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A Real-Time Software-Defined Networking Framework for Next-Generation Industrial Networks

Silva, L. ; Pedreiras, P. ; Almeida, L.

IEEE Access Vol. NA, Nº NA, pp. 1 - 1, November, 2019.

ISSN (print): 2169-3536
ISSN (online):

Journal Impact Factor: (in )

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/ACCESS.2019.2952242

Industry 4.0 brings in a whole set of new requirements to engineering industrial systems, with notorious impact at the networking layer. A key challenge posed by Industry 4.0 is the operational flexibility needed to support on-the-fly reconfiguration of production cells, stations, and machines. At the networking layer, this flexibility implies dynamic packet handling, scheduling, and dispatching. Software-Defined Networking (SDN) provides this level of flexibility in the general Local Area Network (LAN) domain. However, its application in the industry has been hindered by a lack of support for real-time services. This paper addresses this limitation, proposing an extended SDN OpenFlow framework that includes real-time services, leveraging existing real-time data plane Ethernet technologies. We show the OpenFlow enhancements, a real-time SDN controller, and experimental validation and performance assessment. Using a proof-of-concept prototype with 3 switches and cycles of 250μs, we could achieve 1μs jitter on time-triggered traffic and a reconfiguration time between operational modes below 10ms.