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On the Performance of IEEE 802.11e Wireless Infrastructures for Soft-Real-Time Industrial Applications

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4 Author(s)
Cena, G. ; Ist. di Elettron. e di Ing. dell''Inf. e delle Telecomun. (IEIIT), Politec. di Torino, Turin, Italy ; Seno, L. ; Valenzano, A. ; Zunino, C.

Nowadays, wireless communication technologies are being employed in an ever increasing number of different application areas, including industrial environments. Benefits deriving from such a choice are manifold and include, among the others, reduced deployment costs, enhanced flexibility and support for mobility. Unfortunately, because of a number of reasons that have been largely debated in the literature, wireless systems cannot be thought of as a means able to fully replace wired networks in production plants, in particular, when real-time behavior is a key issue. In this paper, an analysis of the real-time performance that can be achieved in quality-of-service (QoS)-enabled 802.11 networks has been carried out. In particular, a detailed analysis of latencies and packet loss ratios for a typical enhanced distributed channel access (EDCA) infrastructure wireless local area network (WLAN) is presented, obtained through numerical simulations. A number of aspects that may affect suitability for the use in control systems have been taken into account, including the Transmission Opportunity (TXOP) mechanism, the internal architecture of the AP, the use of a time-division multiple access (TDMA)-based communication scheme as well as the adoption of broadcast communications.

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Industrial Informatics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 3 )