Computer networking is a reliable and efficient means for communications between disparate and distributed components in complex dynamical processes like advanced aircraft, spacecraft, and autonomous manufacturing plants. The role of Integrated Communication and Control Systems (ICCS) is to coordinate and perform interrelated functions, ranging from real-time multi-loop control to information display and routine maintenance support. In ICCS, a feedback control loop is closed via the common communication channel which multiplexes digital data from the sensor to the controller and from the controller to the actuator along with the data traffic from other loops and management functions. Due to the asynchronous time-division multiplexing of the network protocol, time-varying and possibly stochastic delays are introduced in the control system, which degrade the system dynamic performance and are a source of potential instability. The paper is divided into two parts. In the first part, the delayed control system is represented by a finite-dimensional, time-varying, discrete-time model which is less complex than the existing continuous-time models for time-varying delays; this approach allows for simpler schemes for analysis and simulation of ICCS. The second part of the paper addresses ICCS design considerations and presents simulation results for certain operational scenarios of ICCS.

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