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Wireless technology for process control in process automation is becoming increasingly important. Especially within the network architectures and transmission protocols, cloud networks (WNC) are creating new opportunities that can be extremely useful to the next generation of wireless quality assurance systems. Newly organized algorithms in wireless ad hoc networks are analyzed in the EU research project "Diwine". Developed here Pepperl + Fuchs working together with various partners to find new solutions for flexible networks.

The research focus of Diwine is focused on optimizing and expanding the existing standards of wireless technologies.

Especially in the field of process automation, only small amounts of data are transmitted, but over large distances. Therefore, radio technology is generally used here, based on mesh networks with 802.15.04 kBaud described in the communication standard IEEE 250. By routing the individual signals over the entire network, a very extensive network structure is possible. The controlling and monitoring intelligence of the entire network is ensured by the central network manager, which synchronizes the entire network. It determines the best path between individual wireless subscribers and allows the subscribers to complete their communication within a defined time window (slot).

In the case of undelivered data, the sensors go into standby mode, saving energy and later trying to deliver the message again. After a certain number of unsuccessful retries, the data is transmitted via an alternative path and thus routed differently.

Develop optimization potential

It would be desirable to have a way which, while retaining the positive characteristics, provides a more flexible and faster network. In the international research project Diwine, Pepperl + Fuchs, together with other partners from industry and research, is developing new algorithms and solutions for wireless ad-hoc networks. The goal is a flexible network that works safely, quickly and reliably even in difficult radio environments.

Decentralized intelligence through cloud

pepperl02152The main concept here is to replace the central network management with decentralized intelligence in the individual radio nodes. Instead of the relatively static tables determined by the central network management, different algorithms occur. By means of information about the radio environment and accessible neighbors, these algorithms give each individual participant the ability to react autonomously and therefore more quickly to disruptions or unplanned requirements. Thus, there is no higher-level controlling instance that manages the complete structure of the network.

The network presents itself to the outside as a cloud. The cloud as a whole ensures a secure and reliable transport of all messages over the mesh network without the need to acknowledge this between the individual participants.

Multicast approach ensures forwarding

If, in the event of an error, it is no longer possible to send via a path, the method described above nevertheless ensures reliable forwarding of the message without significant increase in the signal propagation time, since the forwarding through the multicast approach takes place in parallel and does not wait for the next available time window got to.

The overall project will run for a period of three years. Pepperl + Fuchs as an industrial partner is involved here in the form that demonstrators are built and tested based on existing Wireless Hart products. These demonstrators have both the Wireless Hart and Diwine interfaces and are thus participants in both network architectures. Thus, they combine the advantages of both.
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