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The Internet of Things (IoT) facilitates the integration of diverse devices, leading to the formation of networks such as Low-power Wireless Personal Area Networks (LoWPANs). These networks have inherent constraints that make header and payload compression an attractive solution to optimise communication. In this work, we evaluate the performance of Generic Header Compression (6LoWPAN-GHC), defined in RFC 7400, for IEEE 802.15.4-based networks running the IPv6 Routing Protocol for Low-Power and Lossy Networks (RPL). Through simulation and real-device experiments, we study the impact of 6LoWPAN-GHC on energy consumption and delays and investigate for which scenarios 6LoWPAN-GHC is beneficial. We show that all RPL control packets are compressible by 6LoWPAN-GHC, which reduces their transmission delay and as such their vulnerability to interference. However, for the devices under study transmitting at 250 kbit/s, the energy gain obtained from sending a compressed packet is outweighed by the energy needed to compress it. The use of 6LoWPAN-GHC causes an energy increase of between 2% and 26%, depending on the RPL packet type. When the range is more important than the bandwidth and a sub-GHz band is used at 10 kbit/s, an energy gain of 11% to 29% can be obtained, depending on the type of RPL control packet.
Original languageEnglish
Article number73
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was in part supported by the Vlaio TETRA Project RustIEC (HBC.2021.0066).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • 6LoWPAN
  • Generic Header Compression
  • Internet of Things
  • Low-power Wireless Personal Area Networks
  • Modified and Improved Header Compression


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