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In the laboratories and assignments, we use our own design packet radio boards (we call the current ones "smart packet radio boards" as they are more capable than our older generation designs). They operate at 433 MHz ISM Band, and can transmit data up to 150 Kbits/second speed. Each packet radio board has a unique (in our laboratories) 1-byte address associated with them.

Our objective is to gian insight into the challenges of data communications within a wireless environment, and develop link layer control strategies to achieve the following:

  • peer-to-peer chat, and
  • reliable file transfer
between two computers through the wireless links established via our packet radio boards.

All the necessary programming will be done by using the OMNeT++ system installed in the Linux operating system running on the department's laboratory computers. OMNeT++ is mainly designed as a discrete-event simulation framework for modeling communication networks. Here, we directly connect a physical device into an OMNeT++ model and extend a simulation model with real hardware. So, we can call our approach as "hardware-in-the-loop" simulations since physical communication links and hardware devices form the part of an experiment created by using the OMNeT++ system. The following diagram provides an overview of our approach:

So, in terms of protocol layers, the approach is like this: Physical layer is kept in the Monash packet radios, and the rest of the protocol stack is implemented in an OMNeT++ process:
The advantages of this arrangement are:
  • We use a real communication channel, not a simulated one,
  • Software development cycle (write-compile-run-test-debug-fix) is significantly faster than programming the real hardware directly,
  • ,nop>OMNeT++ modular structure allows us to model protocol stacks easily, and
  • If we want, we can simulate large network topologies as well, and embed physical devices in simulation based experiments.
Topic revision: r4 - 2013-08-06 - AhmetSekercioglu
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