Net of Things Communications Protocols

Research areas

Temporary Supervisor

Dr Roger Clarke


'The Internet of Things' (IoT) is a current buzz-phrase. It encompasses a number of things that already exist. Longstanding examples include telemetry (data captured remotely and transmitted to a central storage-point), SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition - telemetry plus control messages sent back out). A more recent phenomenon is pallets, packages and clothing with RFID tags attached. Ongoing miniaturisation, progress in battery technologies, and continually reducing costs are giving rise to new opportunities. Here are some questions that need answers:

  • Can the processors embedded in 'things' handle TCP/IP?
  • If they can, do they need to anyway?
  • What are the alternatives to TCP/IP?
  • (If the alternatives are used, is it really an 'Internet' of Things?)
  • What are the reliability characteristics of the alternatives to TCP/IP?
  • What are the security characteristics of the alternatives to TCP/IP?
  • Can the systems that 'things' participate in afford to depend on them?

Background Literature

General Pre-Reading: Kayleen Manwaring K. & Clarke R. (2015) 'Surfing the third wave of computing: a framework for research into eObjects' Forthcoming, Computer Law & Security Review, PrePrint at Technical Pre-Reading: It's everywhere. Some of it is careful. A lot of it is irresponsible sales patter. You need to read widely, thoughtfully, and sceptically. Here's an example of an over-exuberant promotional piece that at least offers some good examples of what the industry hopes IoT might achieve: Evans D. (2015) 'Introducing the Wireless Cow' Politico, 29 June 2015, at

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