TCP in the Internet of Things: from ostracism to prominence

09 Oct 2017

TCP has traditionally been neglected as a transport-layer protocol for the Internet of Things (IoT). However, recent trends and industry needs are favouring TCP presence in IoT environments. In this paper, we first motivate and describe the main IoT scenarios where TCP will be used. We then analyze the historically claimed issues of TCP in the IoT context. We argue that, in contrast to generally accepted wisdom, most of those possible issues fall in one of the following categories: i) are also found in well accepted IoT end-to-end reliability mechanisms, ii) can be solved, or iii) are not actual issues. Considering the future prominent role of TCP in the IoT, we provide recommendations for lightweight TCP implementation and suitable operation in such scenarios, based on our IETF standardization work on the topic.