The Sapienza University Networking framework for underwater Simulation Emulation and real-life Testing (SUNSET) is a new solution, developed by the UWSN Group, to seamlessly simulate, emulate and test in real-life novel communication protocols. It is based on the open source and well known network simulator ns-2 (and its extension ns2-Miracle).
Using SUNSET, anyone willing to implement and evaluate its own solution by means of the network simulator ns-2 can use the same code in emulation mode, adopting real hardware for data transmission.
The framework code has also been successfully ported on small portable devices (Gumstix, PC104 or other ARM-based systems), allowing to save energy and space when running real-life experiments.
Having the entire protocol stack independent from the communications devices (some constraints maybe imposed by the specific hardware used for the transmissions in terms of maximal packet size for data or control packets) gives the possibility to implement new protocol solutions in an easy and fast way. Developers and researchers can run tests changing either the selected protocols (MAC, Routing, etc.) or some protocol parameters without any changes in the external devices code and at the same time can change the configuration parameters for the selected communication hardware without any change in the actual protocol stack.
Although the proposed framework is general enough to be used for emulation and real-life testing of any kind of networks (radio, optical, underwater, etc.), it has been widely and extensively validated in the underwater environment considering different commercial underwater modems for acoustic transmissions.
SUNSET is, as far as we know, the first and only tool proposed in the literature to date that supports all the following functionalities in one package. Current version of SUNSET (version 2.0) allows to:
- Run Simulations using different underwater acoustic channel models, such as empirical formulas, the Bellhop propagation simulator via the WOSS interface (which can load real environmental parameters and provide more accurate results), and traces of the channel used for channel replay purposes.
- Reuse of the same code to run in simulation, emulation and at-sea test mode, introducing little additional delays (in the order of milliseconds on very low computational power embedded devices) with limited additional overhead per packet (a few bits).
- Support five different commercial off-the-shelf acoustic modems for acoustic communication: WHOI FSK and PSK Micro-Modems, Evologics modem, Kongsberg modem, and Teledyne Benthos modem. For each of these modems, specifics drivers have been implemented and tested at-sea.
- Support the use of different sensing platforms and vehicles, both AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) and ASVs (Autonomous Surface Vehicles).
- Run efficiently on small portable devices (e.g. Gumstix, PC104, IGEPv2 or other ARM-based systems), allowing the user to embed it inside modem or AUV housings.
- Combine acoustic communications, sensing and networking capabilities in a single unit, supporting simple interaction with static and mobile nodes in a remote and on-line way, making use of acoustic links.
Moreover, a SUNSET user-group has been set up with the intention to create a community of researchers and developers supporting SUNSET and an open environment to ask questions, solve problems and share ideas.
Additional information on how to install, use, and develop in SUNSET can be found at the link below:
SUNSET guidelines and documentation