Testing xAAL

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PRECIOUS Living Lab Demo @Experiment’HAAL

The living lab Experiment’Haal (Human Ambient Assisting Living) is used in PRECIOUS to realize end-users tests. A living lab is a laboratory where innovations are proposed to users in a controlled environment. Experiment’Haal offers an ecosystem to the PRECIOUS project in order to test individual component such as environmental sensors, body weight scale, user feedback, etc.

Below a short video to show the results of our first deployment. Enjoy!

Demo Precious project in the Experiment’HAAL living lab

The network point of view

Bandwidth consumed

xAAL is deployed in our Experiment'Haal living'lab (about 60 xAAL devices). According to results ouf our special netprobe device, the mean bandwidth consumed by xAAL is of 71 bytes per second (one message each 3 seconds).

Bytes count

The idea is to compare xAAL to UPnP in terms of packets consumed to perform an action: discover a lamp, then switch it on/off (hoping this scenario is representative).

Used components for tests:


Conclusion: xAAL is 94% more "efficient" than a TCP alternative ;-)

Well, to be hosnet in the scenario the UPnP contol point asks the device for its root descriptions (1571 bytes), the description of the power control interface (1080 bytes), the description of the dimmer interface (1353 bytes), and an icon file (1006 bytes). The xAAL control point doesn't do that, however it may also ask (to a third device, the schema-repository) the the description of the lamp (2568 bytes).

However, if you plan to deploy home-automation solution on lightweight devices, xAAL is fine! (What's about your STM32? How many simultaneous TCP connections may it support towards UPnP companion devices? ;-) )

Packets loss

- Hey, you are saying more efficient, but this is UDP! Without warranty against packets loss! I'm afraid!

- Don't panic. Is it really that serious about losing time to time messages? even your messages? And besides, how many are lost?

Actually, there is no packets loss on Ethernet. Issues may arise while using WiFi or HomePlug AV. Their implementation of multicast transmission is criticized for years.

Dedicated xAAL devices have been coded for tests. The objective is to test real xAAL messages. Indeed, tools like iperf cannot send packets at a rate so reduced.


The packets loss depends if the WiFi environment is rather quiet (e.g. at home), or crowded (e.g. at work, where every place is covered by at least 3 AP, covering all available frequencies ;-) ) Our experiments conform to figures annouced by Cisco, and are even much better, probably due to the extremely low packet rate of xAAL. Notes that figures are similar if the link is flooded by something else (e.g. ping flood).

Conclusion: packets losses are rare! However, this may append. So, what to do?