Conference paper

iPRP: Parallel Redundancy Protocol for IP Networks

Reliable packet delivery within stringent delay constraints is of primal importance to industrial processes with hard real-time constraints, such as electrical grid monitoring. Because retransmission and coding techniques counteract the delay requirements, reliability is achieved through replication over multiple fail-independent paths. Existing solutions such as parallel redundancy protocol (PRP) replicate all packets at the MAC layer over parallel paths. PRP works best in local area networks, e.g., sub-station networks. However, it is not viable for IP layer wide area networks, a key element of emerging smart grids. Such a limitation on scalability, coupled with lack of security, and diagnostic inability, renders it unsuitable for reliable data delivery in smart grids. To address this issue, we present a transport-layer design: IP parallel redundancy protocol (iPRP). Designing iPRP poses non-trivial challenges in the form of selective packet replication, soft-state and multicast support. Besides unicast, iPRP supports multicast, which is widely using in smart grid networks. It duplicates only time-critical UDP traffic. iPRP only requires a simple software installation on the end-devices. No other modification to the existing monitoring application, end-device operating system or intermediate network devices is needed. iPRP has a set of diagnostic tools for network debugging. With our implementation of iPRP in Linux, we show that iPRP supports multiple flows with minimal processing and delay overhead. It is being installed in our campus smart grid network and is publicly available.

Related material