A Prototype Platform for a Multitier Network Interface Card (mNIC)
Multitier RENE mNIC
The Center for Multimedia Communication at Rice University has developed a hardware testbed for multitier wireless environments. These types of environments incorporate many diverse wireless standards, such as 802.11 and WCDMA. The goal of this testbed is to demonstrate seamless switching between various standards. Switching should be automatic, fast and transparent to the user. The current hardware testbed includes the following network devices: wired Ethernet, Bluetooth, 802.11b and 802.11a. Processing is provided by an Axis Communications ETRAX 100LX microprocessor running a Linux kernel. The system has been designed to be used as an embedded system initially, with the ultimate goal of fitting into a small form factor such as PCMCIA or MiniPCI. The testbed is currently being used at Rice to demonstrate the feasibility of multitier systems and to conduct research in the area of multitier systems. It is also being used to implement and demonstrate various ad-hoc routing algorithms. This paper will introduce the need for such a testbed, discuss the current status of the hardware and software, and reveal the future plans and design goals of the testbed.