Dust Networks

Dust Networks
Dust Networks
Type private
Industry specialized semiconductors
Founded 2004
Headquarters 30695 Huntwood Avenue
Hayward, California
Key people Kristofer S. J. Pister, co-founder and CTO
Joy Weiss, President and CEO
Products Wireless sensor network devices
Employees Approximately 45 (2011)
Website www.dustnetworks.com

Dust Networks, Inc. is a company specializing in the design and manufacture of wireless sensor networks for industrial applications including process monitoring, condition monitoring, asset management, Environment, Health and Safety (EH & S) monitoring and power management. They are headquartered in Hayward, California.

Dust Networks works with industry and standards groups such as WirelessHART, IETF, ISA, and WINA to help drive the adoption of interoperable wireless sensor networking products.


Company history

In 1997, Kristofer S. J. Pister, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, conceived of and started the Smart Dust project with DARPA funding.

Smart Dust

The Smart Dust project[1] attempted to demonstrate that a complete sensor/communication system could be integrated into a package one cubic millimeter in size. This involved advances in miniaturization, integration, and energy management. The project focus was independent of any particular sensor, and looked at both commercial and military applications including:

  • Defense-related sensor networks such as battlefield surveillance, treaty monitoring, transportation monitoring, and scud hunting.
  • Virtual keyboard sensors: by attaching miniature remotes on each fingernail, accelerometers could then sense the orientation and motion of each fingertip, and communicate this data to a computer in a wristwatch.
  • Inventory control: by placing miniature sensors on each object in the inventory system (product package, carton, pallet, truck warehouse, internet), each component could "talk" to the next component in the system. This evolved into today's RFID inventory control systems.
  • Product quality monitoring: temperature and humidity monitoring of perishables such as meat, produce, and dairy.
  • Impact, vibration and temperature monitoring of consumer electronics, for failure analysis and diagnostic information, e.g. monitoring the vibration of bearings to detect frequency signatures that may indicate imminent failure.

The project led to the founding of Dust Networks, to provide commercial applications for industrial monitoring and control.


  • July 2002: Dust Networks founded by Pister, Tod Dykstra, Rob Conant and Brett Warneke
  • February 2004: Completes $7 million Series A financing from Foundation Capital, Institutional Venture Partners and In-Q-Tel
  • July 2004: First product delivered - SmartMesh shipping
  • February 2005: Completes $22 million Series B financing from Crescendo Ventures, Cargill Ventures and prior investors
  • March 2005: Launches products based on IEEE 802.15.4 standard in the 2.4 GHz ISM band
  • June 2006: Launches SmartMesh-XT wireless sensor networking system optimized for industrial applications
  • September 2007: WirelessHART standard ratified
  • October 2007: SmartMesh IA-500 family of WirelessHART standards-based systems announced
  • July 2008: Launches initiative focused on the use of Internet Protocol (IP) networking in urban infrastructure, building automation, utility metering, and other wireless sensor networking applications


Wireless sensor networks attempt to increase transmission reliability and quickly adapt should the transmission fail and automatically route around failed links. This requires embedded networking intelligence that establishes, maintains and utilizes redundant multi-hop routing from source to destination.

Dust implements full-mesh networks, sometimes referred to as ‘mesh-to-the-edge’, which provides redundant routing to the edge of the network. In a full-mesh network every device has the same routing capabilities and is able to ‘decide’ where it belongs in the routing structure based on what other nodes it can communicate with, its proximity to the network gateway, and its traffic load. This allows for self-forming and self-healing. The multi-chip modules used to drive these networks are divided into 'gateways' and 'motes' (or mote modules). Gateways then tie back into larger networks used to make decisions within large industrial plants (oil refineries, chemical plants, produce facilities, etc).

The company has evolved from using a proprietary protocol called TSMP (Time Synchronized Mesh Protocol), to Wireless HART to launching an IP-based initiative, in support of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), focused on the use of Internet Protocol (IP) networking in urban infrastructure, building automation, utility metering, and other wireless sensor networking applications.


  1. ^ [1]

External links

Coordinates: 37°37′03″N 122°03′17″W / 37.617529°N 122.054822°W / 37.617529; -122.054822

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