One-Hop Out-of-Band Control Planes For Low-Power Multi-Hop Wireless Networks

Authors:
Chaojie Gu Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Rui Tan Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Xin Lou Advanced Digital Sciences Centre, Singapore
Dusit Niyato Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Abstract:

Separation of control and data planes (SCDP) is a desirable paradigm for low-power multi-hop wireless networks requiring high network performance and manageability. Existing SCDP networks generally adopt an in-band control plane scheme in that the control-plane messages are delivered by their data-plane networks. The physical coupling of the two planes may lead to undesirable consequences. To advance the network architecture design, we propose to leverage on the long-range communication capability of the increasingly available low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) radios to form one-hop out-of-band control planes. We choose LoRaWAN, an open, inexpensive, and ISM band based LPWAN radio to prototype our out-of-band control plane called LoRaCP. Several characteristics of LoRaWAN such as downlink-uplink asymmetry and primitive ALOHA media access control (MAC) present challenges to achieving reliability and efficiency. To address these challenges, we design a TDMA-based multi-channel MAC featuring an urgent channel and negative acknowledgment. On a testbed of 16 nodes, we demonstrate applying LoRaCP to physically separate the control-plane network of the Collection Tree Protocol (CTP) from its ZigBee-based data-plane network. Extensive experiments show that LoRaCP increases CTP's packet delivery ratio from 65% to 80% in the presence of external interference, while consuming a per-node average radio power of 2.97 mW only.

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