Smart City Living Lab Series: Making Hyderabad, India a Smarter City with Wi-SUN

05/23/2023 | Silicon Labs | 2 Min Read

Specifically designed for smart cities, Wireless Smart Ubiquitous Network (Wi-SUN) is a protocol for low-power Internet of Things (IoT) mesh networks. With its scalability, security, interoperability, and support for a wide range of existing and emerging apps, Wi-SUN is an excellent foundation for sustainable city operations and, ultimately, better quality of life for residents. 

Cities around the world are leaning on smart technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and wasted resources. “Smart cities” are urban areas using IoT advances to efficiently manage city assets. This requires digitizing aspects of modern urban life, including utilities, civic services, traffic control and public transport, and water and waste networks. 

Based on IPv6 and IEEE 802.15.4g/e, Wi-SUN is the leading open-standard IPv6 sub-GHz mesh technology for municipal service providers. It can be used for large-scale outdoor IoT wireless communication networks in a wide range of applications, including both line-powered and battery-powered nodes. Silicon Labs is a Wi-SUN Alliance Promoter Member.


Wi-SUN Network Components

As shown in the diagram below, Wi-SUN consists of a border router (BR), router node, and leaf node. Wi-SUN is a field area network (FAN) and can operate in a full mesh or star topology. 

Border Router Node: Provides wide-area network (WAN) connectivity to FAN, maintains source routing tables, and controls node authentication and key management services

Router Node: Controls upward and downward packet forwarding

Leaf Node: Offers minimum capabilities, mostly battery-operated sensor nodes 

Smart City Living Lab at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, India (IIIT-H)

Under the Smart Cities Mission, a new initiative by the government of India, there’s momentum behind the effort to implement smart city technologies to drive economic growth and local development. To leverage the expertise of the institute in this effort and nurture the development of urban innovation, IIIT-H established a Center of Excellence on IoT for Smart Cities in January 2019.

IIIT-H is applying its smart city approach to establish a Smart City Living Lab on campus that duplicates an urban area and aims to enhance quality of life in three value domains: social, economic, and environmental. The goal is to create a proof of concept for smart cities.

The Smart City Living Lab was made possible by support from the India-EU project and the European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC). As interest in the project grows, there’s potential for support from other knowledge partners like LAAS-CNRS, Bordeaux Metropole, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), and the State Government of Telangana, Hyderabad.  


Wi-SUN Mesh Network Deployment Scope at the IIIT-H Smart City Living Lab

The IIIT-H campus is already a testbed for various start-ups, so there are existing sensor networks monitoring different verticals such as water, energy, air pollution, solar generation, etc. To expand the Smart City Living Lab, a campus-wide network of Wi-SUN nodes will control streetlights based on weather conditions. The goal is to convert about 100 streetlights to Wi-SUN smart streetlights and connect nearby sensor nodes to the Wi-SUN mesh network. Light poles fitted with router nodes will act as the backbone for the network.

Various sensors, both line-powered and battery-powered, will be connected as end nodes / Limited Function Nodes (LFN) to form a robust Wi-SUN mesh. In such a large area, a dense network of stationary nodes is critical for enabling the deployment and demonstration of Wi-SUN beyond streetlights. The network of stationary nodes (both border router and router nodes) is based on custom hardware using the Silicon Labs EFR32FG12 sub-GHz wireless radio boards and an off-the-shelf controller board


The dashboard above shows router nodes on the light poles


Series 1/Phase 1: Highlights

  • 30 router nodes based on FG12 radio placed on light poles in the campus; border router (BR) placed in the Smart City Living Lab
  • FAN 1.0 enabled router nodes and BR - controls streetlights ON/OFF
  • FSK bit rates of 50 Kbps
  • Latency and RSSI displayed on dashboard from Wi-SUN FAN1.0 network
  • Wi-SUN mesh FAN 1.0 deployment occurred in October 2022 

Over the course of four phases, IIIT-H plans to complete the Wi-SUN network Smart City PoC by the end of Q3 2023, and we'll be documenting the project in future blog posts. To learn more about LPWAN development, don't miss our LPWAN-specific Tech Talk series, which features interactive training sessions on topics important for large-scale smart city, utility, and industrial IoT application development. 

Check out the second part of this blog series, Smart City Living Lab Wi-SUN FAN 1.1 Mesh Deployment - Phase 2


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