[6lowpan] Titles of 6LoWPAN RFCs

Carsten Bormann <cabo@tzi.org> Wed, 29 June 2011 11:21 UTC

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From: Carsten Bormann <cabo@tzi.org>
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Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2011 13:20:27 +0200
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Subject: [6lowpan] Titles of 6LoWPAN RFCs
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While completing the RFC editor work for 6LoWPAN-HC, the issue of
supplying correct and useful titles for our RFCs came up again.
You may recall that we went through a little bit of discussion already
for 6LoWPAN-ND, which has the same problem.

The exposition of the problem takes a couple of paragraphs, so bear
with me, please.

Superficially, one part of the problem is that the marker that people
are using to find our work, 6LoWPAN, was built out of the WPAN
abbreviation invented by IEEE.

One issue with that is that, strictly speaking, 6LoWPAN would require
a double expansion in an RFC title as in

6LoWPAN (IPv6 over Low Power WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Networks))

WPAN also is a bad short-term politically motivated term -- it was
needed in IEEE to get the 802.15.4 radio accepted under 802.15.
WPAN ("Wireless Personal Area Networks") is highly misleading, as
there is nothing at all "Personal Area" about 802.15.4 WPANs.
The deciding characteristic is the low-power, limited-range design
(which, as a consequence, also causes the additional characteristic of
lossiness that ROLL has chosen for its "Low-Power/Lossy" moniker).

Still, the misleading four letters WPAN are part of the now well-known
"6LoWPAN" acronym, and we may need to use this acronym to make sure
the document is perceived in the right scope.

In the recent history of 6LoWPAN-HC being fixed up to address WGLC
comments, there was a silent title change.

HC-13 used the title: (September 27, 2010)
       Compression Format for IPv6 Datagrams in 6LoWPAN Networks
HC-14 changed this to: (February 14, 2011)
        Compression Format for IPv6 Datagrams in Low Power and
                       Lossy Networks (6LoWPAN)

This borrows ROLL's term "Low-Power and Lossy Networks", which may
seem natural to the authors, who have done a lot of work in ROLL.
Note that the ROLL WG has a wider scope than the 6LoWPAN WG (it is at
layer three, connecting different link layer technologies), so it may
be useful to retain a distinction between 6LoWPANs and LLNs.

Specifically, 6LoWPAN-HC as defined has a lot of dependencies on
RFC 4944 and IEEE 802.15.4, so using it as-is in generic "LLNs" would
be inappropriate.  (It sure can be adapted for many non-6LoWPAN LLNs,
but that would be a separate draft.)

6LoWPAN-ND has a similar problem.  Indeed, some of the concepts of
6LoWPAN-ND may be applicable to a lot of networks that benefit from
relying less on multicast.  In an attempt to widen the scope, there
was a title change when we rebooted the ND work to simplify it:

ND-08: (February 1, 2010)
                       6LoWPAN Neighbor Discovery
ND-09: (April 27, 2010)
    Neighbor Discovery Optimization for Low-power and Lossy Networks

However, the document as it passed WGLC still is focused on 6LoWPANs
(e.g., it contains specific support for 6COs).

For both HC and ND, I don't think we properly discussed the attempted
title changes in the WG.

So what are the specific issues to be decided?
I see at least:

-- Should we drop the 6LoWPAN marker from our documents?
   (Note that RFC 4944 doesn't have it, but in the 4 years since, the
   term has gained some recognition.)
   Should there be another common marker?
   -- E.g., should we change over the whole documents (HC, ND) to LLN?
   -- Should we just refer to IEEE 802.15.4 in the title (no 6LoWPAN)?
      HC = Compression Format for IPv6 Datagrams over IEEE 802.15.4 Networks
      ND = Neighbor Discovery Optimization for IEEE 802.15.4 Networks
   -- Or should we stick with 6LoWPAN in both title and body?
-- If the latter, what is an appropriate expansion of 6LoWPAN?
   Can we get rid of the "Personal" in the expansion?
   -- IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks [RFC4944]
   -- IPv6-based Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks [RFC4944]
   -- IPv6 over Low-Power Wireless Area Networks
   -- IPv6-based Low-power WPANs
   -- Other ideas?
-- Whatever we decide about the above:
   What is the relationship between the well-known term 6LoWPAN and
   ROLL LLNs?

Since 6LoWPAN-HC is waiting in the RFC editor queue, blocked for just
this title issue, I'd like to resolve these questions quickly.
Please provide your reasoned opinion to this mailing list by July 1.

Gruesse, Carsten