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Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains answers to frequently asked questions about the Wi-SUN Alliance, networking technology, and the industry in general. If you have additional questions, please contact Wi-SUN Alliance at info@wi-sun.org for further information.

The Internet of Things refers to devices connecting through the internet to other devices and to operating centers, often for machine-to-machine communications. One increasingly common example is electricity, water, and gas utility meters that communicate with each other and with the utility to report consumption, respond to outages, detect leaks, and more. There are numerous industrial, commercial, and consumer applications for IoT devices and technology. According to IoT Analytics, today there are more than 14 billion devices connected to the internet.

Be sure to download our whitepaper The Journey of IoT. This paper explores the maturity model critical for the adoption for IoT and how customer perspectives and adoption patterns have changed.

In a wireless mesh network, devices cooperate to pass data and commands between the edges of the network to collection nodes. If a device or collection node is disconnected or loses power, devices automatically connect to different, nearby devices and/or collection nodes. This makes mesh networks well suited to operating outdoors. Devices and the network are easier to install and maintain, and more resilient in the face of device damage, power outages, and other hazards of operating outside.

FAN (Field Area Networks) provide a communications infrastructure for very large-scale outdoor networks. In the same way you use the Internet on a smartphone or a computer, a Field Area Network lets industrial devices such as smart meters and streetlights interconnect onto one common network.

Because field networks operate primarily outdoors, they are designed and implemented to meet the more rigorous challenges of these environments. Examples of field networks include 

  • Connecting smart electricity, water, and gas meters
  • Connecting electricity distribution switches and substations
  • Connecting smart street lights, parking meters, and traffic lights
  • Connecting electric vehicle charging stations

However, field networks are not restricted solely to outdoor use. Their robustness and versatility make them suitable for automating smart buildings and connecting electric vehicles to homes and the power grid.

Wi-SUN Field Area Network, or FAN, is an example of a field network that uses mesh networking. Learn more at https://wi-sun.org/fan.

Smart city applications use IoT and networks at a city scale to support multiple solutions for traffic management, smart parking, street lighting, environment monitoring, public safety, water and waste management. Reasons for doing this range from reducing operational costs, improving services for citizens, to global competitiveness and digital transformation. 

The Wi-SUN FAN 1.0 specification is available i) to Wi-SUN Alliance members at the Wi-SUN Alliance website or ii) as IEEE 2857-2021 – https://standards.ieee.org/ieee/2857/10218/

Wi-SUN Alliance does not provide a reference implementation of the protocol stack.  However, there are several options for Wi-SUN FAN product development:

  1. There are a number of certified products from Silicon Vendors, such as Renesas, Silicon Labs, Texas Instruments, ST Micro and Vertexcom, which have compliant, vendor implemented, Wi-SUN FAN protocol stacks.
  2. ARM has developed a Wi-SUN FAN compliant protocol stack under the mbed library: https://os.mbed.com/docs/mbed-os/v6.15/apis/wisun-tech.html.  The license terms can be found on the ARM mbed website.  Please note that this implementation may not be maintained.
  3. There are several Wi-SUN Alliance member companies which have developed 3rd party, silicon independent, implementations of the FAN protocol stack.  
  4. Any company may develop a Wi-SUN FAN protocol stack independently.  However, to claim Wi-SUN FAN compliance and to use the Wi-SUN FAN certified logo, an implementation must undergo Wi-SUN Alliance approved testing and certification.

The Wi-SUN specification provides all of the mechanisms to keep data private. Wi-SUN is an industry resource for companies that need assistance understanding the requirements and policies to deploy systems that protect users and their data.