-comercial purposes. It is highly recommended to read the license at the IBM Mote Runner Website before purchasing the kit.
- Waspmote nodes included in the Kit come without any firmware installed on them. Users have to compile it using the Mote Runner SDK. It is highly recommended to read the license at the IBM Mote Runner Website before purchasing the kit.
- The platform is intended to be used at this first stage by Researchers and Developers who want to get in touch with 6LoWPAN connectivity. This is perfect for laboratory study, test beds and small deployments.
- The platform is not recommended for large scale deployments, commercial usages, or final product commercialization. For these purposes you can use the original Waspmote platform.
- Libelium has made available a thread in the FORUM to treat any issue related to the Waspmote Mote Runner Development Platform. However, Libelium will be responsible of answering ONLY the Hardware issues. Any Software, Networking or Data related issue will be answered by the IBM developers in this thread.