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WiSHFUL Report Summary

Project ID: 645274
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WiSHFUL (Wireless Software and Hardware platforms for Flexible and Unified radio and network controL)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2015-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The WiSHFUL project aims to reduce the threshold for experimentation in view of wireless innovation creation and by increasing the realism of experimentation.
WiSHFUL focuses on speeding up the development and testing cycles of wireless solution developments. It defines software modules with unified interfaces that permit wireless developers to quickly implement and validate advanced wireless network solutions. The software modules will enable the quick and efficient tuning of radio and/or network parameters to find the best configuration given the wireless device’s operating environment. The software modules will also be re-programmable allowing replacing/upgrading modules with other, new modules, which can be downloaded from app-store like repositories.

More specifically, the WiSHFUL objectives are:

1. To offer open, flexible & adaptive software and hardware platforms for radio control and network protocol development allowing rapid prototyping of innovative end-to-end wireless solutions and systems in different vertical markets (manufacturing, smart cities, home, office, healthcare, transportation, logistics, environmental monitoring...). Key features of such platforms are:
- Unified radio control allowing full radio control without the need for deep knowledge of the hardware specifics of the radio hardware platform
- Unified network control, allowing rapid prototyping and adaptations of network protocol stacks, without the need for deep knowledge of network protocols and software architectures, but also allowing the implementation of novel protocols (e.g. cooperative protocols which require time synchronization and coordination of a subset of nodes)
- Support for experimentation with intelligent control of radio and network settings, enabling intelligent, node-level and network-wide decisions, on radio and network operation modes and according settings, driven by higher-level domain-specific application demands and taking into account external policies (for example policies for dynamic spectrum access).

2. To offer advanced wireless test facilities that:
- follow the current de facto standards in FIRE, set by the Fed4FIRE project, for testbed interoperability
- adopt and extend standardized tools for discovery and reservation, experiment control, measurements & monitoring
- support federated identity management and access control
- support diverse wireless (access) technologies and platforms
- Create generic and open interfaces for control of the existing devices for technologies like Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11), Bluetooth (IEEE 802.15.1), WPAN (IEEE 802.15.4), LTE, WiMAX that are already available in current facilities
- Extend these interfaces to more open ended experimental radio platforms covering software defined radio platforms, embedded devices and non-commercial grade hardware, so as to enable 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Machine-to-Machine (M2M), tactile internet

3. To offer portable facilities that can be deployed at any location allowing validation of innovative wireless solutions in the real world (with realistic channel propagation and interference characteristics) and involving real users.

4. To extend the WiSHFUL facilities with additional facilities or wireless hardware, offering complementary or novel radio hardware/software platforms, supporting experimentation with new technologies such as mmWave (WiGig 60GHz and IEEE802.11ad), full duplex radio, IoT testbeds, smart antennas, etc.

5. To attract and support experimenters for wireless innovation creation targeting different classes of experimenters via different open call mechanisms tailored to the specific classes (industrial relevance for SME versus level of innovation for academia).

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the first year of WiSHFUL, the consortium focused on designing and implementing the proposed architecture. More specifically within the first three months of the project, the functional requirements of the software platforms to be developed by WiSHFUL in view of radio and network control have been specified. A driving scenario for the project has been constructed, along with the proposed conceptual architecture that has been designed to support four unified programming interfaces (UPIs): UPI_R for radio control, UPI_N for network control, UPI_G for remote execution of radio and network control, and UPI_HC for regular as well as intelligent hierarchical control. For each of the three UPIs, a set of functional requirements has been defined. Besides the requirements for these interfaces, we have defined functional requirements for the portable testbed that enables the deployment of testbeds on demand in locations that are different from the fixed locations of the original testbeds from the project. Finally, we have assessed the current status and the planned federation compliance of the participating testbeds, as well as described the approach and initial results from contacting stakeholders to help prioritize the technical development within the project.

After the initial specification of the general WiSHFUL glossary, scenarios and requirements, the work in implementing the UPIs has started and has been organized into two design phases: i) a first phase for the design of the UPI_R and adaptation modules for each of the radio architecture integrated into the WiSHFUL testbeds; ii) a second implementation and refinement phase, in which some design choices have been slightly corrected on the basis of the implementation experience. The architectures considered in this phase are the TAISC (Time-Annotated Instruction Set Computer) architecture for sensor nodes (IMINDS), the Wireless MAC Processor (WMP) architecture for WiFi cards and SDR platforms (CNIT) and the IRIS architecture for SDR platforms (TCD). This work leads to the definition of a general radio architecture, whose behavior has been characterized by the platform radio capabilities and by the radio program loaded on the platform. The radio capabilities have been conveniently abstracted into a set of configurable parameters, detectable events and monitored measurements. The radio programs specify the logic for driving the hardware platforms and implementing lower-MAC protocols, modulation/demodulation schemes or other processing operations on the hardware platform (e.g. spectrum scanning schemes, interference estimation schemes and localization schemes). Radio capabilities and radio programs represent the main data structures used for the definition of UPI_R functions.
In parallel with the above work on UPI_R the work on UPI_N and the general operational framework of WiSFHUL was conducted targeting the following:
i) design of the general controller architecture providing basic services like node discovery (bootstrapping), time synchronization among the nodes/controllers, support for different UPI execution semantics (blocking or non-blocking interface calls, time-scheduled and local or remote execution) and the on-the-fly loading of local control programs to be executed on remote nodes. Moreover, we developed a communication protocol between the controller(s) and the local Wishful execution engines based on ZeroMQ;
ii) design of the UPI_N and adaptation modules for each of the networking platform (Linux, Contiki) integrated into the WiSHFUL testbeds;
iii) refinement phase, where design choices with respect to the selected abstraction level for the common set of functionalities at the different layers considered by UPI_N have been adapted on the basis of the implementation experience.

An important aspect of the project as well, is the design and implementation of a JFed compliant portable testbed that is able to be setup within about 20 minutes in any area and provide similar capabilities with the static testbeds that exist within the project. In order to accomplish that, the requirements for FED4FIRE compliance have been identified within the first months of the project. The different federation models proposed by Fed4FIRE were investigated and it was decided that all WiSHFUL testbeds will aim to become fully Fed4FIRE compliant. iMinds has been coordinating with the Fed4FIRE project to stay updated on the latest developments in FIRE testbeds and will trigger action from the project partners if modifications are needed to stay compatible with the Fed4FIRE standards.
The following Fed4FIRE standards have been adopted by WiSHFUL:
- SFA (Slice-based Federation Architecture): This protocol enables discovery, reservation and provisioning of testbed resources. The chosen tool to support this protocol is jFed.
- FRCP (Federated Resource Control Protocol): This protocol allows for advanced experiment control by a uniform description of testbed resources and applications. The chosen tool to implement this protocol is OMF6.
- OMSP (OML Measurement Stream Protocol): This protocol provides an easy way for experimenters and facility providers to collect and store experiment measurement and monitoring data in a uniform way. The chosen tool to implement this protocol is OML.
One of the major tasks for this work package at the start of the project was to get all WiSHFUL testbeds up to Fed4FIRE standards. Most of the testbeds have reached full Fed4FIRE compliance at the end of Y1, namely w-iLab.t, ORBIT, FIBRE Island @ UFRJ, TWIST and the Portable Testbed. The IRIS testbed is expected to converge to Fed4FIRE compliance within 2016.

As a final note, with the end of year one, all UPIs definition and implementation interfaces have been made public through the WiSHFUL site and the portable testbed has been presented fully functional, running the defined showcases for demonstration purposes but also ready to support any kind of experiment with the offered ,up to this time, hardware capabilities.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

WiSHFUL has defined and implemented an architecture that allows to use a single programming interface to control heterogeneous software and hardware platforms as diverse as embedded wireless sensors vs SDRs and embedded OSs like Contiki vs Linux. The offered control extends from the physical layer of the device, all the way up to the network layer. Software/hardware platforms like for flexible MAC control (TAISC, WMP) and control of SDR (IRIS) are supported uniformly through the supported UPIs allowing the experimenter to use a single interface to control diverse technologies and platforms. The expected impact of the aforementioned breakthroughs is expected to be inline with the general target of the project, which is to reduce the threshold for experimentation in view of wireless innovation creation and to increase the realism of experimentation.
The second target is met with the design and implementation of the portable testbed that provides the flexibility to run innovative experiments in the real world and not in a isolated room with predefined wireless characteristics. Innovative experiments can now be executed faster, with a steep learning curve from the side of the user of the WiSHFUL framework and can lead to new innovative products that would create revenue for the experimenters much faster than with static experimentation testbeds. Such tools will provide the players in the wireless innovation market to move forward and test thoroughly new ideas and possible products with minimum overhead, leading to market growth while on the same time it will initiate new employment opportunities for IT researchers and engineers.

Related information

Record Number: 190236 / Last updated on: 2016-11-14
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