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Journal of Robotics
Volume 2011, Article ID 340372, 19 pages
Review Article

A Comprehensive Overview and Characterization of Wireless Channels for Networked Robotic and Control Systems

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA

Received 25 July 2011; Accepted 11 October 2011

Academic Editor: Heinz Wörn

Copyright © 2011 Alejandro Gonzalez-Ruiz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The goal of this overview paper is to serve as a reference for researchers that are interested in the realistic modeling of wireless channels for the purpose of analysis and optimization of networked robotic systems. By utilizing the knowledge available in the wireless communication literature, we first summarize a probabilistic framework for the characterization of the underlying multiscale dynamics of a wireless link. We furthermore confirm this framework with our robotic testbed, by making an extensive number of channel measurements. To show the usefulness of this framework for networked robotic applications, we then discuss a few recent examples where this probabilistic channel characterization has been utilized for the theoretical analysis and communication-aware design of networked robotic systems. Finally, we show how to develop a realistic yet simple channel simulator, which can be used to verify cooperative robotic operations in the presence of realistic communication links.