Industrial Wireless Networks - Robust and Interference-Aware Real-Time Communication
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Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Falko Dressler, University of Innsbruck - The key questions for successfully using wireless sensor network technology in industrial environments are robustness and real-time capabilities. We discuss the applicability of IEEE 802.15.4 for application in industrial automation. Based on the specific requirements in this field, we analyzed the weaknesses of the standard protocol and proposed a novel MAC protocol that keeps the original PHY definition in order to work using available IEEE 802.15.4 chipsets. In earlier work, we analytically derived the worst case latency for using the improved protocol version in typical industrial setups. We now also implemented this protocol version in a simulation environment in order to show the typical behavior in the network taking into account typical channel conditions. We performed extensive simulation experiments that show the limitations of the standard protocol and that demonstrate the capabilities of the new protocol in a selected automation scenario. Our protocol variant has been used as a basis for the IEEE 802.15.4e standard. Our ongoing work is now focusing on interferer detection and identification to provide a higher level of robustness to the protocol operation.