Real-time communication for distributed plasma control systems

A. Luchetta, A. Barbalace, G. Manduchi, A. Soppelsa, C. Taliercio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Real-time control applications will benefit in the near future from the enhanced performance provided by multi-core processor architectures. Nevertheless real-time communication will continue to be critical in distributed plasma control systems where the plant under control typically is distributed over a wide area. At RFX-mod real-time communication is crucial for hard real-time plasma control, due to the distributed architecture of the system, which consists of several VMEbus stations. The system runs under VxWorks and uses Gigabit Ethernet for sub-millisecond real-time communication. To optimize communication in the system, a set of detailed measurements has been carried out on the target platforms (Motorola MVME5100 and MVME5500) using either the VxWorks User Datagram Protocol (UDP) stack or raw communication based on the data link layer. Measurements have been carried out also under Linux, using its UDP stack or, in alternative, RTnet, an open source hard real-time network protocol stack. RTnet runs under Xenomai or RTAI, two popular real-time extensions based on the Linux kernel. The paper reports on the measurements carried out and compares the results, showing that the performance obtained by using open source code is suitable for sub-millisecond real-time communication in plasma control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520 - 524
Number of pages5
JournalFusion Engineering and Design
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2008
Event6th IAEA Technical Meeting on Control, Data Acquisition, and Remote Participation for Fusion Research - Inuyama, Japan
Duration: 4 Jun 20078 Jun 2007


  • Real-time control
  • Real-time communication
  • Ethernet
  • VxWorks
  • Linux
  • RTAI
  • Xenomai
  • RTnet


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