A transport protocol for real-time applications in wireless networked control systems

Gui, Li (2010) A transport protocol for real-time applications in wireless networked control systems. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


A Networked Control System (NCS) is a feedback-driven control system wherein the control loops are closed through a real-time network. Control and feedback signals in an NCS are exchanged among the system’s components in the form of information packets via the network. Nowadays, wireless technologies such as IEEE802.11 are being introduced to modern NCSs as they offer better scalability, larger bandwidth and lower costs. However, this type of network is not designed for NCSs because it introduces a large amount of dropped data, and unpredictable and long transmission latencies due to the characteristics of wireless channels, which are not acceptable for real-time control systems. Real-time control is a class of time-critical application which requires lossless data transmission, small and deterministic delays and jitter. For a real-time control system, network-introduced problems may degrade the system’s performance significantly or even cause system instability. It is therefore important to develop solutions to satisfy real-time requirements in terms of delays, jitter and data losses, and guarantee high levels of performance for time-critical communications in Wireless Networked Control Systems (WNCSs). To improve or even guarantee real-time performance in wireless control systems, this thesis presents several network layout strategies and a new transport layer protocol. Firstly, real-time performances in regard to data transmission delays and reliability of IEEE 802.11b-based UDP/IP NCSs are evaluated through simulations. After analysis of the simulation results, some network layout strategies are presented to achieve relatively small and deterministic network-introduced latencies and reduce data loss rates. These are effective in providing better network performance without performance degradation of other services. After the investigation into the layout strategies, the thesis presents a new transport protocol which is more effcient than UDP and TCP for guaranteeing reliable and time-critical communications in WNCSs. From the networking perspective, introducing appropriate communication schemes, modifying existing network protocols and devising new protocols, have been the most effective and popular ways to improve or even guarantee real-time performance to a certain extent. Most previously proposed schemes and protocols were designed for real-time multimedia communication and they are not suitable for real-time control systems. Therefore, devising a new network protocol that is able to satisfy real-time requirements in WNCSs is the main objective of this research project. The Conditional Retransmission Enabled Transport Protocol (CRETP) is a new network protocol presented in this thesis. Retransmitting unacknowledged data packets is effective in compensating for data losses. However, every data packet in realtime control systems has a deadline and data is assumed invalid or even harmful when its deadline expires. CRETP performs data retransmission only in the case that data is still valid, which guarantees data timeliness and saves memory and network resources. A trade-off between delivery reliability, transmission latency and network resources can be achieved by the conditional retransmission mechanism. Evaluation of protocol performance was conducted through extensive simulations. Comparative studies between CRETP, UDP and TCP were also performed. These results showed that CRETP significantly: 1). improved reliability of communication, 2). guaranteed validity of received data, 3). reduced transmission latency to an acceptable value, and 4). made delays relatively deterministic and predictable. Furthermore, CRETP achieved the best overall performance in comparative studies which makes it the most suitable transport protocol among the three for real-time communications in a WNCS.

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ID Code: 45460
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Tian, Yu-Chu, Fidge, Colin J., & Morarji, Hasmukh
Keywords: transport protocol, wireless network, networked control systems, real-time systems, time delay, packet loss
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 25 Aug 2011 05:17
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2011 05:18

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