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Conventionally, in order to control an application over a data network, a specific networked control or teleoperation algorithm to compensate network delay effects is usually required for controller design. Therefore, an existing controller has to be redesigned or replaced by a new controller system. This replacement process is usually costly, inconvenient, and time consuming. In this paper, a novel methodology to enable existing controllers for networked control and teleoperation by middleware is introduced. The proposed methodology uses middleware to modify the output of an existing controller based on a gain scheduling algorithm with respect to the current network traffic conditions. Since the existing controller can still be utilized, this approach could save much time and investment cost. Two examples of the middleware applied for networked control and teleoperation with IP network delays are given in these two companion papers. Part I of these two companion papers introduces the concept of the proposed middleware approach. Formulation, delay modeling, and optimal gain finding based on a cost function for a case study on DC motor speed control with a proportional-integral (PI) controller are also described. Simulation results of the PI controller shows that, with the existence of IP network delays, the middleware can effectively maintain the networked control system performance and stabilize the system. Part II of this paper will cover the use of the proposed middleware concept for a mobile robot teleoperation.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2004