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The deployment of wireless technologies in industrial networks is very promising mainly due to their inherent flexibility. However, current wireless solutions lack the capability to provide the deterministic, low delay service required by many industrial applications. Moreover, the high level of interference generated by industrial equipment limits the coverage that ensures acceptable performance. Multihop solutions, when combining frame forwarding with higher node density, have the potential to provide the needed coverage while keeping radio communication range short. However, in multihop solutions, the medium access time at each of the nodes traversed additively contributes to the end-to-end delay and the forwarding delay (i.e., the time required for packets to be processed, switched, and queued) at each node is to be added as well. This paper describes time-driven access and forwarding, a solution for guaranteeing deterministic delay, at both the access and forwarding level, in wireless multihop networks, analyzes its properties, and assesses its performance in industrial scenarios.
Date of Publication: May 2009