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Project develops methods for testing wireless comms

15 August, 2019

A multi-national group of researchers has developed a system for testing wireless industrial communications. They were aiming  to overcome the lack of standardised methods and test systems for measuring the reliability and performance of such systems. The three-year project, called ReICOvAir (Reliable Industrial Communication Over the Air), developed both software- and a hardware-based test beds for evaluating the reliability, latency and throughput of wireless communications systems.

The project, which involved research organisations in Germany, Finland and Spain, was led by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS). It was part of the Celtic-Next programme (previously known as Celtic-Plus) – an industry-driven European research initiative that focuses on telecommunications, new media, future Internet, and “smart connected world” applications and services.

Initially, the project members characterised the parameters of industrial environments through channel and interference measurements in typical industrial communication scenarios. They used the findings to build a propagation channel model and implemented this in both testbeds. The software test bed offers functions for applying the channel characteristics to PC-based simulation models of wireless communication systems, while the hardware testbed includes a channel emulator and is designed to test real industrial communications hardware.

The hardware testbed for assessing the reliability of industrial wireless communication systems, developed as part of the ReICOvAir project

Thomas Heyn, group manager at Fraunhofer IIS and coordinator of the ReICOvAir project, says that as a result of the project it is now “feasible to realistically assess the behaviour of wireless systems in industrial environments. Standardised rating systems and criteria together with suitable testbeds will enable companies to decide from a neutral standpoint on the most suitable transmission system for a given use case.”

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