Buffer analysis and message scheduling for real-time networks

  • For many years, most distributed real-time systems employed data communication systems specially tailored to address the specific requirements of individual domains: for instance, Controlled Area Network (CAN) and Flexray in the automotive domain, ARINC 429 [FW10] and TTP [Kop95] in the aerospace domain. Some of these solutions were expensive, and eventually not well understood. Mostly driven by the ever decreasing costs, the application of such distributed real-time system have drastically increased in the last years in different domains. Consequently, cross-domain communication systems are advantageous. Not only the number of distributed real-time systems have been increasing but also the number of nodes per system, have drastically increased, which in turn increases their network bandwidth requirements. Further, the system architectures have been changing, allowing for applications to spread computations among different computer nodes. For example, modern avionics systems moved from federated to integrated modular architecture, also increasing the network bandwidth requirements. Ethernet (IEEE 802.3) [iee12] is a well established network standard. Further, it is fast, easy to install, and the interface ICs are cheap [Dec05]. However, Ethernet does not offer any temporal guarantee. Research groups from academia and industry have presented a number of protocols merging the benefits of Ethernet and the temporal guarantees required by distributed real-time systems. Two of these protocols are: Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet (AFDX) [AFD09] and Time-Triggered Ethernet (TTEthernet) [tim16]. In this dissertation, we propose solutions for two problems faced during the design of AFDX and TTEthernet networks: avoiding data loss due to buffer overflow in AFDX networks with multiple priority traffic, and scheduling of TTEthernet networks. AFDX guarantees bandwidth separation and bounded transmission latency for each communication channel. Communication channels in AFDX networks are not synchronized, and therefore frames might compete for the same output port, requiring buffering to avoid data loss. To avoid buffer overflow and the resulting data loss, the network designer must reserve a safe, but not too pessimistic amount of memory of each buffer. The current AFDX standard allows for the classification of the network traffic with two priorities. Nevertheless, some commercial solutions provide multiple priorities, increasing the complexity of the buffer backlog analysis. The state-of-the-art AFDX buffer backlog analysis does not provide a method to compute deterministic upper bounds iiifor buffer backlog of AFDX networks with multiple priority traffic. Therefore, in this dissertation we propose a method to address this open problem. Our method is based on the analysis of the largest busy period encountered by frames stored in a buffer. We identify the ingress (and respective egress) order of frames in the largest busy period that leads to the largest buffer backlog, and then compute the respective buffer backlog upper bound. We present experiments to measure the computational costs of our method. In TTEthernet, nodes are synchronized, allowing for message transmission at well defined points in time, computed off-line and stored in a conflict-free scheduling table. The computation of such scheduling tables is a NP-complete problem [Kor92], which should be solved in reasonable time for industrial size networks. We propose an approach to efficiently compute a schedule for the TT communication channels in TTEthernet networks, in which we model the scheduling problem as a search tree. As the scheduler traverses the search tree, it schedules the communication channels on a physical link. We presented two approaches to traverse the search tree while progressively creating the vertices of the search tree. A valid schedule is found once the scheduler reaches a valid leaf. If on the contrary, it reaches an invalid leaf, the scheduler backtracks searching for a path to a valid leaf. We present a set of experiments to demonstrate the impact of the input parameters on the time taken to compute a feasible schedule or to deem the set of virtual links infeasible.

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Author:Rodrigo Ferreira Coelho
Advisor:Gerhard Fohler
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Language of publication:English
Date of Publication (online):2017/11/28
Year of first Publication:2017
Publishing Institution:Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Granting Institution:Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Acceptance Date of the Thesis:2017/11/21
Date of the Publication (Server):2017/11/28
Tag:AFDX; Backlog; Buffer; Network; Real-Time; Scheduler; TTEthernet; Time-Triggered; Upper bound
Page Number:XXI, 140
Faculties / Organisational entities:Kaiserslautern - Fachbereich Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik
DDC-Cassification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 621.3 Elektrotechnik, Elektronik
Licence (German):Creative Commons 4.0 - Namensnennung, nicht kommerziell, keine Bearbeitung (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)