Atacama: An Open FPGA-based Platform for Mixed-Criticality Communication in Multi-segmented Ethernet Networks

TitleAtacama: An Open FPGA-based Platform for Mixed-Criticality Communication in Multi-segmented Ethernet Networks
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsCarvajal, G., M. Figueroa, R. Trausmuth, and S. Fischmeister
Conference NameProc. of the 21st IEEE International Symposium on Field-Programmable Custom Computing Machines (FCCM)
Date PublishedApril
Keywordsreal-time ethernet, real-time networking

Ethernet is widely recognized as an attractive networking technology for modern distributed real-time systems. However, standard Ethernet components require specific modifications and hardware support to provide strict latency guarantees necessary for safety-critical applications. Although this is a well-stated fact, the design of hardware components for real-time communication remains mostly unexplored. This becomes evident from the few solutions reporting prototypes and experimental validation, which hinders the consolidation of Ethernet in real-world distributed applications. This paper presents Atacama, the first open-source framework based on reconfigurable hardware for mixed-criticality communication in multi-segmented Ethernet networks. Atacamauses specialized modules for time-triggered communication of real-time data, which seamlessly integrate with a standard infrastructure using regular best-effort traffic. Atacama enables low and highly predictable communication latency on multi-segmented 1Gbps networks, easy optimization of devices for specific application scenarios, and rapid prototyping of new protocol characteristics. Researchers can use the open-source design to verify our results and build upon the framework, which aims to accelerate the development, validation, and adoption of Ethernet-based solutions in real-time applications.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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