FABRIC: Federated Applications Based on Real-time Interacting Components

(IST project IST-2001-37167)


The FABRIC project is a 5th framework IST project to research the Ambient Intelligence promise in the home by concentrating on a computing- and network- infrastructure. FABRIC aims at developing an architecture in which several standards and technologies in the home networking context can be integrated. More than integration alone, FABRIC allows the management of the complete network to satisfy timing requirements. Network requirements are provided by the needs of dynamic roaming multi-media streaming applications. During this project, The High Level Architecture (HLA) of the US Department of Defense (DoD), also known as the IEEE 1516 standard, is taken as starting point for the FABRIC. HLA is chosen for its provision of loose but timed coupling between complex systems. The project started in September 2002.


Project objectives


1)     The interoperability of devices and services coming from different standards by providing a generic middleware layer.

2)     The management of co-operating components, with specific emphasis on real-time issues coming from the wish to synchronise A/V streams and satisfy real-time constraints to obtain a realistic viewing experience, while providing a Quality of Service tailored to the application.

3)     Provision of a middleware layer that is distributed, has a small overhead in terms of memory footprint and energy, and provides good throughput and small latency. In addition, the resource requirements should be low enough for deployment in embedded systems.




The FABRIC research is done by a combination of nine partners from industry, research and educational institutes. In particular:

       Philips and Thomson are from industry.

       TNO, CSEM and INRIA are research institutes.

       TU/e, UCL, MDH and SSSA are educational institutes.


Description of the work


Roaming applications: The characteristics of the applications are worked out, both in the healthcare as in the home environment. Roaming of the devices is essential and leads to different routes through the network. The redirection of the streams is calculated by the network management part on the basis of the mathematical analysis of the streams and the scheduling possibilities of the network and the processors. Algorithms for network management are produced.
Interoperability: The interoperability between devices of different standards is realised. The mapping of the functionalities between the standards is studied. A successful mapping supports the starting, stopping and management of A/V streams between devices, possibly controlled by other devices, independent of the standard they belong to.
Streaming performance: A mathematical analysis of the streams is provided to support the network management in its decisions. Also scheduling directions and schedulability analysis for streams over the network are developed here. The timing model is worked out in detail. The results provide the technology to realise and verify the decisions taken by the management algorithms. The realisation of the streaming over the different media, and the consequences of bridges between the media for the streaming performance are studied.
HLA integration: Recommendations for HLA and the best configuration options of HLA for the FABRIC architecture are provided. HLA design and implementation choices are compared (e.g. using CORBA). An analysis of the chosen FABRIC architecture is provided. The components of the architecture are integrated into the HLA. Recommendations to IEEE and IETF are


Current work


Our group is mainly active with the issues related to the roaming aspects of the architecture. In the first phase of the project, a requirement and technology analyses was performed. Currently, we are working on the application and architecture design.




From SAN, Johan Lukkien and Richard Verhoeven are participating in the FABRIC project.


More information


More information on the FABRIC project is available at the public FABRIC home page.