The rapid progress of internet-based networking technologies enables a remote access to engineering lab-oratory equipment and instruments. Since control engineering education should combine theory with practice, this feature can be especially useful to provide students with an Internet access to various experimental setups located in control laboratories. This paper discusses the various concepts related to development of remote accessible control laboratory with the help of the concept of virtual instrumentation. This also looks in detail to the most used virtual instrument design tool. In this era of fusion of various streams of engineering and ultra large scale miniaturisation, this type of attempts is quite relevant and will continue to prove its relevance in future.
An Internet-based remote access control laboratory concept and implementation was presented in this article. Most of the engineering related problems to the laboratory development have been addressed. The presented concept differs from other approaches in that it can provide to the user more authority in the controller design phase. The user may elect to compile, link, execute the controller remotely and transmit the command signal to the local server.
The server is merely responsible for transferring this command signal to the experimental setup, acquiring the system?s output and transmitting it back to the user. The user is also provided with the option of downloading the compiled code and executing the experiment locally (similar to the other approaches). Issues concerned with network's reliability, dynamic delay factor caused by the Internet's traffic, concurrent user-access, and limited computing power have been addressed.
The developed client/server testbeds can also be used for advanced control studies for systems with time-varying delays. The fusion of virtual instrumentation concepts and networking technologies helps and will continue to help to trigger advancements towards a much more sophisticated remote accessible labs.