Wireless sensor networks

The use of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), wireless communications and digital electronics has enabled the development of affordable sensor units capable of wireless communication over short or very short distances. Wireless sensor networks are useful in a wide range of applications: military, environmental monitoring, health, mobile production systems and elsewhere.

Using sensors, their location is generally unknown or is changing over time. Knowing the sensors location enables development of several services such as security of network operations, locally-based routing, object tracing, intrusion detection, patient monitoring etc.

We have been dealing with this interesting field of research in recent years and we have developed two generic methods of sensors location determination: (i) the use of the rotating directional antennas, wich emulate the classic radar operation (ii) using the static field of antennas or use of one complex multi-element antenna with phase shift or power difference measuring.

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Data from the sensors are sent over wireless network in the sensor network, wich is based on IEEE 802.15.4 standard. We have developed the SparsMoscito module for this purpose. It's based on ARM microcontroller architecture and is connected via the SPI serial interface with wireless module MRF24J40, wich uses the IEEE 802.15.4 physical layer.

By observihg the power of the received signal and rotating the antenna we determine the received signal power indicator RSSI. Due to the shape of antenna radiation pattern it is possible to determine  the arriving angle of radio signal.

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Industrial Data Networks

The basic problem of industrial data networks used in automation and remote control is deterministic operation, wich require real-time information transfer and operation of controlled or observed system.

Current research is based on the so-called sectoral industrial network. Latest achievements in the development of technologies, standards and requirements are deployment of Ethernet network standards in the industrial environment, energy distribution etc. These network architectures have the ability to integrate communications and informationat all levels of the hierarchy of factories and other organizations.

Our plans for research is based on two variants of industrial Ethernet network technologies:

  1. EtherCAT, wich is characterized by a unique resilient topology and high efficiency of bandwidth
  2. TTEthernet, wich is characterized by high reliability, standard topology and time protection of critical data.

On this basis we are going to research:

  1. Problems of global clock synchronization on all nodes with accuracy in pico-second time by very high data transmission speed (1Gbps and higher).
  2. Algorithms and protocols for the node operation failure and error problems solving (Fault-Tolerant Systems, Byzantine error).
  3. Interoperability of production messages, information models and versions of industrial Ethernets.

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