|Title||Design and implementation of an educational testbed for experiencing with industrial communication networks|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2007|
|Authors||Lo Bello, L., O. Mirabella, and Raucea, A.|
|Journal||IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics|
This paper presents the design and implementation of an educational testbed developed for a course on industrial communication networks at the Engineering Faculty, University of Catania. The aim is to realize a platform capable of emulating various network configurations, thus enabling students to find out by themselves through practical experiments how different design choices, parameter settings, network configurations, and algorithms impact on the overall network performance. The testbed comprises a number of basic components (hosts, routers, and access points) implemented on nodes equipped with operating systems and open source software, which together make up a modular system. Each router can be loaded with data flows and monitored over preestablished time windows so as to evaluate its performance in a wide range of operating conditions. The wireless part makes it possible to configure environments with different levels of noise and bandwidth utilization so as to emulate a broad spectrum of real operating environments. The testbed can be used via remote access through a web interface that not only allows the operating conditions to be configured but also permits real-time monitoring. Students can configure the testbed on the basis of the network they are studying and can measure its performance for evaluation purposes.