Load Balanced Routing for Low Power and Lossy Networks

The RPL routing protocol published in RFC 6550 was designed for efficient and reliable data collection in lowpower and lossy networks. Specifically, it constructs a Destination Oriented Directed Acyclic Graph (DODAG) for data forwarding. However, due to the uneven deployment of sensor nodes in large areas, and the heterogeneous traffic patterns in the network, some sensor nodes may have much heavier workload in terms of packets forwarded than others. Such unbalanced workload distribution will result in these sensor nodes quickly exhausting their energy, and therefore shorten the overall network lifetime. In this paper, we propose a load balanced routing protocol based on the RPL protocol, named LB-RPL, to achieve balanced workload distribution in the network. Targeted at the low-power and lossy network environments, LB-RPL detects workload imbalance in a distributed and non-intrusive fashion. In addition, it optimizes the data forwarding path by jointly considering both workload distribution and link-layer communication qualities. We demonstrate the performance superiority of our LB-RPL protocol over original RPL through extensive simulations.