Many of today’s applications are in need of a real-time communication infrastructure. Several commercially available solutions have been designed for this purpose, each with a different focus. To achieve low cost network services, a standardized solution featuring Ethernet compliance is currently being developed by the IEEE Time-Sensitive Networking Task Group (TSN). The main features of this standard are seamless redundancy through multiple disjunctive paths, low latency for high priority traffic through frame preemption and improved clock synchronization mechanisms as compared to existing standards. While the suitability of the mentioned standard for avionic purposes still has to be evaluated, neither of the standards help when deciding where to route which traffic or how to dimension the network in order to achieve optimal traffic and application distribution.
Similarly, in avionics a trend towards a more modular and centralized cabin infrastructure can be seen, potentially improving reliability by having a higher fault tolerance and the removal of central servers to save weight. With more degrees of freedom, however, new means for configuring such a network are needed to speed up the assembly process. While topology discovery and address configuration algorithms are widely available, little focus has been paid to the special requirements needed in the avionic domain, like real-time behavior, fault isolation and seamless redundancy. In such a fully dynamic cabin, a cloud like service can be envisioned that allows for dynamic resource management in case of a failure, change in the configuration and initialization.
The aim of this thesis is to find ways for a distributed, self-configuring network architecture that offers a plug and play service to its devices. Therefore, we evaluated currently existing real-time networks and showed their shortcomings. Based on a literature study we took the three most promising candidates in the design space and extended them to fulfill requirements of a future avionic network. The proposed concepts were implemented in proof of concept demonstrators and backed by mathematical models. We evaluated the demonstrators during failure scenarios and showed the existence of dependability features needed for a future avionic network, like seamless fail-over. Building on this network, this thesis extended current self-configuration mechanisms to allow for plug and play networks with deterministic guarantees while enabling and making full use of the network’s self-healing features. The mechanisms were implemented and tested with real-world scenarios. This thesis concludes with an outlook on open research points as well as missing items for the actual implementation in an aircraft.