Secure, Scalable Management for Constrained IoT Networks


Millions of IoT devices are being deployed into a range of applications supporting Smart Cities, Smart Grids, Smart Manufacturing, and Smart Agriculture. Many of these devices operate within Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN), characterized by Kbps links, kilometer range, ability to operate for years with limited power, and low cost. One example is the Wi-SUN Field Area Network.

Regardless of the constrained nature of LPWANs, the typical operations for network and device management must still be securely provided:

  • Network join.
  • IP address acquisition.
  • Registration with a device manager.
  • Device configuration.
  • Device performance monitoring.
  • Alarm reporting.
  • Firmware update.
  • Enterprise class security for all of the above.

For LPWANs, these operations require a management tactic suited to the constraints of limited bandwidth, high latencies, lossy links, and limited device compute / power / memory resources.

CoAP Simple Management Protocol

CoAP Simple Management Protocol (CSMP), deployed by Cisco for nearly a decade, is today managing several 10s of millions of devices in a wide range of Industrial IoT applications built atop Cisco Resilient Mesh. Purpose-built for lifecycle management of resource constrained devices and networks, the CSMP protocol stack requires minimum compute, memory and bandwidth. Messaging uses a profile of the Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) and Protocol Buffers to implement efficient device registration, device configuration, firmware update, device status monitoring, and device alerts/faults reporting.

Introducing OpenCSMP

CSMP is a popular choice for device management within Cisco Resilient Mesh and Wi-SUN Field Area Networks, which are deployed at scale for critical infrastructure such as utility metering, utility distribution automation, and municipal street lighting.

Given the growing pressure to expand CSMP into new use cases, Cisco has decided to make CSMP publicly available. To that end, Cisco is announcing the availability of OpenCSMP which will provide …

The OpenCSMP technology stack is depicted below:


The usage of Protocol Buffers and CoAP provides binary message encoding for maximum efficiency for constrained networks. The Platform Abstraction Interface provides for easy porting to various RTOS environments, vendor hardware, and physical networks.

Cisco intends to launch OpenCSMP with a fully functional device agent and companion release of Cisco Field Network Director in Summer 2024. This first release will target Linux and FreeRTOS platforms.

“The announcement of OpenCSMP provides an exciting opportunity to extend proven device management capabilities to the growing ecosystem of 3rd party Wi-SUN and other resource constrained devices. In partnership with the Cisco Field Network Director management tool, customers and partners can scale new solutions for advanced metering or distribution automation with ease“, said Clay Stroud, Product Manager for Field Network Director at Cisco.

A number of prominent IoT silicon vendors are already helping to shape OpenCSMP. The aim is to grow the OpenCSMP user community and capabilities via continuing Cisco and community contributions.

“We welcome Cisco’s decision to open CSMP up to the public. Our R&D team has been working on implementing the protocol on VertexCom Wi-SUN chips so as to ensure that our partners’ devices can meet the stringent requirements of long-range, large-scale networking across diverse application scenarios, from smart metering to smart street lighting and agriculture. OpenCSMP is a step forward towards a more unified device management,” said Benjamin Ou, Assistant Vice President at VertexCom.

“At Silicon Labs we have taken the steps and made the investments to make software a core competency, so that we can make sure that developers have the tools they prefer to build world-class IoT applications,” said Abhijit Grewal, Senior Marketing Director, Smart Cities at Silicon Labs. “Now, Silicon Labs has entered into a Joint Engineering Collaboration with Cisco to bring OpenCSMP to our Wi-SUN FAN 1.0 and 1.1 devices to allow developers to manage these devices through Cisco’s Field Network Director, used by some of the largest utility providers in the world.”

“Renesas is happy to announce that we have integrated Cisco’s OpenCSMP into our Renesas Wi-SUN FAN solution”, said Peter Knazko of Renesas Electronics Corporation and Vice Chairman of the Wi-SUN Alliance. “We recognize the value of Cisco’s OpenCSMP enterprise class network management protocol for challenging industrial IoT applications across a wide variety of segments, from smart metering to smart cities and smart industrial applications.”

To learn more about OpenCSMP…

• Review the OpenCSMP Agent library.
• Review the OpenCSMP Sample Application.
• Review the Developer Guide.
• Learn more about Wi-SUN Field Area Network.

Find more developer resources for building IoT solutions


Paul Duffy

Senior Technical Leader

Enterprise CTO Team / Industrial IoT