Newsletter 03/2017

Together with partners, Fraunhofer IIS/EAS is working on the development of a real-time wireless communication system in unlicensed radio frequency bands. This should benefit a variety of applications in industrial automation that have to date only been realizable with wired solutions, in some cases only with considerable expense and difficulty.

example of use: industrial automation
example of use: industrial automation

In industrial automation, cycle times under 1 millisecond must be achieved in the communication between sensors and actuators in diverse domains. Many applications also require an especially high rate of data throughput as well as precise predictability of the timing of the data transmission. At this time, only wired systems can meet such real-time requirements. However, connecting mobile sensors and actuators in this way can be extremely difficult and is not always possible.

The solution is wireless communication, but this technology does not yet satisfy the real-time criteria. These systems also lag behind wired systems in terms of reliability. When the unlicensed frequency radio standards used are deployed in adjacent networks, propagation problems as well as mutually disruptive radio nodes or connections can result (coexistence problem).

The goal of the project fast-automation is to research and develop a radio technology with extremely low transmission latencies that meets the real-time requirements of regulation systems in particular. In addition, the technology should be usable in unlicensed ISM frequency bands (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) to enable inexpensive, global adoption. To resolve the coexistence problems between adjacent wireless communication systems, a self-organizing network management concept is being researched in the fast-automation project. This will make it possible to avoid disruptions between adjacent wireless communication systems while minimizing the installation and configuration work for the user. Plug and play operation will therefore be largely possible. The functional capabilities of the system will be verified with a demo. Prototypes will also be produced to investigate the implementability on inexpensive hardware in order to further optimize the cost-efficiency of the overall system.