A TDMA Ethernet Switch for Dynamic Real-Time Communication

TitleA TDMA Ethernet Switch for Dynamic Real-Time Communication
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsCarvajal, G., and S. Fischmeister
Conference NameProc. of the 18th IEEE Symposium on Field-Programmable Custom Computing Machines (FCCM)
Date PublishedMay
Conference LocationCharlotte, United States
ISBN Number978-0-7695-4056-6
KeywordsNCM, NCM Switch, netfpga

A real-time communication medium must provide a special coordination mechanism to guarantee bounded communication delays. Implementing this mechanism in software offers flexibility but reduces reliability and performance. On the other hand, customized hardware solutions deliver high throughput and predictability, but they increase the implementation cost and are unable to adapt to the specific needs of individual applications. In this work, we introduce a switch that implements a programmable dedicated time-triggered packet switching mechanism on top of Ethernet. The switch, called the Network Code Switch bases on the NetFPGA system and executes flexible but verifiable state-based schedules encoded in the Network Code programming language. This permits the user to tailor the communication behavior to the needs of the distributed application with verifiable performance. We discuss our experience starting at the designing to the implementation of the prototype, and describe how we exploited modularity and code reutilization to reduce the implementation costs and increase the flexibility of the architecture. We also validate our design by evaluating the overhead and throughput of the implemented prototype.

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Looking for motivated students (undergrads and grads) interested in working on embedded software and systems research. Mail Sebastian Fischmeister for further information.