End-to-end security with IPv6 over Bluetooth Smart

December 17, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Available to download, the Nordic Semiconductor nRF5 Software Development Kit (SDK) for the Internet of Things (IoT) enables Bluetooth Smart 'things' employing nRF52 Series SoCs running IPv6 over Bluetooth Smart to be commissioned to a network from a smartphone

Nordic Semiconductor (Oslo, Norway) claims “banking grade” for its end-to-end 'https' type Internet security, that can be added to IPv6 over Bluetooth Smart IoT applications and networks.

nRF5 SDK for IoT allows developers to commission Bluetooth Smart end node 'things' to an IPv6-over-Bluetooth Smart network, from a smartphone app. The SDK also enables the firmware of Bluetooth Smart things to be updated or have application functionality upgraded in-the-field from the Cloud using standard Internet Protocols (IP) for file transfer.

"Security is one of the main concerns in most IoT applications," says Pär Håkansson, Product Marketing Manager at Nordic Semiconductor. "This means not only having an encrypted data link but also ensuring end-to-end native and interoperable IP-based security between the Cloud service and the end-node Bluetooth Smart thing is in place to make sure data is not compromised.

"In addition, making sure the router communicates with the right IoT node in a simple fashion can be a difficult as IoT nodes and routers typically have no real user interface," continues Håkansson. "The nRF5 SDK for IoT solution includes a simple method for commissioning nodes to the router using a mobile phone app. The downloadable release includes an example Android phone app and a daemon to run on the router to support the commissioning process."

The nRF5 SDK for IoT is a complete IPv6-ready IP Suite that runs exclusively on Nordic's market-leading nRF52 Series Bluetooth Smart Systems-on-Chips (SoCs). The nRF52 Series is suitable for battery-powered IoT applications thanks to its Cortex M4-F CPU, RF performance and power efficiency, large memory, and rich peripheral set.

These features enable the nRF52 Series SoC to run a full IPv6 over Bluetooth Smart 'stack' with the added security and support for upgradability today's IoT applications require. nRF52 Series SoCs’ ultra low power consumption ensures multiyear operation for battery-powered IoT products.

The nRF5 SDK for IoT supports the proven banking-class IPs for security such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Open Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) enabling end-to-end security to both Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP)-based communication for IoT applications running IPv6 over Bluetooth Smart.

"With the nRF5 SDK for IoT, Nordic is bringing additional important building blocks to its IPv6 over Bluetooth Smart offering," says Håkansson. "This includes bringing IPv6 over Bluetooth Smart to the security level the market requires while creating a simple model for commissioning Bluetooth Smart end-nodes to routers. The SDK also enables our customers to update and upgrade their products in the field to support new features in the ever-evolving landscape of the IoT using standard IPs for file transfer."