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Tiny Embedded Network

TEN Protocol The Tiny Embedded Network protocol is an Open Protocol designed to connect several devices in a peer-to-peer logic. Its design has been optimized to minimize the embedded processors resources requirements allowing the implementation even on low-end micros.

I started designing the TEN Protocol when I was looking for a simple network to interconnect some devices in my home automation system. Before thinking of a new protocol I looked at the existing network systems. These are of two kind:

  • industrial strength

  • well standardized and documented, often use custom and pricey hardware and are complex to implement in software; 
  • home brewed

  • mainly based on master-slave architecture, omit to analyze the communication details like bus arbitration or error management.
The TEN protocol employs a CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection) with Exponential Backoff technique to allow different devices to access a shared bus media. Its lowest level is based on asynchronous bits framing to permit the use of embedded UARTs (if available) in order to lower the computing power required by the nodes. Since the network requires no master, the whole system doesn't depend on a single critical device to work properly. 

The Tiny Embedded Network currently defines a "backplane" and a "twisted pair" bus but power line, RF, infrared and optical fiber are easy to implement.

I'm in the final stage of the protocol specification and I plan to have the version 1.0 shortly. If you have some networking and/or embedded programming experience and you are willing to help review them please let me know.

This page is (C)1999 by Marco Di Leo <>