European Research Project Presents New Industrial Wireless Test System
Tuesday, July 23, 2019 | Comments

At the final review of the Celtic-Plus project RelCOvAir – Reliable Industrial Communication Over the Air, the project team, led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS), presented a new test system for industrial wireless communications. The developed test system consists of a software-based and a hardware-based test bed solution.

Both test beds are proof-of-concept solutions for testing the performance of wireless transmission systems, in terms of measuring and evaluating reliability, latency and throughput.

To date, there is lack of standardized methods and test systems for measuring the reliability and general performance of wireless communications systems in industrial scenarios. During the past three years, this problem has been addressed within the RelCOvAir project. The project findings and initial versions of a software and a hardware test bed were presented at the final project review in Magdeburg, Germany, July 18.

Both test beds are based on extensive research. In a first step, the parameters of industrial environments were characterized through intensive channel and interference measurements in typical industrial communications scenarios. These findings were used to build a comprehensive propagation channel model for industrial use cases.

The thereby extended QuaDRiGa channel model is implemented in both test beds. The software test bed offers functions for applying the channel characteristics to PC-based simulation models of wireless communications systems, whereas the hardware test bed includes a channel emulator and serves for testing of real industrial communications hardware.

The project consortium emphasized that great care was taken to disseminate the results and provide the findings to standardization bodies.

“The findings of the project pushed forward the required testing and qualification of wireless transmission as it now becomes feasible to realistically assess the behavior of wireless systems in industrial environments,” said Thomas Heyn, group manager at Fraunhofer IIS and project coordinator. “Standardized rating systems and criteria together with suitable test beds will enable companies to decide from a neutral standpoint on the most suitable transmission system for a given use case.”

The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Business Finland and the Spanish Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda in the framework of the Celtic-Plus Programme. Celtic-Next, formerly Celtic-Plus, is an industry-driven European research initiative to define, perform and finance through public and private funding common research projects in the area of telecommunications, new media, future Internet, and applications and services.

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