Experimental Evaluation of Unicast and Multicast CoAP Group Communication
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The Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding rapidly to new domains in which embedded devices play a key role and gradually outnumber traditionally-connected devices. These devices are often constrained in their resources and are thus unable to run standard Internet protocols. The Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) is a new alternative standard protocol that implements the same principals as the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), but is tailored towards constrained devices. In many IoT application domains, devices need to be addressed in groups in addition to being addressable individually. Two main approaches are currently being proposed in the IoT community for CoAP-based group communication. The main difference between the two approaches lies in the underlying communication type: multicast versus unicast. In this article, we experimentally evaluate those two approaches using two wireless sensor testbeds and under different test conditions. We highlight the pros and cons of each of them and propose combining these approaches in a hybrid solution to better suit certain use case requirements. Additionally, we provide a solution for multicast-based group membership management using CoAP.