Re: [6lowpan] Titles of 6LoWPAN RFCs

Robert Cragie <> Thu, 07 July 2011 21:52 UTC

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Date: Thu, 07 Jul 2011 22:53:49 +0100
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Subject: Re: [6lowpan] Titles of 6LoWPAN RFCs
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I don't think you're reading what I'm writing. As I said, WPAN was 
chosen by the IEEE for the 802.15 WG. The 802.15 WG is about wireless, 
hence the 'W'. You assume 'personal' means 'wearable', however the IEEE 
actually use 'body' (as in BAN, body area network) for this. I think 
'personal' is simply meant to be the next down in scope from 'local', 
that's all (and 'body' the next down from 'personal'). It really doesn't 
mean much at all. Let's face it, an 802.11 metropolitan mesh network is 
hardly a LAN. 'Wireless' used to be the bakelite box on the mantelpiece.

'6loan' may well have been better. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Maybe 
'LOL' would have been good for Low-power and Lossy <LOL>. We could go on 

On a more serious note, I agree with Jonathan about being more precise 
for HC as that is specific. Of his three suggestions, my preference 
would be "Compression Format for IPv6 Datagrams over IEEE 802.15.4-based 


On 07/07/2011 3:29 PM, Alexandru Petrescu wrote:
> Le 07/07/2011 14:23, Robert Cragie a écrit :
>> +1.
>> I don't think we should get too hung up on WPAN. It's just a name
>> chosen for 802.15 WG. It's subjective as to how appropriate it really
>> is. To be precise, 802.15.4 is the low power, low data rate WPAN in
>> 802.15 so loWPAN is a reasonable, pronounceable abbreviation which
>> implies 802.15.4 in the context of 802.15 but could mean other
>> similar types of network in other contexts.
> Hmm... except that "W" in WPAN makes little sense on PLC contexts
> (RPL has "PLC" in text).
> "P" in PAN is risky too because ND may work on short-range yet
> non-wearable networks.
> "loan" would be more generic - LOw-power Area Network.
> Alex
>> Robert
>> On 29/06/2011 12:45 PM, Pascal Thubert (pthubert) wrote:
>>> Hi Carsten:
>>> Maybe the answer depends on the draft. HC depends on the 802.15.4
>>> for some of the compression procedure and it makes sense that this
>>> appears in the title.
>>> ND does not have such a strong link to the MAC so there is no
>>> point pinpointing 802.15.4 or any specific IEEE. Rather, ND makes
>>> sense because of the NBMA nature of the network, and the desire to
>>> save multicast operation, which is common to LLNs. So I do not
>>> think we need to change ND.
>>> Finally, 6LoWPAN as a name as become a lot more than what the
>>> acronym could initially stand for. I do not think the drafts should
>>> use 6LoWPAN for what it expands to, but rather as the name of the
>>> WG that defined all those drafts.
>>> Cheers,
>>> Pascal
>>>> -----Original Message----- From:
>>>> [] On Behalf Of Carsten Bormann
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 1:20 PM To: 6lowpan WG Subject:
>>>> [6lowpan] Titles of 6LoWPAN RFCs
>>>> 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
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