Cisco Seeks to Protect Blockchain System for IoT Device Tracking

In a new patent filing, tech giant Cisco describes a blockchain management system for monitoring Internet of Things devices on a network.

Oct 20, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:03 a.m. UTC

Tech conglomerate Cisco Systems has proposed a blockchain system to track Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

In an application released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, the technology giant outlined a blockchain platform that can identify different connected devices, monitor their activity and evaluate how trustworthy the device is when connected to a network.

The system is also said to be able to automatically register and assess new devices as they are added to the network, by comparing their performance to devices already on the blockchain.

The filing specifically refers to "low-power and lossy networks" (LLNs), which usually run smart grid-type systems and may be composed of sensors, according to the release. Due to their environments and general design, these devices may suffer from reliability issues.

LLNs may be composed of anywhere "from a few dozen and up to thousands or even millions of LLN routers," it explains. The number of LLNs is growing as well, as previously non-networked sensors and devices become increasingly connected to the internet.

As a result, the proposed system aims to improve the process by which devices are monitored, something the concept's authors say is "key" for the Internet of Things:

"Particularly in the context of the IoT and similar networks, device identity and management is a key building block for a viable end-to-end solution. Depending on the particular use case, a 'thing' may have to register or authenticate its identity with different service enablers that may use various service-specific procedures."

Automating the system using a blockchain is just one of Cisco's proposed solutions for efficiently adding devices to different networks.

Back in April, Cisco was one of several companies to announce an IoT protocol that registers devices using a blockchain-compatible application program interface, or API.

Network cables image via Shutterstock

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