Design and implementation of a high-performance hybrid network for industrial applications with real-time requirements
- DIRECTORS: Iñaki Val Beitia, Jesús Alberto López Fernández
- UNIVERSITY: Universidad de Oviedo
Real-Time applications in the scope of the industry 4.0. require communication systems with very challenging features, such as low latency, ultra-reliability, determinism, flexibility, and reconfigurability. These challenges are mostly solved in wired networks, and, consequently, industrial applications are usually built with wired technologies (Ethernet, fiber links). As in the consumer market, where wireless communications have been progressively replacing wired communications at the edge of the network, wireless is now being considered in industrial applications as the key driver to achieve the industry 4.0. vision. The main reasons behind the interest in industrial wireless are their lower commissioning costs, higher scalability, flexibility, and the possibility of free movement of the wireless nodes. Nonetheless, the design of a wireless solution that can be seamlessly used in industrial environments is a serious challenge, and nowadays wireless systems struggle to fulfill the industry 4.0. requirements. The causes are diverse, though most of the challenges in industrial wireless are derived, first, from the unpredictable behavior of the wireless transmission medium, which is especially harsh in industrial environments, and second, from the stringent requirements of industrial applications.
This thesis proposes several solutions to reduce the gap between the performance of industrial wired and wireless communications. In the first place, the challenges of wireless synchronization are studied over realistic conditions, and two wireless synchronization schemes are proposed and evaluated through simulation and experimental means. In the second place, a portable channel sounder is designed and implemented based on one of the wireless synchronization schemes. Compared to a traditional channel sounder, the one developed during this thesis is simpler to use, more flexible, and more cost-effective. Finally, a high-performance industrial wireless system named w‑SHARP is designed, implemented in a hardware-based Software Defined Radio platform, and validated under a realistic industrial environment. The performance evaluation through the hardware testbed demonstrates that w-SHARP outperforms 5G and 802.11ax for Real-Time industrial applications.