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New wireless network protocol for multi-hop networks


A new kind of wireless network protocol that is based on IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) allows users to link to network no matter which platform.

"What we’ve designed is a system that is platform independent," says Tommi Saarinen of Oulu University, Finland, and 6HOP coordinator. "It can be used with the ordinary 802.11x wireless LAN cards you can buy in shops. The difference is that the 6HOP system was designed around IPv6 from the start, and also supports IPv4 legacy networks."

Today’s wireless LANs commonly uses the IPv4 network protocol. But IPv4 cannot accommodate the ever-expanding computer population much longer, and work-arounds have to be used. Its successor, IPv6, has been designed to handle the forecast computer populations, and has additional measures for improved security.

"6HOP has some really powerful features," explains Saarinen. "We can use the system for multi-hop heterogeneous networks. What this means is the link between the end user and the network access point could be set up, automatically, by hopping between intermediate workstations. The system has the capability of selecting the optimum route according to the user’s criteria, for instance: preferred operator, least cost, lowest power consumption, etc. It can also adapt to variable propagation characteristics (fading, noise, etc.) in each hop. Overall throughput is improved by using a protocol booster that reduces IP packet header size and an FEC [forward error-correcting code] to reduce transmission errors."

"Platform independence means that the system can run on almost any platform," continues Saarinen. "At the moment, we’re running the system on Linux-based laptops, but it could just as easily run on a PDA or mobile phone. The system is generic and adaptive, so it’s not locked into a particular epoch of network evolution."

"The project is now in the final phase and concludes at the end of June. We’re conducting the final integration, tests and measurements right now," says Saarinen. "The 6HOP industrial partners will incorporate the system into their own products and, since the technical deliverables are publicly available, the system is open for anyone to use."

Tommi Saarinen
Oulun Yliopisto
Telecommunications Laboratory & Centre for Wireless Communication
Pentti Kaiteran Katu 1
PO Box 8000
FIN-90014 Oulu
Tel: +358-8-5532969

Tara Morris | IST Results
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