COOJA and Testbed Federation/TWIST growing together

Two COOJA plugins and manuals have been published to integrate the TWIST testbed in COOJA and to take checkpoints and perform rollbacks both in TWIST and COOJA.

Call for Papers: CONET/UBICITEC 2013

The 4th International Workshop on Networks of Cooperating Objects for Smart Cities 2013 (CONET/UBICITEC 2013), colocated with CPSWeek 2013, accepts submissions until January 28th, 2013.

Newsletter issue #19

The 19th CONET newsletter has been published. You can read on Virtual Organizations for Multi-Model Based Embedded Systems and on the UvA Bird Tracking System.

COTS4QoS - Using COTS for QoS in Cooperating Objects Networks

Members involved

The COTS4QoS cluster currently involves 8 members (DERI-NUIG was participating until NOV/2010):

  • ISEP (Portugal, cluster leader), through the CISTER Research Unit
  • SICS (Sweden), through the Networked Embedded Systems Research Group
  • TCD (Ireland, Associated Member), through the Distributed Systems Research Group
  • Telecom Italia (Italy), through the Torino Research Lab
  • TUB (Germany), through the TKN Research Group
  • UCL (UK), through the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering
  • UDE (Germany), through the Networked Embedded Systems Group
  • UNIPI (Italy), through the Network Security Research Group

Research Context

Cooperating Objects (COBS) systems/applications require the underlying networking infrastructures to provide adequate levels of Quality of Service (QoS). Due to the complexity and scale of emerging COBS systems (e.g. Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs)), QoS can no longer been seen in the restricted perspective of network throughput, delay and bit/packet error rate. COBS systems design must encompass other QoS properties such as energy sustainability (energy-efficiency, system lifetime), dependability (reliability, availability, maintainability, security, safety and so on), timeliness (throughput, delay, traffic differentiation), scalability, mobility, heterogeneity or cost-effectiveness (see Figure). While these quality attributes are not novel and have already been tackled separately (or in subsets), addressing and satisfying all has not been done yet.

It is important to address the use of standard and COTS technologies (e.g., communication protocols, hardware platforms and operating systems), since they reduce development and maintenance costs, increase interoperability and speed up their wider acceptance (especially by industry) and utilization in real-world applications. Importantly, both "non-functional properties'' and "standards'' have been considered as extremely relevant according to several recent studies. For instance, OnWorld predicts that in 2012, 88.3\% of the wireless sensor network units sold will be standards based and the CONET surveys 2009/10 rate Standards as 'Extremely Important'.

General Objectives

The COTS4QoS cluster aims at providing building blocks for planning, dimensioning and engineering COBS networks based on standard and COTS technologies and considering QoS in a multidimensional and integrated perspective. The COTS4QoS cluster particularly addresses COBS systems that:

  1. have a large number of nodes, eventually spread over a wide geographical region (large-scale);
  2. are tightly embedded in and interacting with their physical environments, via sensing and control actions;
  3. are based on wireless sensor/actuator networks.

Our ultimate objective is to provide useful technologies and tools that can be widely and effectively used in real COBS applications.

Specific Objectives

COTS4QoS is currently providing building blocks based on the following COTS technologies:

  • Communication protocols: IEEE 802.15.4, ZigBee, WirelessHART and 6loWPAN;
  • Operating Systems: TinyOS, Contiki and ERIKA;
  • Hardware platforms: TelosB/TmoteSky, MICAz and Flex.

Focusing on supporting/improving the following QoS properties:

  • Timeliness and real-time: performance analysis, prediction and dimensioning of WSNs; analytical/software tools; bandwidth/energy trade-offs; new add-ons for improving timeliness and/or achieving bounded latencies;
  • Security: supporting security services (e.g. encryption, authentication, key management) at several \gls{osi} layers;
  • Mobility: managing node/cluster/sink/event mobility without network inaccessibility times;
  • Energy-efficiency, reliability, scalability, heterogeneity and cost-effectiveness

Research Topics

COTS4QoS research activities are illustrated in the following figure, instantiated by QoS properties (blue circles), COTS protocols and operating systems (pink ellipses) and the actual building blocks that have been or are being conceived (gray rectangles):

Overall, COTS4QoS has been mainly addressing the following R&D frameworks:

Standard communication protocols implementation (ISEP, TUB, SICS and UNIPI)

  • IEEE 802.15.4 and ZigBee over TinyOS (within the TinyOS 15.4 and ZigBee Working Groups)
  • Z-Monitor sniffing tool (
  • 6loWPAN security services over Contiki; IEEE 802.15.4 and ZigBee security services over TinyOS

QoS add-ons (ISEP, TUB, MCO, RMA cluster and MCO cluster)

  • Hidden-node avoidance in WSN
  • Differentiating CSMA/CA traffic classes in IEEE 802.15.4
  • Real-time and reliable mobility support

Network performance analysis and dimensioning (ISEP, UCL and RMA cluster):

  • Analytical models/tools for network dimensioning and analysis (MATLAB models based on Network Calculus)
  • Simulation models (OPNET models)
  • Experimental models (TinyOS+ERIKA over MICAz, TelosB and Flex)

Radio Link Quality Estimation (LQE) (ISEP, UDE and RMA cluster)

  • RadiaLE: a benchmarking open-source toolset for LQE (
  • Fuzzy-LQE (a new LQE based on Fuzzy Logic)
  • Simulation models (TOSSIM) and comparison of state-of-the-art LQEs

Network security (UNIPI, TI and SICS)

  • Application-oriented security and privacy
  • Remote key management, dynamic reconfiguration of secure protocols
  • Implementation of security services in standard comm. protocols: 15.4, ZigBee, WirelessHART and 6loWPAN


COTS4QoS has been producing several useful tools, namely:

  • IEEE 802.15.4 baseline implementation in TinyOS, including security services and GTS management (
  • ZigBee Network Layer (cluster-tree model) implementation in TinyOS  (
  • IEEE 802.15.4 and ZigBee cluster-tree OPNET simulation models (;
  • ZigBee Security services over the GAL - Gateway Abstraction Layer
  • WirelessHART Security Manager, implemented in Java for a PC
  • Z-Monitor sniffer (

Tools (COTS4QoS-RMA collaboration)

COTS4QoS and RMA have been developing several models and tools for radio link quality and interference estimation and for controlled interference generation, namely the following that are available as open-source:


COTS4QoS members have been publishing a number of scientific papers (complete list at CONET publication page), namely the following:

  • Marco Tiloca, Gianluca Dini, Pericle Perazzo, Fabio Luigi Bellifemine, and Claudio Borean, "A Home Manager Application for ZigBee Smart Home Networks'', First International Workshop on Networks of Cooperating Objects (CONET 2010), APR2010.
  • N. Baccour, A. Koubaa, M. Jamaa, H. Youssef, M. Zuniga, and M. Alves, "A comparative simulation study of LQEs in WSNs'', 17th IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Modelling, Analysis and Simulation of Computer and Telecommunication Systems (MASCOTS'09), SEP2009. (Extended Paper)
  • Gianluca Dini and Ida Savino, "A Security Architecture for Reconfigurable Networked Embedded Systems", to be published at the Springer International Journal of Wireless Information Networks.
  • S. Raza, A. Slabbert, T. Voigt, and K. Landernas, "Security Considerations for the WirelessHART Protocol", 14th IEEE International Conference on Emerging Technologies and Factory Automation (ETFA'2009), Sept 2009.
  • A. Koubâa, R. Severino, M. Alves, and E. Tovar, "Improving Quality-of-Service in Wireless Sensor Networks by mitigating hidden-node collisions", IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, Volume 5, Number 3, August 2009, pp. 299-313. (most accessed article in the IEEE TII journal since February 2010 (
  • N. Baccour, A. Koubâa, H. Youssef, M. Jamâa, D. Rosário, M. Alves, and L. Becker, "F-LQE: A Fuzzy Link Quality Estimator for Wireless Sensor Networks", 7th European Conference on Wireless Sensor Networks (EWSN 2010), Coimbra, Portugal, Feb 17-19, 2010.
  • S. Raza, T. Voigt, A. Slabbert, and K. Landernas, "Design and Implementation of a Security Manager for WirelessHART Networks", 5th IEEE International Workshop on Wireless and Sensor Networks Security (WSNS 2009), Oct 2009.
  • Gianluca Dini and Marco Tiloca, "Considerations on Security in ZigBee Networks", Third IEEE International Conference on Sensor Networks, Ubiquitous, and Trustworthy Computing (SUTC 2010), JUN2010.
  •  P. Jurcik, R. Severino, A. Koubaa, M. Alves, E. Tovar, "Dimensioning and Worst-case Analysis of Cluster-Tree Sensor Networks ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks", ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks, Volume 7, Issue 2, Article 14, August 2010.

If you need more information or are interested in collaborating within the COTS4QoS cluster, please contact Mário Alves.