The Thing-to-Thing Research Group (T2TRG) will investigate open research issues in turning a true “Internet of Things” into reality, an Internet where low-resource nodes (“things”, “constrained nodes”) can communicate among themselves and with the wider Internet, in order to partake in permissionless innovation. The focus of the T2TRG are on issues that touch opportunities for standardization in the IETF, i.e., it will start at the adaptation layer connecting devices to IP, and end at the application layer with architectures and APIs for communicating and making data and management functions (including security functions) available.
A first wave of IoT standards has been completed by the IETF. Consortia are now forming to build infrastructure and industry agreements around those. This generates new requirements for research, based on actual usage of the standards now available.
In parallel, W3C has set up an IG (Interest Group) on the Web of Things (WoT); this is operating on a similar timeline as an RG does in the IRTF. A parallel activity associated with the IETF/IRTF can help ensure the common work does not stop at the traditional boundaries of the W3C, but considers networking issues as well. IETF WGs are also active on these topics, but an IRTF RG can provide a more long-term perspective to the collaboration.
A number of areas of interest have been identified:
More exploratory areas of interest include:
Besides facilitating communication between researchers in its areas of interest, T2TRG pursues a number of additional objectives:
These objectives will be achieved making use of a close involvement between the IETF community and the T2TRG. For the IETF, some RG documents may simplify the generation of (or even serve as) use case documents or other informational references. Close contact will be maintained with the IETF’s IoT-related WGs and its IoT directorate, as well as related IRTF research groups.
In the context of this RG, thing refers to a connected object that is also defined by its interface to the physical world. Some “things” may be connected only using a local interconnect, but the RG’s focus is on “things” that are part of the Internet. Not all “things” are highly constrained, but IoT architectures generally need to enable the inclusion of constrained nodes.
The Thing-to-Thing Research Group plays on a reminiscence to the End-to-End Research Group (END2END), which accompanied the evolution of the Internet for its first three decades. (The T2TRG is certainly not intended to literally exclude the communication of constrained nodes with the wider Internet or with more than one other constrained node.)
The charter of the END2END RG mentioned that “the specific topics of interest (…) have changed as network research has advanced, but it is generally concerned with end-to-end services and protocols implemented in hosts” – a focus similar to that of the T2TRG, except that the concern for packet forwarding and network building may be closer to a constrained node than it was to a traditional Internet host.
Also, T2TRG will not be a closed RG, but employ an open membership policy towards all interested researchers, taking its clues from the way that, say, the DTNRG or the ICNRG have been and are being run.
Specific meetings of the T2TRG will pick focus items that much of the discussion of the meeting should revolve around. The stated focus for the initial meetings was on three immediate areas of interest:
Future work items may include:
Documents and meeting materials for the T2TRG can be found on the IETF datatracker.
Additional T2TRG information is available at https://github.com/t2trg.
The T2TRG was chartered on 2015-12-02.