Goal of Wi-SUN (Wireless Smart Ubiquitous Network) is to create interoperable Smart Utility and Smart City networks from multiple vendors, as stated in IEEE 802.15.4g – open wireless standard specification for Smart Utility Networks. Wi-SUN provides FAN (Field Area Network), a wireless mesh networks for AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure), distribution automation, home energy management and other large scale outdoor network applications (asset management, environmental monitoring, agriculture monitoring, health monitoring).
Wi-SUN is developing testing programs not just for IEEE 802.15.4g compliance, but also for confirmation of interoperability with other vendors – Wi-SUN Certified. Thus large scale roll-outs are faster, easier to manage and also secure – there’s Authentication Chain of Trust via public key infrastructure with x.509 certificates, automated symmetric key exchange and rotation using 802.11i, hardware security modules and hardened crypto processors for key generation and storage, data transmission secured via AES, HMAC, certificates and network access control authentication via digital certificate prior to Wi-SUN FAN network entry.
Wi-SUN Alliance is a consortium of global vendors and world leaders in Smarty Utility, Smart city and IoT markets from all around the world. An important reference is that two smartest cities (Miami, Paris) based on deployment of connected street lights, according to the IoT Analytics report, utilize Wi-SUN supported IEEE 802.15.4g wireless mesh networks.
You might be wondering, “OK, but what’s so special about this Wi-SUN”? Well it’s this mesh based network architecture. I’m not so keen on mesh architecture, when I remember some of WiFi mesh projects, but it seems that Wi-SUN was designed for this kind of usage – focus is on flexibility, availability and high reliability even in most challenging environments. So, for example in a smart city if you have an power outage or there’s a new obstacle on the connection path – mesh will reroute the traffic to adapt to a new environmental condition and ensure that there’s no connectivity outage and need for a expensive field visits. Basically, with mesh networks you’d get greater resilience and flexibility as the number of peers grow.
Wi-SUN provides consistent data rate of up to 300 kbps throughout the network and latency up to 0.02 s. Power consumption is less than 2 µA when resting and only 8 mA when listening – and here Wi-SUN is rather frequent (up to every 10 seconds), so on demand commands can be sent regularly or you can have over the air firmware configuration and update.
Once again, I’ll state that Wi-SUN greatest advantage to other wireless network technologies is its mesh network architecture, since it allows it to grow rather easily in capacity and size and to improve its reliability by that growth – but who can predict how big will be IoT networks of future and how the whole ecosystem will work. Choosing the right wireless network technology for your IoT deployment is seriously important, as it has influence on network architecture, reliability, security, scalability, interoperability and also on choice of available edge devices – and the IoT market is wild west, so it doesn’t mean that the best technology will be the winner at the end. If you’d like to share your opinion on Wi-SUN, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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