Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Internet of Spin. 6LoWPAN might soon be used in billions and billions of things. Couldn't it have a better name?

Bluetooth, a name so odd it sticks.
Wi-Fi, it's a clever play on HiFi.
ZigBee, a bee dance. So cute, how can you resist?
There's 3G. And 4G:
Generic names indicating fast mobility.

And then there's 6LoWPAN. Huh?

It's one of the biggest general trends. The internet of things. Smart objects. The connected home. M2M. Call it whatever. Just don't all it 6LoWPAN. (Meaning IPv6 over Low Power Personal Area Network.)

Yup, all things are getting connected. Locks and lights. Meters and motors. TVs and thermostats. And how will they connect? Well, the battle is on. It's easy enough to count more than a dozen competing technologies. The market will be so big, that there will certainly be room for several of them. But one will take the lead, and I'm leaning towards 6LoWPAN. Maybe.

6LoWPAN is an IETF spec defining how IPv6 packets are to be sent on top of IEEE 802.15.4. It has the potential to be one of the most implemented technologies in history. The spec has its support groups such as IPSO Alliance, and also ETSI. There are huge companies with amazing clout behind 6LoWPAN. Google. IBM. Oracle.

It has so much going for it. But it's name isn't one of them.

To the best of my knowledge, 6LoWPAN doesn't have a better brand name for itself, although there are companies that have their flavors of 6LoWPAN with their own titles. If I'm missing something here, I'd love to know about it. But I think that 6LoWPAN is suffering from an identity crisis. And potentially fragmentation.
(I sort of suspect that someone will correct me on this. And that's one of the goals of this blog entry.)

Does 6LoWPAN need a hero to give the spec unity and identity? Yes it does:

Harald Bl├ątand, King of Denmark.