TIMELINESS - Time and mission critical communication in low-power wireless networks

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Project period: februari 2016 – mars 2019
Partners: ABB Corporate Research och Analog Devices
Project manager: Prof. Mikael Gidlund
Researchers: Filip Barac, New PhD Student

Description: The modern solutions in industrial wireless communication are currently unable to fulfill the expectations of process automation. The underlying reason is the lack of resilient communication protocols that are able to seamlessly recover from communication outages. Industrial Wireless Sensor Networks (IWSN) are typically expected to maintain a 99.999% (the so-called "five-nines") reliability and delays at most equal to sensor refresh rates, which can be as low as tens of milliseconds. Process automation functionalities served by the IWSN communication range from process monitoring and closed-loop control to mission-critical applications, such as interlocking. Every blackout in IWSN communication leaves the industrial process unattended, which may lead to serious consequences, such as damage of material assets, the environment and even human safety risks. The protocol design is additionally hindered by the dynamics of industrial environments, caused by the changes in the physical layout of the environment, as well as spurious electromagnetic emissions and interference from other wireless systems. Being a challenging area still in its infancy, the IWSN technology has received significant attention in the wireless sensor community. However, the main inhibitors of research efforts are the inability to understand the distinctive features of IWSN with respect to the classical WSNs, and the effects of industrial environments on wireless propagation. Another critical issue in IWSN communication is the perception of link quality. The IEEE 802.15.4 standard stipulates that every compliant device shall provide two hardware-based channel quality indicators for every received packet: Received Signal Strength (RSS) and Link Quality Indicator (LQI). This project will investigate and propose more reliable channel quality indicators and better coexistence mechanisms.