Hybrid networks of the future have to be efficient and transparent for the users—devolo is researching Powerline and Wi-Fi communication interfaces in the ACEMIND project
devolo is expanding its research commitment at the European level. As part of the Eureka/Celtic+ initiative, the EU-supported research project called ACEMIND (Advanced Convergent and Easily Manageable Innovative Networks Design) is aimed at simplifying the installation and use of smart home components—regardless of the underlying communication technology. This means not just "classic" devices in a home network such as PCs, laptops, touch pads and smartphones, but also washing machines, refrigerators, televisions and air conditioners. As a long-time expert in the area of Powerline communication and a market leader in this segment, devolo is contributing its expertise in data transmission over power lines to the project. ACEMIND started in October 2013 and is planned for a three-year period.
Flexible use of various data transmission paths
The ACEMIND project builds upon the European OMEGA research project (2008-2011) and pursues the vision of a single, central network that can unite various connectivity and communication solutions without any problems. This concept previously led to the IEEE 1905.1 standard, which describes the transparent use of heterogeneous technologies or hybrid networks (Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Powerline, MoCA).
The objective of ACEMIND
ACEMIND is pursuing the objective of providing standardised network infrastructure to enable end customers to have the greatest possible flexibility in acquiring and comparing prices of individual components. Thus, current and future communication technology and standards such as Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Powerline and MoCA should seamlessly interact with each other and independently identify the best option for data transmission in the respective case. In the end, this makes it significantly easier for consumers to combine multimedia and smart home products in a single network. This hybrid network is intended to feature a high level of intuitiveness and user-friendliness. In quite specific terms, ACEMIND is also seeking to provide corresponding terminal devices already equipped with the improved self-management capability of the network. Furthermore, these products are intended to enable convenient remote management for network operators as well.
Further development of IEEE 1905.1
ACEMIND includes the development of various demonstrators, which integrate communication technologies beyond those currently contained in the IEEE 1905.1 standard (for example, Wi-Fi 802.11ad/ah, LiFi or ZigBee/Bluetooth). The ultimate goal of this approach is to accommodate new functions and developments. The increased requirements for monitoring and management of hybrid networks, environmental compatibility, security, features such as quality of service, etc., are receiving special attention here. Finally, these functions and services are to be accessible in a central user interface. The results of ACEMIND will therefore have critical implications for subsequent versions of existing standards (IEEE P1905.1/ IEEE 802.1, etc.).
Integration of end user feedback into development
ACEMIND‘s research and development is not taking place in a proverbial ivory tower. Instead, the responses, considerations and suggestions for improvement from end users are being collected in interviews, questionnaires and field tests. This feedback will be specifically integrated into the development of the user interface and have a critical impact there.
ACEMIND has the stated objective of designing the user interface to be as intuitive and simple as possible. Therefore, not only should end users be able to control a stable hybrid network without expert knowledge, but network administrators and customer service employees should also be able to have a stable and reliable remote maintenance system.
Members of ACEMIND
The ACEMIND project has a budget of 4 million euros and brings together numerous international industrial and economic leaders (Orange - France, OledComm - France, devolo - Germany, Invea-Tech - Czech Republic, Arcelik - Turkey) as well as esteemed universities and research institutes (IHP Microelectronics - Germany, University of Athens - Greece) at one table. The German participants, devolo AG and IHP, have also organised themselves within the "AUTOCONFIG2.5" project in the funding program of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) called "The Central Innovation Program SME" (Zentrales Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand - ZIM), forming the basis for even closer collaboration with each other and in the ACEMIND project in the process.