PITTSBURGH (Jan 21, 2020) — The internet of things (IoT) widely
spans from the smart speakers and Wi-Fi-connected home appliances to
manufacturing machines that use connected sensors to time tasks on an assembly
line, warehouses that rely on automation to manage inventory, and surgeons who can
perform extremely precise surgeries with robots. But for these applications,
timing is everything: a lagging connection could have disastrous consequences.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School
of Engineering are taking on that task, proposing a system that would use
currently underutilized resources in an existing wireless channel to create
extra opportunities for lag-free connections. The process, which wouldn’t
require any additional hardware or wireless spectrum resources, could alleviate
traffic backups on networks with many wireless connections, such as those found
in smart warehouses and automated factories.
The researchers announced their findings at the Association for Computing Machinery’s 2019 International
Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies, one of the best research conferences in
networking techniques. The
paper, titled “EasyPass: Combating
IoT Delay with Multiple Access Wireless Side Channels,” (DOI: 10.1145/3359989.3365421), was
named Best Paper at the Conference. It was authored by Haoyang Lu, PhD, Ruirong
Chen, and Wei Gao, PhD.
“The network’s automatic response to channel quality, or the
signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), is almost always a step or two behind,” explains Gao,
associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “When
there is heavy traffic on a channel, the network changes to accommodate it.
Similarly, when there is lighter traffic, the network meets it, but these adaptations
don’t happen instantaneously. We used that lag - the space between the channel
condition change and the network adjustment - to build a side channel solely for
IoT devices where there is no competition and no delay.”
This method, which the authors call “EasyPass,” would
exploit the existing SNR margin, using it as a dedicated side channel for IoT
devices. Lab tests have demonstrated a 90 percent reduction in data
transmission delay in congested IoT networks, with a throughput up to 2.5 Mbps
over a narrowband wireless link that can be accessed by more than 100 IoT
devices at once.
“The IoT has an important future in smart buildings,
transportation systems, smart manufacturing, cyber-physical health systems, and
beyond,” says Gao. “Our research could remove a very important barrier holding
Maggie Pavlick, 1/21/2020
Contact: Maggie Pavlick