IPv6 is a necessary technology for the reliable, efficient and scalable implementation of effective energy metering systems. Although the major force behind the transition to IPv6 is the absence of public addresses in IPv4, there are several IPv6 protocol characteristics that facilitate the deployment of advanced networking services, especially in the sensor networking world, that are also found to be particularly useful in designing effective systems.
In particular, IPv6 technology justifies its role as a “green” enabler by bringing about benefits such as:
- Reduced management and maintenance effort due to end-to-end communication and management of the smart sensors. The end-to-end communication scheme facilitates the proper management/ configuration of the devices, the installation of software updates and the monitoring of the infrastructure.
- Better policy schemes over heterogeneous networks are made possible; for example, nodes of various on-site communications systems can be provided with unique public IPv6 addresses to avoid conflicting use of private IPv4 addressing; centralized communication initiation and management can be provided and services can be directly connected as all nodes across different on-site networks can have globally unique public IP addresses.
- Advanced security features are enabled; for example, transparent end-to-end security without complex NAT traversal mechanisms, fine-grained security policies and filtering rules can be applied based on unique end system addressing scheme.
- Advanced auto-configuration features (e.g. IPv6 stateless auto-configuration, bootstrapping of the infrastructure) and ad-hoc routing are made possible.
- Quality of Service (QoS) can be supported in local and global network environments.
- Multicast transmission features are enabled.
- Facilities are provided to deploy new services without NAT-related limitations and requirements for application gateway implementation (e.g. exchange of sensor data, services for situation monitoring, etc.).