Skip to main content
The Wireless Control Network: A New Approach for Control over Networks
Real-Time and Embedded Systems Lab (mLAB)
  • Miroslav Pajic, University of Pennsylvania
  • Shreyas Sundaram, University of Waterloo
  • George Pappas, University of Pennsylvania
  • Rahul Mangharam, University of Pennsylvania
Document Type
Journal Article
Date of this Version

Suggested Citation:

M. Pajic, S. Sundaram, G.J. Pappas and R. Mangharam, "The Wireless Control Network: A New Approach for Control over Networks", IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 56, no. 10, pp. 2305-2318, October 2011.

©2011 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE.


We present a method to stabilize a plant with a network of resource constrained wireless nodes. As opposed to traditional networked control schemes where the nodes simply route information to and from a dedicated controller (perhaps performing some encoding along the way), our approach treats the network itself as the controller. Specifically, we formulate a strategy for each node in the network to follow, where at each time-step, each node updates its internal state to be a linear combination of the states of the nodes in its neighborhood. We show that this causes the entire network to behave as a linear dynamical system, with sparsity constraints imposed by the network topology.We provide a numerical design procedure to determine appropriate linear combinations to be applied by each node so that the transmissions of the nodes closest to the actuators will stabilize the plant. We also show how our design procedure can bemodified to maintain mean square stability under packet drops in the network, and present a distributed scheme that can handle node failures while preserving stability.We call this architecture aWireless Control Network, and show that it introduces very low computational and communication overhead to the nodes in the network, allows the use of simple transmission scheduling algorithms, and enables compositional design (where the existing wireless control infrastructure can be easily extended to handle new plants that are brought online in the vicinity of the network).

  • Cooperative control,
  • decentralized control,
  • linear systems,
  • networked control systems,
  • wireless sensor networks
Citation Information
Miroslav Pajic, Shreyas Sundaram, George Pappas and Rahul Mangharam. "The Wireless Control Network: A New Approach for Control over Networks" (2011)
Available at: