This patent application is assigned to Landis+Gyr Innovations, Inc.
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Some utility networks, such as RF-based Neighborhood Area Networks (NANs) used for Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI) or Smart Grid communication use a proprietary protocol stack and layered or geographic routing. The nodes of such a network may include utility meters, utility servers and routers. In some networks, the boundary between an application that runs on a node in a proprietary network and a proprietary protocol stack may not be well defined, i.e., the application may not be independent of the underlying protocol stack and may require information from the underlying protocol stack in order to process a packet. This lack of modularity may become a problem when a network with nodes that use a proprietary protocol stack needs to become IP (Internet Protocol) compliant. For example, there may be a problem when an application designed to operate on a non-IP protocol stack requires information from a lower layer, but the information is not present in an IP header, or when an application or other software module at an upper layer processes packets received from a lower layer of a proprietary protocol stack.
"One way to allow a non-IP node to communicate in an IP network is to convert the node to an IP compliant node. Converting an application which is designed to operate on a non-IP protocol stack to an IP protocol stack typically requires changes to the logic of the application, i.e., that the application is re-developed for the IP protocol stack. This conversion is likely to be both time consuming and costly. Another way to allow a non-IP node to communicate in an IP network is to use tunneling. Tunneling encapsulates a first protocol within a second protocol to allow a packet formed using the first protocol to be communicated via a network that uses the second protocol. However, tunneling requires additional processing power, additional memory, and additional headers, which reduces over-the-air efficiency.
"Thus, there is a need for a better way of adapting an application designed for a non-IP protocol stack to an IP protocol stack."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Aspects of the invention allow an application designed for a non-IP protocol stack to operate with an IP protocol stack with minimal modification. One aspect of the invention uses an Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6) packet with an IPv6 header and one or more optional IPv6 extension headers. The term 'IPv6 header' includes the IPv6 header defined in Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6) Specification, RFC 2460 ('RFC 2460'), and is commonly referred to as an IPv6 fixed header. The term 'IPv6 extension header' includes the optional IPv6 extension headers defined in RFC 2460. The term 'non-IP protocol data' as used herein includes data that is not defined as part of the relevant IP header, e.g., an IPv6 header. Aspects of the invention communicate non-IP protocol data, which is needed by the applications by placing it in one or more extension headers, such as an IPv6 extension header. The non-IP protocol data is available for those nodes that use it, but may be simply passed along by other nodes that do not use it.
"In one aspect of the invention a utility network interfaces with an IPv6 network. The nodes within the utility network include utility meters and a collector. The collector communicates between the utility network and the IPv6 network. The nodes within the utility network include applications designed for a non-IP protocol stack that have been minimally modified to operate with an IPv6 protocol stack. Typically the modifications include making the applications socket based. The applications may continue to use non-IP protocol data to make routing decisions or take other actions within the utility network since the non-IP protocol data is available in an IPv6 extension header. When a packet is communicated from the utility network to the IPv6 network, the packet continues to include the non-IP protocol data in an IPv6 extension header. Although the nodes in the IPv6 network may not use the non-IP protocol data, the nodes pass along the non-IP protocol data so that the non-IP protocol data is available to the destination node, which may or may not use the non-IP protocol data.
"By placing the non-IP protocol data in an IPv6 extension header, the data remains available to the application and thus allows the application to be reused on an IPv6 stack with minimal modifications.
"These illustrative aspects and features are mentioned not to limit or define the invention, but to provide examples to aid understanding of the inventive concepts disclosed in this application. Other aspects, advantages, and features of the present invention will become apparent after review of the entire application.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present disclosure are better understood when the following Detailed Description is read with reference to the accompanying drawings, where:
"FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an IPv6 header.
"FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating an IPv6 extension header.
"FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary IPv6 packet.
"FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary device using a non-IP protocol stack.
"FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary device using an IP protocol stack.
"FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary operating environment for the device of FIG. 5.
"FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary extension header."
URL and more information on this patent application, see: Decker, David; Kumar, Vishal; Shudark, Jeffrey. Method and System for Using Extension Headers to Support Protocol Stack Migration. Filed
Keywords for this news article include: IP Protocol,
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