Network Slicing to Enhance Edge Computing for Automated Warehouse
Abstract: In a previous work, a distributed safety framework supported by edge computing was developed to enable real-time response of robots that collaborate with humans in the Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC) scenario. However, as the number of robots in the automated warehouse increases, the network is easier to induce the congestion. A network infrastructure that can fulfill the automated warehouse needs is therefore desired. This work develops network slicing technology in the aforementioned network infrastructure and investigates its application in the automated warehouse scenario. The goal is to improve the performance of the network through network slicing, in order that it can provide differentiated services to devices in the automated warehouse based on their needs, allowing network resources to be more efficiently allocated. With network optimization, low-latency and high reliability communication of the robot can be achieved in the automated warehouse. The performance of network slicing was compared to the scenario without this technology in the experiments. Specifically, in the standard Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) network scenario without network slicing, all devices and robots will be connected to one channel to send data to the Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) server. For the network with slicing, we divide it into three slices based on different use cases, including computers, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and robots. Slices are created by defining multiple Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs) in a single Access Point (AP). Our results show that network slicing technology can significantly improve network performance in the automated warehouse. The network with slicing is superior to that without slicing in terms of latency at different levels of network load, which is reduced by up to 53.6%. The throughput is also increased by up to 33.5% compared to the network without slicing. Meanwhile, the network with slicing can maintain a relatively low error probability of all flows, of which the median value is 0%. It can prove that network slicing technology is beneficial for the automated warehouse network.
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