3. Protocol Overview
The aim of this section is to describe RPL in the spirit of
[RFC4101]. Protocol details can be found in further sections.
This section describes the basic RPL topologies that may be formed,
and the rules by which these are constructed, i.e., the rules
governing DODAG formation.
3.1.1. Constructing Topologies
LLNs, such as Radio Networks, do not typically have predefined
topologies, for example, those imposed by point-to-point wires, so
RPL has to discover links and then select peers sparingly.
In many cases, because Layer 2 ranges overlap only partially, RPL
forms non-transitive / Non-Broadcast Multi-Access (NBMA) network
topologies upon which it computes routes.
RPL routes are optimized for traffic to or from one or more roots
that act as sinks for the topology. As a result, RPL organizes a
topology as a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) that is partitioned into
one or more Destination Oriented DAGs (DODAGs), one DODAG per sink.
If the DAG has multiple roots, then it is expected that the roots are
federated by a common backbone, such as a transit link.
3.1.2. RPL Identifiers
RPL uses four values to identify and maintain a topology:
o The first is a RPLInstanceID. A RPLInstanceID identifies a set of
one or more Destination Oriented DAGs (DODAGs). A network may
have multiple RPLInstanceIDs, each of which defines an independent
set of DODAGs, which may be optimized for different Objective
Functions (OFs) and/or applications. The set of DODAGs identified
by a RPLInstanceID is called a RPL Instance. All DODAGs in the
same RPL Instance use the same OF.
o The second is a DODAGID. The scope of a DODAGID is a RPL
Instance. The combination of RPLInstanceID and DODAGID uniquely
identifies a single DODAG in the network. A RPL Instance may have
multiple DODAGs, each of which has an unique DODAGID.
o The third is a DODAGVersionNumber. The scope of a
DODAGVersionNumber is a DODAG. A DODAG is sometimes reconstructed
from the DODAG root, by incrementing the DODAGVersionNumber. The
combination of RPLInstanceID, DODAGID, and DODAGVersionNumber
uniquely identifies a DODAG Version.
o The fourth is Rank. The scope of Rank is a DODAG Version. Rank
establishes a partial order over a DODAG Version, defining
individual node positions with respect to the DODAG root.
3.1.3. Instances, DODAGs, and DODAG Versions
A RPL Instance contains one or more DODAG roots. A RPL Instance may
provide routes to certain destination prefixes, reachable via the
DODAG roots or alternate paths within the DODAG. These roots may
operate independently, or they may coordinate over a network that is
not necessarily as constrained as an LLN.
A RPL Instance may comprise:
o a single DODAG with a single root
* For example, a DODAG optimized to minimize latency rooted at a
single centralized lighting controller in a Home Automation
o multiple uncoordinated DODAGs with independent roots (differing
* For example, multiple data collection points in an urban data
collection application that do not have suitable connectivity
to coordinate with each other or that use the formation of
multiple DODAGs as a means to dynamically and autonomously
partition the network.
o a single DODAG with a virtual root that coordinates LLN sinks
(with the same DODAGID) over a backbone network.
* For example, multiple border routers operating with a reliable
transit link, e.g., in support of an IPv6 Low-Power Wireless
Personal Area Network (6LoWPAN) application, that are capable
of acting as logically equivalent interfaces to the sink of the
o a combination of the above as suited to some application scenario.
Each RPL packet is associated with a particular RPLInstanceID (see
Section 11.2) and, therefore, RPL Instance (Section 5). The
provisioning or automated discovery of a mapping between a
RPLInstanceID and a type or service of application traffic is out of
scope for this specification (to be defined in future companion
Figure 1 depicts an example of a RPL Instance comprising three DODAGs
with DODAG roots R1, R2, and R3. Each of these DODAG roots
advertises the same RPLInstanceID. The lines depict connectivity
between parents and children.
Figure 2 depicts how a DODAGVersionNumber increment leads to a new
DODAG Version. This depiction illustrates a DODAGVersionNumber
increment that results in a different DODAG topology. Note that a
new DODAG Version does not always imply a different DODAG topology.
To accommodate certain topology changes requires a new DODAG Version,
as described later in this specification.
In the following examples, please note that tree-like structures are
depicted for simplicity, although the DODAG structure allows for each
node to have multiple parents when the connectivity supports it.
3.2.1. Objective Function (OF)
The Objective Function (OF) defines how RPL nodes select and optimize
routes within a RPL Instance. The OF is identified by an Objective
Code Point (OCP) within the DIO Configuration option. An OF defines
how nodes translate one or more metrics and constraints, which are
themselves defined in [RFC6551], into a value called Rank, which
approximates the node's distance from a DODAG root. An OF also
defines how nodes select parents. Further details may be found in
Section 14, [RFC6551], [RFC6552], and related companion
3.2.2. DODAG Repair
A DODAG root institutes a global repair operation by incrementing the
DODAGVersionNumber. This initiates a new DODAG Version. Nodes in
the new DODAG Version can choose a new position whose Rank is not
constrained by their Rank within the old DODAG Version.
RPL also supports mechanisms that may be used for local repair within
the DODAG Version. The DIO message specifies the necessary
parameters as configured from and controlled by policy at the DODAG
RPL supports message confidentiality and integrity. It is designed
such that link-layer mechanisms can be used when available and
appropriate; yet, in their absence, RPL can use its own mechanisms.
RPL has three basic security modes.
In the first, called "unsecured", RPL control messages are sent
without any additional security mechanisms. Unsecured mode does not
imply that the RPL network is unsecure: it could be using other
present security primitives (e.g., link-layer security) to meet
application security requirements.
In the second, called "preinstalled", nodes joining a RPL Instance
have preinstalled keys that enable them to process and generate
secured RPL messages.
The third mode is called "authenticated". In authenticated mode,
nodes have preinstalled keys as in preinstalled mode, but the
preinstalled key may only be used to join a RPL Instance as a leaf.
Joining an authenticated RPL Instance as a router requires obtaining
a key from an authentication authority. The process by which this
key is obtained is out of scope for this specification. Note that
this specification alone does not provide sufficient detail for a RPL
implementation to securely operate in authenticated mode. For a RPL
implementation to operate securely in authenticated mode, it is
necessary for a future companion specification to detail the
mechanisms by which a node obtains/requests the authentication
material (e.g., key, certificate) and to determine from where that
material should be obtained. See also Section 10.3.
3.2.4. Grounded and Floating DODAGs
DODAGs can be grounded or floating: the DODAG root advertises which
is the case. A grounded DODAG offers connectivity to hosts that are
required for satisfying the application-defined goal. A floating
DODAG is not expected to satisfy the goal; in most cases, it only
provides routes to nodes within the DODAG. Floating DODAGs may be
used, for example, to preserve interconnectivity during repair.
3.2.5. Local DODAGs
RPL nodes can optimize routes to a destination within an LLN by
forming a Local DODAG whose DODAG root is the desired destination.
Unlike global DAGs, which can consist of multiple DODAGs, local DAGs
have one and only one DODAG and therefore one DODAG root. Local
DODAGs can be constructed on demand.
3.2.6. Administrative Preference
An implementation/deployment may specify that some DODAG roots should
be used over others through an administrative preference.
Administrative preference offers a way to control traffic and
engineer DODAG formation in order to better support application
requirements or needs.
3.2.7. Data-Path Validation and Loop Detection
The low-power and lossy nature of LLNs motivates RPL's use of on-
demand loop detection using data packets. Because data traffic can
be infrequent, maintaining a routing topology that is constantly up
to date with the physical topology can waste energy. Typical LLNs
exhibit variations in physical connectivity that are transient and
innocuous to traffic, but that would be costly to track closely from
the control plane. Transient and infrequent changes in connectivity
need not be addressed by RPL until there is data to send. This
aspect of RPL's design draws from existing, highly used LLN protocols
as well as extensive experimental and deployment evidence on its
The RPL Packet Information that is transported with data packets
includes the Rank of the transmitter. An inconsistency between the
routing decision for a packet (Upward or Downward) and the Rank
relationship between the two nodes indicates a possible loop. On
receiving such a packet, a node institutes a local repair operation.
For example, if a node receives a packet flagged as moving in the
Upward direction, and if that packet records that the transmitter is
of a lower (lesser) Rank than the receiving node, then the receiving
node is able to conclude that the packet has not progressed in the
Upward direction and that the DODAG is inconsistent.
3.2.8. Distributed Algorithm Operation
A high-level overview of the distributed algorithm, which constructs
the DODAG, is as follows:
o Some nodes are configured to be DODAG roots, with associated DODAG
o Nodes advertise their presence, affiliation with a DODAG, routing
cost, and related metrics by sending link-local multicast DIO
messages to all-RPL-nodes.
o Nodes listen for DIOs and use their information to join a new
DODAG (thus, selecting DODAG parents), or to maintain an existing
DODAG, according to the specified Objective Function and Rank of
o Nodes provision routing table entries, for the destinations
specified by the DIO message, via their DODAG parents in the DODAG
Version. Nodes that decide to join a DODAG can provision one or
more DODAG parents as the next hop for the default route and a
number of other external routes for the associated instance.
3.3. Downward Routes and Destination Advertisement
RPL uses Destination Advertisement Object (DAO) messages to establish
Downward routes. DAO messages are an optional feature for
applications that require point-to-multipoint (P2MP) or point-to-
point (P2P) traffic. RPL supports two modes of Downward traffic:
Storing (fully stateful) or Non-Storing (fully source routed); see
Section 9. Any given RPL Instance is either storing or non-storing.
In both cases, P2P packets travel Up toward a DODAG root then Down to
the final destination (unless the destination is on the Upward
route). In the Non-Storing case, the packet will travel all the way
to a DODAG root before traveling Down. In the Storing case, the
packet may be directed Down towards the destination by a common
ancestor of the source and the destination prior to reaching a DODAG
As of the writing of this specification, no implementation is
expected to support both Storing and Non-Storing modes of operation.
Most implementations are expected to support either no Downward
routes, Non-Storing mode only, or Storing mode only. Other modes of
operation, such as a hybrid mix of Storing and Non-Storing mode, are
out of scope for this specification and may be described in other
This specification describes a basic mode of operation in support of
P2P traffic. Note that more optimized P2P solutions may be described
in companion specifications.
3.4. Local DODAGs Route Discovery
Optionally, a RPL network can support on-demand discovery of DODAGs
to specific destinations within an LLN. Such Local DODAGs behave
slightly differently than Global DODAGs: they are uniquely defined by
the combination of DODAGID and RPLInstanceID. The RPLInstanceID
denotes whether a DODAG is a Local DODAG.
3.5. Rank Properties
The Rank of a node is a scalar representation of the location of that
node within a DODAG Version. The Rank is used to avoid and detect
loops and, as such, must demonstrate certain properties. The exact
calculation of the Rank is left to the Objective Function. Even
though the specific computation of the Rank is left to the Objective
Function, the Rank must implement generic properties regardless of
the Objective Function.
In particular, the Rank of the nodes must monotonically decrease as
the DODAG Version is followed towards the DODAG destination. In that
regard, the Rank can be considered a scalar representation of the
location or radius of a node within a DODAG Version.
The details of how the Objective Function computes Rank are out of
scope for this specification, although that computation may depend,
for example, on parents, link metrics, node metrics, and the node
configuration and policies. See Section 14 for more information.
The Rank is not a path cost, although its value can be derived from
and influenced by path metrics. The Rank has properties of its own
that are not necessarily those of all metrics:
Type: The Rank is an abstract numeric value.
Function: The Rank is the expression of a relative position within a
DODAG Version with regard to neighbors, and it is not
necessarily a good indication or a proper expression of a
distance or a path cost to the root.
Stability: The stability of the Rank determines the stability of the
routing topology. Some dampening or filtering is RECOMMENDED
to keep the topology stable; thus, the Rank does not
necessarily change as fast as some link or node metrics would.
A new DODAG Version would be a good opportunity to reconcile
the discrepancies that might form over time between metrics and
Ranks within a DODAG Version.
Properties: The Rank is incremented in a strictly monotonic fashion,
and it can be used to validate a progression from or towards
the root. A metric, like bandwidth or jitter, does not
necessarily exhibit this property.
Abstract: The Rank does not have a physical unit, but rather a range
of increment per hop, where the assignment of each increment is
to be determined by the Objective Function.
The Rank value feeds into DODAG parent selection, according to the
RPL loop-avoidance strategy. Once a parent has been added, and a
Rank value for the node within the DODAG has been advertised, the
node's further options with regard to DODAG parent selection and
movement within the DODAG are restricted in favor of loop avoidance.
3.5.1. Rank Comparison (DAGRank())
Rank may be thought of as a fixed-point number, where the position of
the radix point between the integer part and the fractional part is
determined by MinHopRankIncrease. MinHopRankIncrease is the minimum
increase in Rank between a node and any of its DODAG parents. A
DODAG root provisions MinHopRankIncrease. MinHopRankIncrease creates
a trade-off between hop cost precision and the maximum number of hops
a network can support. A very large MinHopRankIncrease, for example,
allows precise characterization of a given hop's effect on Rank but
cannot support many hops.
When an Objective Function computes Rank, the Objective Function
operates on the entire (i.e., 16-bit) Rank quantity. When Rank is
compared, e.g., for determination of parent relationships or loop
detection, the integer portion of the Rank is to be used. The
integer portion of the Rank is computed by the DAGRank() macro as
follows, where floor(x) is the function that evaluates to the
greatest integer less than or equal to x:
DAGRank(rank) = floor(rank/MinHopRankIncrease)
For example, if a 16-bit Rank quantity is decimal 27, and the
MinHopRankIncrease is decimal 16, then DAGRank(27) = floor(1.6875) =
1. The integer part of the Rank is 1 and the fractional part is
Following the conventions in this document, using the macro
DAGRank(node) may be interpreted as DAGRank(node.rank), where
node.rank is the Rank value as maintained by the node.
A Node A has a Rank less than the Rank of a Node B if DAGRank(A) is
less than DAGRank(B).
A Node A has a Rank equal to the Rank of a Node B if DAGRank(A) is
equal to DAGRank(B).
A Node A has a Rank greater than the Rank of a Node B if DAGRank(A)
is greater than DAGRank(B).
3.5.2. Rank Relationships
Rank computations maintain the following properties for any nodes M
and N that are neighbors in the LLN:
DAGRank(M) is less than DAGRank(N):
In this case, the position of M is closer to the DODAG root than
the position of N. Node M may safely be a DODAG parent for Node N
without risk of creating a loop. Further, for a Node N, all
parents in the DODAG parent set must be of a Rank less than
DAGRank(N). In other words, the Rank presented by a Node N MUST
be greater than that presented by any of its parents.
DAGRank(M) equals DAGRank(N):
In this case, the positions of M and N within the DODAG and with
respect to the DODAG root are similar or identical. Routing
through a node with equal Rank may cause a routing loop (i.e., if
that node chooses to route through a node with equal Rank as
DAGRank(M) is greater than DAGRank(N):
In this case, the position of M is farther from the DODAG root
than the position of N. Further, Node M may in fact be in the
sub-DODAG of Node N. If Node N selects Node M as DODAG parent,
there is a risk of creating a loop.
As an example, the Rank could be computed in such a way so as to
closely track ETX (expected transmission count, a fairly common
routing metric used in LLN and defined in [RFC6551]) when the metric
that an Objective Function minimizes is ETX, or latency, or in a more
complicated way as appropriate to the Objective Function being used
within the DODAG.
3.6. Routing Metrics and Constraints Used by RPL
Routing metrics are used by routing protocols to compute shortest
paths. Interior Gateway Protocols (IGPs) such as IS-IS ([RFC5120])
and OSPF ([RFC4915]) use static link metrics. Such link metrics can
simply reflect the bandwidth or can also be computed according to a
polynomial function of several metrics defining different link
characteristics. Some routing protocols support more than one
metric: in the vast majority of the cases, one metric is used per
(sub-)topology. Less often, a second metric may be used as a
tiebreaker in the presence of Equal Cost Multiple Paths (ECMPs). The
optimization of multiple metrics is known as an NP-complete problem
and is sometimes supported by some centralized path computation
In contrast, LLNs do require the support of both static and dynamic
metrics. Furthermore, both link and node metrics are required. In
the case of RPL, it is virtually impossible to define one metric, or
even a composite metric, that will satisfy all use cases.
In addition, RPL supports constraint-based routing where constraints
may be applied to both link and nodes. If a link or a node does not
satisfy a required constraint, it is "pruned" from the candidate
neighbor set, thus leading to a constrained shortest path.
An Objective Function specifies the objectives used to compute the
(constrained) path. Furthermore, nodes are configured to support a
set of metrics and constraints and select their parents in the DODAG
according to the metrics and constraints advertised in the DIO
messages. Upstream and Downstream metrics may be merged or
advertised separately depending on the OF and the metrics. When they
are advertised separately, it may happen that the set of DIO parents
is different from the set of DAO parents (a DAO parent is a node to
which unicast DAO messages are sent). Yet, all are DODAG parents
with regard to the rules for Rank computation.
The Objective Function is decoupled from the routing metrics and
constraints used by RPL. Whereas the OF dictates rules such as DODAG
parent selection, load balancing, and so on, the set of metrics
and/or constraints used, and thus those that determine the preferred
path, are based on the information carried within the DAG container
option in DIO messages.
The set of supported link/node constraints and metrics is specified
Example 1: Shortest path: path offering the shortest end-to-end
Example 2: Shortest Constrained path: the path that does not traverse
any battery-operated node and that optimizes the path
3.7. Loop Avoidance
RPL tries to avoid creating loops when undergoing topology changes
and includes Rank-based data-path validation mechanisms for detecting
loops when they do occur (see Section 11 for more details). In
practice, this means that RPL guarantees neither loop-free path
selection nor tight delay convergence times, but it can detect and
repair a loop as soon as it is used. RPL uses this loop detection to
ensure that packets make forward progress within the DODAG Version
and trigger repairs when necessary.
3.7.1. Greediness and Instability
A node is greedy if it attempts to move deeper (increase Rank) in the
DODAG Version in order to increase the size of the parent set or
improve some other metric. Once a node has joined a DODAG Version,
RPL disallows certain behaviors, including greediness, in order to
prevent resulting instabilities in the DODAG Version.
Suppose a node is willing to receive and process a DIO message from a
node in its own sub-DODAG and, in general, a node deeper than itself.
In this case, a possibility exists that a feedback loop is created,
wherein two or more nodes continue to try and move in the DODAG
Version while attempting to optimize against each other. In some
cases, this will result in instability. It is for this reason that
RPL limits the cases where a node may process DIO messages from
deeper nodes to some form of local repair. This approach creates an
"event horizon", whereby a node cannot be influenced beyond some
limit into an instability by the action of nodes that may be in its
22.214.171.124. Example: Greedy Parent Selection and Instability
(A) (A) (A)
|\ |\ |\
| `-----. | `-----. | `-----.
| \ | \ | \
(B) (C) (B) \ | (C)
\ | | /
`-----. | | .-----'
-1- -2- -3-
Figure 3: Greedy DODAG Parent SelectionFigure 3 depicts a DODAG in three different configurations. A usable
link between (B) and (C) exists in all three configurations. In
Figure 3-1, Node (A) is a DODAG parent for Nodes (B) and (C). In
Figure 3-2, Node (A) is a DODAG parent for Nodes (B) and (C), and
Node (B) is also a DODAG parent for Node (C). In Figure 3-3, Node
(A) is a DODAG parent for Nodes (B) and (C), and Node (C) is also a
DODAG parent for Node (B).
If a RPL node is too greedy, in that it attempts to optimize for an
additional number of parents beyond its most preferred parents, then
an instability can result. Consider the DODAG illustrated in
Figure 3-1. In this example, Nodes (B) and (C) may most prefer Node
(A) as a DODAG parent, but we will consider the case when they are
operating under the greedy condition that will try to optimize for
o Let Figure 3-1 be the initial condition.
o Suppose Node (C) first is able to leave the DODAG and rejoin at a
lower Rank, taking both Nodes (A) and (B) as DODAG parents as
depicted in Figure 3-2. Now Node (C) is deeper than both Nodes
(A) and (B), and Node (C) is satisfied to have two DODAG parents.
o Suppose Node (B), in its greediness, is willing to receive and
process a DIO message from Node (C) (against the rules of RPL),
and then Node (B) leaves the DODAG and rejoins at a lower Rank,
taking both Nodes (A) and (C) as DODAG parents. Now Node (B) is
deeper than both Nodes (A) and (C) and is satisfied with two DAG
o Then, Node (C), because it is also greedy, will leave and rejoin
deeper, to again get two parents and have a lower Rank then both
o Next, Node (B) will again leave and rejoin deeper, to again get
o Again, Node (C) leaves and rejoins deeper.
o The process will repeat, and the DODAG will oscillate between
Figure 3-2 and Figure 3-3 until the nodes count to infinity and
restart the cycle again.
o This cycle can be averted through mechanisms in RPL:
* Nodes (B) and (C) stay at a Rank sufficient to attach to their
most preferred parent (A) and don't go for any deeper (worse)
alternate parents (Nodes are not greedy).
* Nodes (B) and (C) do not process DIO messages from nodes deeper
than themselves (because such nodes are possibly in their own
These mechanisms are further described in Section 126.96.36.199.
3.7.2. DODAG Loops
A DODAG loop may occur when a node detaches from the DODAG and
reattaches to a device in its prior sub-DODAG. In particular, this
may happen when DIO messages are missed. Strict use of the
DODAGVersionNumber can eliminate this type of loop, but this type of
loop may possibly be encountered when using some local repair
For example, consider the local repair mechanism that allows a node
to detach from the DODAG, advertise a Rank of INFINITE_RANK (in order
to poison its routes / inform its sub-DODAG), and then reattach to
the DODAG. In some of these cases, the node may reattach to its own
prior-sub-DODAG, causing a DODAG loop, because the poisoning may fail
if the INFINITE_RANK advertisements are lost in the LLN environment.
(In this case, the Rank-based data-path validation mechanisms would
eventually detect and trigger correction of the loop).
3.7.3. DAO Loops
A DAO loop may occur when the parent has a route installed upon
receiving and processing a DAO message from a child, but the child
has subsequently cleaned up the related DAO state. This loop happens
when a No-Path (a DAO message that invalidates a previously announced
prefix, see Section 6.4.3) was missed and persists until all state
has been cleaned up. RPL includes an optional mechanism to
acknowledge DAO messages, which may mitigate the impact of a single
DAO message being missed. RPL includes loop detection mechanisms
that mitigate the impact of DAO loops and trigger their repair. (See
4. Traffic Flows Supported by RPL
RPL supports three basic traffic flows: multipoint-to-point (MP2P),
point-to-multipoint (P2MP), and point-to-point (P2P).
4.1. Multipoint-to-Point Traffic
Multipoint-to-point (MP2P) is a dominant traffic flow in many LLN
applications ([RFC5867], [RFC5826], [RFC5673], and [RFC5548]). The
destinations of MP2P flows are designated nodes that have some
application significance, such as providing connectivity to the
larger Internet or core private IP network. RPL supports MP2P
traffic by allowing MP2P destinations to be reached via DODAG roots.
4.2. Point-to-Multipoint Traffic
Point-to-multipoint (P2MP) is a traffic pattern required by several
LLN applications ([RFC5867], [RFC5826], [RFC5673], and [RFC5548]).
RPL supports P2MP traffic by using a destination advertisement
mechanism that provisions Down routes toward destinations (prefixes,
addresses, or multicast groups), and away from roots. Destination
advertisements can update routing tables as the underlying DODAG
4.3. Point-to-Point Traffic
RPL DODAGs provide a basic structure for point-to-point (P2P)
traffic. For a RPL network to support P2P traffic, a root must be
able to route packets to a destination. Nodes within the network may
also have routing tables to destinations. A packet flows towards a
root until it reaches an ancestor that has a known route to the
destination. As pointed out later in this document, in the most
constrained case (when nodes cannot store routes), that common
ancestor may be the DODAG root. In other cases, it may be a node
closer to both the source and destination.
RPL also supports the case where a P2P destination is a 'one-hop'
RPL neither specifies nor precludes additional mechanisms for
computing and installing potentially more optimal routes to support
arbitrary P2P traffic.
5. RPL Instance
Within a given LLN, there may be multiple, logically independent RPL
Instances. A RPL node may belong to multiple RPL Instances, and it
may act as a router in some and as a leaf in others. This document
describes how a single instance behaves.
There are two types of RPL Instances: Local and Global. RPL divides
the RPLInstanceID space between Global and Local instances to allow
for both coordinated and unilateral allocation of RPLInstanceIDs.
Global RPL Instances are coordinated, have one or more DODAGs, and
are typically long-lived. Local RPL Instances are always a single
DODAG whose singular root owns the corresponding DODAGID and
allocates the local RPLInstanceID in a unilateral manner. Local RPL
Instances can be used, for example, for constructing DODAGs in
support of a future on-demand routing solution. The mode of
operation of Local RPL Instances is out of scope for this
specification and may be described in other companion specifications.
The definition and provisioning of RPL Instances are out of scope for
this specification. Guidelines may be application and implementation
specific, and they are expected to be elaborated in future companion
specifications. Those operations are expected to be such that data
packets coming from the outside of the RPL network can unambiguously
be associated to at least one RPL Instance and be safely routed over
any instance that would match the packet.
Control and data packets within RPL network are tagged to
unambiguously identify of which RPL Instance they are a part.
Every RPL control message has a RPLInstanceID field. Some RPL
control messages, when referring to a local RPLInstanceID as defined
below, may also include a DODAGID.
Data packets that flow within the RPL network expose the
RPLInstanceID as part of the RPL Packet Information that RPL
requires, as further described in Section 11.2. For data packets
coming from outside the RPL network, the ingress router determines
the RPLInstanceID and places it into the resulting packet that it
injects into the RPL network.
5.1. RPL Instance ID
A global RPLInstanceID MUST be unique to the whole LLN. Mechanisms
for allocating and provisioning global RPLInstanceID are out of scope
for this specification. There can be up to 128 Global instance in
the whole network. Local instances are always used in conjunction
with a DODAGID (which is either given explicitly or implicitly in
some cases), and up 64 Local instances per DODAGID can be supported.
Local instances are allocated and managed by the node that owns the
DODAGID, without any explicit coordination with other nodes, as
further detailed below.
A global RPLInstanceID is encoded in a RPLInstanceID field as
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
|0| ID | Global RPLInstanceID in 0..127
Figure 4: RPLInstanceID Field Format for Global Instances
A local RPLInstanceID is autoconfigured by the node that owns the
DODAGID and it MUST be unique for that DODAGID. The DODAGID used to
configure the local RPLInstanceID MUST be a reachable IPv6 address of
the node, and it MUST be used as an endpoint of all communications
within that Local instance.
A local RPLInstanceID is encoded in a RPLInstanceID field as follows:
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
|1|D| ID | Local RPLInstanceID in 0..63
Figure 5: RPLInstanceID Field Format for Local Instances
The 'D' flag in a local RPLInstanceID is always set to 0 in RPL
control messages. It is used in data packets to indicate whether the
DODAGID is the source or the destination of the packet. If the 'D'
flag is set to 1, then the destination address of the IPv6 packet
MUST be the DODAGID. If the 'D' flag is cleared, then the source
address of the IPv6 packet MUST be the DODAGID.
For example, consider a Node A that is the DODAG root of a Local RPL
Instance, and has allocated a local RPLInstanceID. By definition,
all traffic traversing that Local RPL Instance will either originate
or terminate at Node A. In this case, the DODAGID will be the
reachable IPv6 address of Node A. All traffic will contain the
address of Node A, and thus the DODAGID, in either the source or
destination address. Thus, the local RPLInstanceID may indicate that
the DODAGID is equivalent to either the source address or the
destination address by setting the 'D' flag appropriately.