Internet of Things Virtual Networks: Bringing Network Virtualization to Resource-Constrained Devices
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Networks of smart resource-constrained objects, such as sensors and actuators, can support a wide range of application domains. In most cases these networks were proprietary and stand-alone. More recently, many efforts have been undertaken to connect these networks to the Internet using standard protocols. Current solutions that integrate smart resource-constrained objects into the Internet are mostly gateway-based. In these solutions, security, firewalling, protocol translations and intelligence are implemented by gateways at the border of the Internet and the resource-constrained networks. In this paper, we introduce a complementary approach to facilitate the realization of what is called the Internet of Things. Our approach focuses on the objects, both resource-constrained and non-constrained, that need to cooperate by integrating them into a secured virtual network, named an Internet of Things Virtual Network or IoT-VN. Inside this IoT-VN full end-to-end communication can take place through the use of protocols that take the limitations of the most resource-constrained devices into account. We describe how this concept maps to several generic use cases and, as such, can constitute a valid alternative approach for supporting selected applications. A first implementation demonstrating the key concepts of this approach is described. It illustrates the feasibility of integrating resource-constrained devices into virtual networks, but also reveals open challenges.