On Effective Maintenance Of Distributed Remote Laboratories
M.Sc. Tobias Fäth
Dr.-Ing. Karsten Henke
Dr.-Ing. Heinz- Dietrich Wuttke
Dipl.-Inf. René Hutschenreuter
- Within two TEPUS projects, we implemented the GOLDi remote lab infrastructure at ten universities in Armenia, Georgia, Germany and Ukraine. Our interactive hybrid online lab – called GOLDi (Grid of Online Lab Devices Ilmenau) – stands for a grid concept to realize a universal remote lab platform. In addition to the actual use as a remote lab for educational purposes, maintenance is of crucial importance - especially if the lab is part of a cluster of distributed labs.
Until this day there are still major issues concerning the maintenance of the hardware setup at each GOLDi remote lab location. Any new functionality within the remote lab infrastructure is accompanied by a change of the firmware and must be deployed manually at each partner remote lab. That is why we developed a mechanism to maintain the remote lab hardware setup from the distance automatically, supervised by the Ilmenau team.
The benefit of the ongoing revision of the GOLDi infrastructure for our partner institutions is a significant reduction in the maintenance effort of their own remote labs. This can be attributed first and foremost to the conversion of the existing CAN Bus system for internal communication of all hardware components within the GOLDi infrastructure to an Ethernet based system. Through the development of a special FPGA component, it is now possible to program all FPGAs used in the GOLDi hardware components independently without additional user intervention.
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