Wireless Control Networks


We introduce the concept of a Wireless Control Network (WCN) where the entire network itself acts as the controller – opposed to traditional networked control schemes where the nodes simply route information to and from a dedicated controller. Specifically, we formulate a simple, linear iterative strategy for each node in the network to follow, causing the entire network to behave as a linear dynamical system, with sparsity constraints imposed by the network topology. WCN introduces very low computational and communication overhead to the nodes in the network, allows for the use of simple transmission scheduling algorithms, and enables compositional design (where the existing wireless control infrastructure can be easily extended to handle new plants that are brought online in the vicinity of the network). Since the WCN does not rely on the existence of dedicated controllers and inherently captures the case of nodes exchanging values with the plant at various points in the network it can be used for plants with multiple sensing/actuation points connected to a multi-hop network. This makes WCNs suitable as a means for control of geographically distributed plants (e.g., building control, industrial process control).