The IEEE P1906.1 - Recommended Practice for Nanoscale and Molecular Communication Framework[1] is a standards working group sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society Standards Development Board whose goal is to develop a common framework for nanoscale and molecular communication.[2] Because this is an emerging technology, the standard is designed to encourage innovation by reaching consensus on a common definition, terminology, framework, goals, metrics, and use-cases that encourage innovation and enable the technology to advance at a faster rate. The draft passed an initial sponsor balloting with comments on January 2, 2015. The comments were addressed by the working group and the resulting draft ballot passed again on August 17, 2015. Finally, additional material regarding SBML was contributed and the final draft passed again on October 15, 2015. The draft standard was approved by IEEE RevCom in the final quarter of 2015.


Working group membership includes experts in industry and academia with strong backgrounds in mathematical modeling, engineering, physics, economics and biological sciences.[3]


Electronic components such as transistors, or electrical/electromagnetic message carriers whose operation is similar at the macroscale and nanoscale are excluded from the definition. A human-engineered, synthetic component must form part of the system because it is important to avoid standardizing nature or physical processes. The definition of communication, particularly in the area of cell-surface interactions as viewed by biologists versus non-biologists has been a topic of debate. The interface is viewed as a communication channel, whereas the 'receptor-signaling-gene expression' events are the network.

The draft currently comprises: definition, terminology, framework, metrics, use-cases, and reference code (ns-3).[4]

The standard provides a very broad foundation and encompasses all approaches to nanoscale communication. While there have been many superficial academic attempts to classify nanoscale communication approaches, the standard considers two fundamental approaches: waves and particles. This includes any hybrid of the two as well as quasiparticles.

A unique contribution of the standard is an ns-3 reference model that enables users to build upon the standard components.






Reference model


Applications are numerous, however, there appears to be strong emphasis on medical and biological use-cases in nanomedicine.

Simulation software

The IEEE P1906.1 working group is developing ns-3 nanoscale simulation software that implements the IEEE 1906.1 standard and serves as a reference model and base for development of a wide-variety of interoperable small-scale communication physical layer models.[9]

Literature review

The Best Readings on nanoscale communication networks provides good background information related to the standard.[10] The Topics section breaks down the information using the standard approach.[11]

Building on IEEE 1906.1

IEEE 1906.1 is the foundation for nanoscale communication. Additional standards are expected to build upon it.

IEEE 1906.1.1 Standard Data Model for Nanoscale Communication Systems The Standard Data Model for Nanoscale Communication Systems defines a network management and configuration data model for nanoscale communication.[12] This data model has several goals:

The data model is written in YANG and will enable remote configuration and operation of nanoscale communication over the Internet using NETCONF.


  1. ^ IEEE Recommended Practice for Nanoscale and Molecular Communication Framework. 2016-01-01. pp. 1–64. doi:10.1109/IEEESTD.2016.7378262. ISBN 978-1-5044-0101-2.
  2. ^ IEEE P1906.1 - Recommended Practice for Nanoscale and Molecular Communication Framework
  3. ^ IEEE COM/Nanoscale and Molecular Communications Working Group
  4. ^ Bush, S.; Paluh, J.; Piro, G.; Rao, V.; Prasad, V.; Eckford, A., "Defining Communication at the Bottom," in Molecular, Biological and Multi-Scale Communications, IEEE Transactions on, vol.PP, no.99, pp.1-1.
  5. ^ Bush, S.F.; Goel, S., "Persistence Length as a Metric for Modeling and Simulation of Nanoscale Communication Networks," Selected Areas in Communications, IEEE Journal on, vol.31, no.12, pp.815-824, December 2013 doi: 10.1109/JSAC.2013.SUP2.12130014.
  6. ^ 1906 NS-3 Electromagnetic Model
  7. ^ 1906 NS-3 Diffusion Model
  8. ^ 1906 NS-3 Molecular Motor Model
  9. ^ 1906 NS-3 Electromagnetic Model
  12. ^ IEEE 1906.1.1 - Standard Data Model for Nanoscale Communication Systems