Software Architecture for Remote Control of Computer Hardware Interfaces

H. Liu, D.A. Perreault, and K.A. Perreault (USA)


Software Architecture, Remote Control,Hardware Interface


More and more computer hardware interfaces are integrated with software applications in systems such as automation, control, data acquisition, and in-circuit debugging. They are typically implemented as local interface driver DLLs to communicate with dedicated external hardware interfaces, which possess properties such as stringent data bit timing, strict latency, and extremely short message sizes which result in rapid hardware interface handshaking. It is often desirable to remotely control these computer hardware interfaces to achieve effective remote control of the dedicated external targets. This remote control demand may arise during the application design phase or a long time after the system has been developed. System development time and costs constraints may preclude rewriting the application code. Strict timing is often hard to satisfy across the network. System performance may be impacted more significantly by communications latency than by bandwidth if the rapid hardware interface handshakes are directly implemented across the network. In this paper, we advocate a software architecture to preserve the hardware interface properties as well as minimize communications handshaking without rewriting the application code by capitalizing upon the DLL approach and a record/play mechanism.

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