dirtpan, with video

Werner Almesberger werner at almesberger.net
Sun May 15 01:58:25 EDT 2011

With the production of the WPAN boards nearing, I wrote a quick and
dirty hack for making use of them with IP, even before the proper
6LoWPAN stack is ready (and the MAC layer also needs some work).

I call this hack "dirtpan" and it only does IPv4, not IPv6. It uses
TUN/TAP to pass IP packets from the kernel to user space, where the
dirtpan daemon applies some minimum framing and then sends the
packets through the IEEE 802.15.4 kernel stack on their way.

This is all very rough but it kinda works:


dirtpan creates a point-to-point tunnel. It covers up some of the
shortcomings of the current in-kernel IEEE 802.15.4 stack (such as
lack of support for MAC-;ayer acknowledgements), but not all of
them (e.g., CSMA). This leaves its present real-life peformance to
be desired, but it's also a nice tool for monitoring progress, e.g.,
I already improved throughput and stability from devastating to
merely dreadful.

dirtpan lives here:

Build, install, and usage instructions for Ben, etc.:

If you're interested in the making of the video clip (my first
foray into MLT):

- Werner

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