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Control systems have invariably been built using a centralised controller connected to outlying sensors and actuators. Even large scale distributed systems are based upon a similar architecture using more localised controllers reporting back to a central device. These systems are heavily dependant an individual system elements to continue functioning, expansion is difficult and fault tolerance is comparatively low. Recently systems based upon distributed control devices physically located at the device locale have been designed. Consideration has to be given to the most suitable form of such control networks and the best software architectures to apply to them. This paper covers the application of local operating networks with particular reference to distributed robot control.