A wireless avionics interface provides a mechanism for managing multiple broadcast transceivers. This interface isolates the control logic required to support multiple transceivers so that the flight application does not have to manage wireless transceivers. All of the logic to select transceivers, detect transmitter and receiver faults, and take autonomous recovery action is contained in the interface, which is not restricted to using wireless transceivers. Wired, wireless, and mixed transceiver technologies are supported. This design’s use of broadcast data technology provides inherent cross-strapping of data links. This greatly simplifies the design of redundant flight subsystems. The interface fully exploits the broadcast data link to determine the health of other transceivers used to detect and isolate faults for fault recovery. The interface uses simplified control logic, which can be implemented as an intellectual-property (IP) core in a field-programmable gate array (FPGA).

The interface arbitrates the reception of inbound data traffic appearing on multiple receivers. It arbitrates the transmission of outbound traffic. This system also monitors broadcast data traffic to determine the health of transmitters in the network, and then uses this health information to make autonomous decisions for routing traffic through transceivers. Multiple selection strategies are supported, like having an active transceiver with the secondary transceiver powered off except to send periodic health status reports. Transceivers can operate in round-robin for load-sharing and graceful degradation.

This work was done by Gary L. Block, William D. Whitaker, James W. Dillon, James P. Lux, and Mohammad Ahmad of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-46317

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the January, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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