Distributed real-time systems require predictable networks to exchange application data within bounded delays. Switched Ethernet is an attractive networking technology for distributed real-time systems. However, Ethernet devices require special coordination mechanisms to support real-time traffic because of their inherent competitive approach. Embedding coordination units in the network interfaces is a common approach to prevent competition. While hardware scheduling units can operate at line rate with predictable delays at the end-stations, frame processing tasks and buffer management in standard switches introduce high latency and jitter in the path, preventing accurate synchronization between distributed stations.
This project is about:
- Enabling real-time capabilities on top of standard Ethernet
- Deriving efficient application-specific schedules for distributed real-time applications
- Investigating flexibility in the context of safety-critical applications
By intersecting research on formal models and abstractions for dynamic-TDMA arbitration and technological insights of modern reconfigurable architectures, we have developed a comprehensive open-source framework that tackles multiple open challenges in heterogeneous distributed systems, including provision of ultra-low latency and jitter, dynamic bandwidth management, and segmentation of real-time domains within large networks.
The complete framework, including source code for hardware components and software tools, and a detailed description of illustrative examples of the achieved properties in multi-hop Ethernet setting are available on the demonstrator page.