OPNET software in teaching and learning

OPNET Technologies is a leading provider of solutions for managing networks and applications. It provides software solutions for academic and research teaching in the College of Engineering & Science.

University: Victoria University
Professor: Professor Mike Faulkner
Department: College of Engineering & Science

Research (Masters/PhD)

Modeling of A Network Data Delivery Service Middleware for Substation Communication Systems Using Opnet.

A power system, being one of the most complex distribution systems, consists of objects spread over the system with separate address spaces and remote method calls. In this paper, we will focus on one of the most important distributed object platforms, the CORBA. Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) is an object-oriented standard for distributed object systems, which is implemented using the Object Request Broker (ORB) specification of the Object Management Architecture (OMA). CORBA architecture consists a client object, a server object, an IDL Stub, an IDL Skeleton and an ORB. CORBA makes the communication between these various components possible through the use of a method involving twelve steps of invocations. This paper aims to show how the process modeling of the CORBA invocations can be done in the OPNET environment. Then the designed model will be used to simulate switch-based multilevel power system network architecture with TCP and UDP protocols to clearly show the need for a trade-off mechanism between reliability and transmission delay constraints of a real-time power system communication network.

Enhancing Performance in Fiber-Wireless Networks

Abstract: Integration of optical fibre networks with wireless local area network (WLAN) is expected to meet the bandwidth demand by end users. However, the network congestion from the wireless access still limits the performance. Hence, this research work proposes to reduce the wireless congestion and further enhance the performance of this network by exploiting the additional information from the fibre.

Teaching

Course: Communication System Modelling and Simulation II (VET 6502)

Description: In this Master's course, students are introduced to OPNET simulation tool and its application in telecommunication systems modelling and simulation. Students are taught the methodology of simulating a telecommunication system and exposed to the use of a powerful simulation tool such as OPNET. Labs and tutorials are conducted in which students gain the skills and expertise to be able to design, implement, verify and obtain simulation results that enable them to test and improve their engineering solutions.

A significant part of this course involves an individual project for which students are expected to demonstrate competency in using OPNET to solve relevant engineering problems.

Project Title: Optimum routing configuration for a packet network consisting of four suburban offices around the central office.

Project Description: To determine the optimum routing configuration for the packet data network, given the network link capacities and the traffic matrix for the forecast period of 5 years.

Students are required to develop the optimum routing configuration for the given network which will give the minimum (end-to-end) average packet delay. Each student's network is made unique by disabling a subset of the links. In the course of the project, students are tested in their ability to develop from scratch the required simulation from process model, node model and network model. The potential routing configurations are then implemented and tested in the simulation model. Through this project, students gain the confidence and skills that they need to effectively use OPNET as an invaluable telecommunication systems tool.

Title: Enhancing Performance in Fiber-Wireless Networks

Gigabits passive optical network (GPON) is considered a promising candidate for fibre to the home (FTTH) technology to overcome the last kilometre bottleneck in broadband optical access network. Indeed, the Australian Government has chosen GPON as the backhaul network to build a National Broadband Network (NBN) with the FTTH technologies delivering broadband at the speed of nearly 100 Mbps to homes. This approach has the capability to remove active components between the central office, optical line terminal (OLT) and the customer premises, optical node terminal (ONT) with significant reduction in power usage and without a cascade of equipment. Although GPON is able to meet the bandwidth demand, it does not provide end users with flexibility and mobility. Hence, by integrating gigabits passive optical network (GPON) with wireless local area network (WLAN) it is expected to meet the bandwidth demand by end users. However, interference from the wireless access still limits the performance. Therefore, this work proposes to mitigate the interference and further enhance the performance of this  fiber-wireless network by exploiting the additional information from the GPON. In this work,  OPNET Modeler is used to develop the research framework involving  the modification of the existing OPNET model of WLAN and also modelling the GPON simulation model.

Title: Standard Interoperable Middleware Design for Substation Communication Systems

For the last few years, the standardisation of communication and application protocols has lead to the evolution of power system control technology. The introduction of IEC 61850 and the Utility Communications Architecture (UCA) has made it possible and justifiable to integrate station Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs) through standardization. The use of existing standards and commonly accepted communication principles together with the new standards like the IEC 61850 and UCA provides a solid base for interoperability between IEDs in the substation leading to more flexible and powerful protection and control systems. However, more advances are needed in order to establish an open and standard working environment allowing for more and more functions to be developed. Forthcoming ideas need to follow the path opened by the IEC 61850 in order to provide advanced complements to the basic architecture. The main emphasis in this paper is to show the modelling of IEC 61850 and the use of CORBA middleware communications for power system communications. The paper also deals with implementing the IEC 61850 protocol over the newly designed CORBA application thus showing how the interoperability requirements can be met while providing an effective platform for performance sensitive substation automation applications.

Title: Experimental Analysis and Modeling of an Information Embedded Power System

Efficient power supply is critical to every nation economic and social development. Likewise, having competent power system monitoring and protection is significantly vital. Power industry spends billions of dollars on efficient transmission of its critical data. Wide area based information embedded power system (IEPSW) will extensively provide a robust power system communication infrastructure in order to effectively monitor power system in a larger geographical area. To achieve such capable communication platform, power system uses different protocols to transmit its critical and non-critical data. This paper presents experimental analysis of distributed network protocol (DNP3) for an information embedded power system using Opnet.

Title: Channel Assignment Strategies for Dense Wireless LANs Deployments

Today, dense deployments of Wireless LANs are becoming a norm in many cities around the world. With only a limited number of channels available, the problem of channel assignment needs to be addressed effectively in order to ensure acceptable throughput for all users. The objective of this work is to improve/propose new channel assignment strategies that can improve the overall throughput, are simple to implement and are robust enough across a wide range of practical scenarios. The work mainly focuses on the MAC layer. Algorithms designed need to be tested extensively at packet level simulations. OPNET naturally becomes the discrete-event simulator of choice as it provides a good working base with their Wireless LAN model. Implementation of the algorithms is achieved through an understandable program flow and relative ease of modification in C/C++ programming language. The fully modifiable wireless pipeline stage is also another advantage as it allows isolation of factors that are not pertinent to the research questions being asked. In conclusion, OPNET has become an invaluable simulation tool for this research project.

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