Dependable Onboard Local-area Photonic Interconnection Network
Avionics and aerospace systems continue to include increasingly numerous and complex applications and devices. This trend creates
escalating volumes of data that need to be shared and distributed throughout the platform, motivating the avionics community to find
a new and powerful network that will meet these demands. Advanced optical networks featuring wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM)
and have been targeted as the technology of choice to realize the desired avionics network of the future. There are numerous
advantages that WDM networks can offer, some of which include almost unlimited bandwidth potential, resistance to electromagnetic
interference, and the potential for a unified network with protocol independence. Despite these many major advantages, there are just
as many challenges when considering optical network technology to realize a high-performance, local-area network (LAN).
Traditionally, optical WDM links have been reserved for long-haul links and high-bandwidth trunks. These have drastically different
demands than an avionics LAN, where links are relatively short and numerous, and whose environment is extremely harsh and dynamic.
Additionally, an avionics network needs to be highly reliable, fault-tolerant, scalable, and flexible, while providing high
performance over a long technology life-cycle.
Sponsored by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), researchers at the
University of Florida are conducting investigations with WDM LANs to
serve current and future generations of avionics platforms. The work
in this project, in conjunction with the current efforts of the SAE WDM
LAN working groups, is intended to lead to the standardization of a WDM
network potentially applicable for today's and tomorrow's generations
of both military and commercial avionics platforms.
The initial stages of this project have focused on virtual prototyping of potential WDM LAN ideas and architectures. Due to the high
cost of prototyping and integration with existing systems, a simulation environment to perform tradeoff analysis can be the most
cost-effective approach. A careful review of existing simulation tools revealed that no single tool could fulfill these requirements
without modification. Therefore, a new optical component library was developed and added to an existing commercial tool to bridge the
gap between optical-centric and network-centric simulation and performance analysis tools. The Library for Integrated Optical
Networks (LION) provides researchers with an extendable tool to assess both lower- and upper-layer networking issues simultaneously
by providing a set of accurate optical components within a powerful network simulation environment. Developed at the University of
Florida, LION was created in a discrete-event simulation environment called MLDesigner from MLDesign Technologies, and has been the
primary tool for evaluating and comparing the performance of WDM LAN architectures in this research.
In upcoming stages of this project, select candidate architectures will be chosen for in-depth analysis and design, including the
fabrication of experimental testbeds for further analysis. Such in-depth analyses will occur after numerous WDM LAN architectures are
considered and evaluated. These architectures represent vastly different approaches to solutions for a WDM LAN. A down-selection of
the most promising candidates will be conducted using results from extensive simulative experiments, in addition to analytical
considerations of fault-tolerance and cost. After the architecture down-selection has taken place, the chosen candidate designs will
be evaluated extensively by simulative and experimental means. Small-scale experimental testbeds for each selected will be
constructed by the STTR team. The experimental testbeds will be used to both validate our physical component models while
providing performance results and a physical proof-of-concept for the design.
Publications to Date from this Research
C. Reardon, J. Profumo, and A. George, "Wavelength
Allocation Strategies in Optically Switched Networks for Avionics," to appear
in Avionics Fiber-Optics and Photonics (AVFOP) Conference, Annapolis, MD, Sep.
12-14, 2006. Click here for a copy of the current manuscript.
C. Reardon, I. Troxel and A. George, "Virtual
Prototyping of WDM Avionics Networks," Avionics Fiber-Optics and Photonics (AVFOP)
Conference, MIT Lincoln Lab, Minneapolis, MN, Sep. 20-22, 2005. Click
a copy of the manuscript.
(A copy of the
PowerPoint file presented at AVFOP is
available as well)
C. Reardon, J. Profumo, and A. George, "Comparitive Simulative
Analysis of WDM LANs For Avionics Platforms," submitted to the Military
Communications Conference (MILCOM), Washington, D.C., Oct. 23-25, 2006.
Project Materials and Documents (Password Protected)