In conjunction with the RTSS 2013 in Vancouver (Dec 3, 2013).
Distributed Embedded Systems (DES) are rapidly becoming increasingly complex due to requirements on advanced functionality, with increasing amount and heterogeneity of the information that is exchanged. This high complexity imposes major development challenges when non-functional properties must be enforced, such as real-time response and adaptability.
In this context, one networking technology that is gaining more acceptance in DES is switched Ethernet given its attractive high throughput, low cost, wide availability, and general maturity. However, when using COTS Ethernet switches, network interface cards and IP stacks, guaranteeing real-time behavior is still challenging due to possible uncontrolled packet arrival patterns that will lead to packet queuing inside the switches and potentially to buffer overflows and consequently to packet drops.
This motivated a strong research activity in recent years towards providing Ethernet-based real-time communication solutions, the so called Real-Time Ethernet (RTE) protocols. These were initially geared towards industrial automation and large embedded systems, such as avionics and train systems, and more recently expanding to automotive, medical and other typical DES domains. Despite the myriad of solutions existing today, a few issues remain open, such as the efficient use of the network bandwidth with heterogeneous traffic profiles, resource reservation across large networks with channel isolation, support of multiple operational modes and online bandwidth management, provision of ultra-low jitter, support for high precision time synchronization, efficient response-time analysis, to name just a few.