An Open Platform for Mixed-Criticality Real-time Ethernet

Title An Open Platform for Mixed-Criticality Real-time Ethernet

For more than one decade, researchers have considered Ethernet as a natural replacement to legacy fieldbuses in modern distributed applications. However, Ethernet components require special modifications and hardware support to provide strict timing guarantees. In general, the high-cost of deploying hardware components limits the experimental validation of proposed solutions in real-world applications. Despite the vast literature, only a few solutions report real implementations, and they are all closed to the research community, hindering further development for constantly evolving applications.

This paper introduces Atacama, an on-going effort on deploying the first hardware-accelerated and open-source framework for mixed-criticality communication on multi-hop networks. Specialized modules exploit the principles of traditional fieldbus systems to coordinate communication tasks on real-time stations, and can be easily integrated to and coexist with COTS devices operating with best-effort traffic. Experimental characterization of implemented prototypes report minimal jitter on 1Gbps links, and show that real-time guarantees are resilient to injected best-effort traffic. The framework is available as an open-source project, enabling researchers to verify the results, explore, test, and deploy new networking solutions for modern distributed systems in real-world scenarios.

Year of Publication
Conference Name
Proc. of the Conference on Design, Automation and Test in Europe (DATE)
Conference Location
Grenoble, France
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