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RETRACTED ARTICLE: Auto scheduling through distributed reinforcement learning in SDN based IoT environment

This article was retracted on 14 May 2024

This article has been updated


The Internet of Things (IoT), which is built on software-defined networking (SDN), employs a paradigm known as channel reassignment. This paradigm has great potential for enhancing the communication capabilities of the network. The traffic loads may be scheduled more effectively with the help of an SDN controller, which allows for the transaction of matching channels via a single connection. The present techniques of channel reassignment, on the other hand, are plagued by problems with optimisation and cooperative multi-channel reassignment, which affect both traffic and routers. In this paper, we provide a framework for SDN–IoT in the cloud that permits multi-channel reassignment and traffic management simultaneously. The multi-channel reassignment based on traffic management is optimised via the use of a deep reinforcement learning technique, which was developed in this paper. We do an analysis of the performance metrics in order to optimise the throughput while simultaneously reducing the rate of packet loss and the amount of delay in the process. This is achieved by distributing the required traffic loads over the linked channels that make up a single connection.

1 Introduction

There is a possibility that the LTE network, the WiFi network, and the several other smaller networks that come together to form the Internet of Things (IoT) will develop into a vibrant heterogeneous network. The explosion of Internet of Things devices has made it necessary for a number of distinct forms of wireless communication to coexist simultaneously. One of the most important issues that now exists in the field of technology is the question of how to distribute channels and manage traffic across networks that make use of various forms of infrastructure [1]. The software defined networking based Internet of Things (SDN-IoT) was developed in order to capitalise on the many benefits and opportunities presented by software-defined networks. Nevertheless, as a result of the rapid growth of SDN-IoT [1], whole networks are now exposed to a significantly higher demand that is placed on them by the transmission of data. When networks are exposed to the burst/dense traffic pattern, there is a discernible rise in the rate of package loss. This increase is particularly visible. As a direct consequence of this tendency, the rate of packages going missing has been steadily increasing. Conventional multi-channel communication, which is based on specialist network protocols [2] may relieve the strain of such jobs to some degree, but it does not leverage the channels' capacity for communication to its fullest extent.

Additionally, because to the recent fast growth of communication technology, the number of applications that make use of the edge layer is rising at a rapid pace. It is expected that this pattern will continue in the future. The amount of strain that all of this data traffic places on the core spine of the network has significantly risen over the last few years. When it comes to software-defined networking for the Internet of Things, one of the most important goals that must be accomplished is the optimisation of the principal backbone network. There is also an urgent worry about the optimisation of the network in the data centre, as well as the edge layer and the fog layer. This is due to the fact that SDN-IoT revolves on the primary backbone network. In order to accomplish this objective, the majority of research efforts have been focused on optimising the second, third, and fourth layers of the network, whereas the optimisation of the core backbone has got relatively little attention [3]. When determining the Quality of Service (QoS) that end users get, it is essential to take into consideration the total amount of network traffic as one of the key metrics. In typical strategies for reducing congestion, the capacity of the connections is often regarded as if it were a constant quantity. This is done to prevent any one connection from being overloaded by using more data than is permitted [4]. This is done to ensure that no connection is overloaded with traffic that is in excess of what can be handled by the bandwidth that is now available. However, the data plane of the SDN controller makes it possible to change the connection capacity and provides the optimal answer for channel assignment. Both of these alternatives are at least conceivable at this point. It is not beyond the realm of possibility to make any of these adjustments. Because of this, there will be a frittering away of resources at the physical layer as a direct result.

In addition, the conventional approach to channel allocation merely allots channels according to the level of traffic that is currently present. As a result, it is unable to adapt to changes in traffic quantities and characteristics that are more complicated or unexpected. We have arrived at the conclusion that it would be good to jointly research the traffic management and multi-channel reassignment components of this study in order to further improve the overall quality of service offered by the core backbone network. This is supported by the findings that were stated earlier.

Channel reassignment in software-defined networking for the Internet of Things might potentially result in two different outcomes: either an increase in the communication capacity of the network or an improvement in the quality of service provided to customers [5]. In order to accomplish this goal, the channels that are used to transmit data are reorganised such that they are located at a variety of different nodes across the network. The IoT's multi-channel reassignment offers various benefits over the conventional approach to multi-channel communication, which is based on a traffic adaptive MAC protocol [2]. This approach is used to communicate across several channels simultaneously. This is due to the fact that the conventional approach uses a multitude of channels at the same time. One of these benefits is the possibility of enhancing channel capacity even further with the use of AI methods like as deep learning and reinforcement learning. This is only one of many advantages. These benefits also include the possibility of a reduction in the cost associated with the installation of AI systems. When looking at the process of channel reassignment in SDN-IoT, however, deep reinforcement learning is seldom taken into consideration. It is abundantly obvious that deep reinforcement learning (DRL), combines the power of representation from deep learning with the capability of RL to pick the optimum course of action in complicated, large-scale networks in a prompt and accurate manner. This frees up all of DRL's previously untapped potential. In the realm of channel assignment, there has been a great deal of achievement attained via the use of this kind of learning [6,7,8,9]. As a result of this, there is a good chance that it will be successful in resolving the problem of channel reassignment [10, 11].

In this article, we optimise the traffic management of a connection over time and increase the efficiency of a cloud-based SDN-IoT. This method was developed with the goal of improving the performance of the underlying network. In order to maximise packet throughput while concurrently decreasing packet loss and delay time, we are working on a traffic management and multi-channel reassignment model. We did this by constructing three distinct areas: a state space that contains multiple channel state characteristics; an action space that is used to distribute sufficient traffic loads to each channel within a single link; and a reward function that is used to maximise the objective function. The ideal action to take in response to the goal function is calculated across all three of these domains.

Auto scheduling that makes use of distributed reinforcement learning has as its primary goal the reduction of the entire costs incurred by the network, including but not limited to total latency and energy consumption. Learning to plan jobs in such a way as to reduce the latency of the tasks and the energy consumption of the network is one way in which this goal might be accomplished. The total amount of energy required to carry out an activity is referred to as the task's energy consumption. When compared to centralized reinforcement learning, distributed reinforcement learning has a number of distinct advantages. In the first place, it is capable of scaling to big networks that contain a significant amount of work and resources. Second, it is potentially more resistant to the shifting conditions of the network environment. Third, it may be more effective in terms of both computing and communication efficiency.

The primary contributions of this the paper are:

  1. 1.

    First, a technique for rerouting channels and controlling network traffic is developed. The state information held inside a single connection is used to make better decisions is the projected traffic volumes on each channel.

  2. 2.

    The best multichannel reassignment is determined by taking into account the packet loss rate, delay time, packet throughput, channel capacity, and channel transmission rate for each link in the state space and reward function. The purpose of this is to regulate traffic over many channels at once.

  3. 3.

    Next, we use a deep reinforcement learning technique with the goal of enabling numerous agents to manage Internet of Things devices of the same kind.

  4. 4.

    To ensure that communication inside the IoT network runs smoothly, we develop the system architecture using cloud based SDN.

2 Related literature

The reinforcement learning can be used in a way of increasing the performance of cloud-based SDN-IoT networks with relation to latency, throughput, and signalling overhead [12,13,14]. The authors of [14] did study on two dynamic resource management challenges that are relevant to dispersed Wi-Fi networks and presented solutions for each of these concerns. The topics were researched because of the relevance of these issues. Throughput and packet loss are the two key performance measures that are being discussed in the study that is published in [15]. In order for them to do this, they will enhance an optimisation approach that has already been put into place. Zhu et al. [16] has focused on the difficulty of determining how to implement the appropriate approach for transmitting packets of varying buffer sizes over a number of different channels in order to acquire the highest possible degree of system throughput. This was done in order to obtain the largest possible degree of system throughput. This has been achieved by identifying how to implement the appropriate strategy for sending packets of varied buffer sizes [17,18,19]. The authors of [20] did research to figure out how to quickly distribute relevant channels in SDN-IoT while simultaneously intelligently reducing the danger for congestion. Their findings may be seen in the article. However, each of these strategies has its own one-of-a-kind set of challenges that must be overcome before it can be considered successful. Deep learning calls for the amassing of an enormous quantity of relevant data sets, and despite the fact that it is of tremendous aid when it comes to prediction, it is not proper to employ deep learning while making judgements. On the other hand, throughout the process of training, reinforcement learning does not need the gathering of any more data sets. Instead, it is capable of self-education in a flexible manner in order to identify which strategies are the most effective depending on the way in which it interacts with its environment. This enables it to determine which techniques it needs to use in order to achieve its goals.

Research [21] has been conducted to investigate the feasibility of using deep reinforcement learning algorithms in the context of the field of resource allocation. In the body of work referred to as [22], a deep reinforcement learning approach was investigated with the purpose of achieving dynamic channel access and power management in wireless interference channels. This was done in the hope of minimising interference. The improvements in performance that may be credited to the use of power management methods were given the majority of the attention and emphasis that was given to these topics. The authors of the paper referred to as [23] provided a comprehensive literature evaluation that focused on the applications of deep reinforcement learning in the field of communications and networking. As a consequence of this, it is not feasible to put these works into effect. Additionally, the quantity of network traffic that is present at any one time has a direct impact on how the process of reassigning channels is carried out at any given moment. Despite this, there are not that many works that employ traffic prediction to increase the efficiency of the process of reassigning channels. This is as a result of the intricate nature of the issue at hand.

In a nutshell, the bulk of the work that was stated before makes use of a technique known as deep Q-learning. This approach is only applicable to scenarios that include a single agent and is only capable of making decisions inside a discrete state space. In other words, the most of the work that was mentioned previously makes use of a method. Simply put, the bulk of the work that was covered before takes use of deep Q-learning in some capacity. Despite this, the science of reinforcement learning is continuing to make advances ahead, and as a result, the single agent scenario can no longer fulfil the actual need. This is because we are unable to ignore the interaction and cooperation that takes place between a substantial number of different SDNs.

2.1 Software-defined networking (SDN) for the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things network has been an increasingly important issue during the last several years. The Internet of Things enables a greater number of things to be controlled by facilitating communication between sensors and other things that have the capacity to communicate. However, in contrast to the traditional Internet, it functions in constrained environments, such as those imposed by batteries, network bandwidth, and computer power; thus, it needs technologies to manage the aforementioned network resources [24, 25].

According to Mert et al. [24], SDN is used in settings where there is a significant amount of IoT in order to protect against a variety of assaults. It does this by using SDN to display recognition/relief graphs that have been modified for DDoS on the IoT and then use these graphs to produce flow rules that protect against external DDoS assaults.

Li et al. [25] presented a new SDN-IoT that is appropriate for the IoT ecosystem as their proposal. Through the integration of management and the sharing of intelligent assets, SDN-IoT increases the efficacy and variety of Internet of Things applications. The portion of the SDN control plane that is responsible for the generation of flow rules based on AI is partitioned in order to create this architecture. This permits the automated transfer of all sensor information from the whole of the IoT environment to a global perspective without the need for human involvement or the use of a significant amount of network resources [26, 27].

The architecture of the system is developed by utilizing SDN that is based in the cloud. The SDN controller can be used to monitor the traffic on the network and make necessary adjustments to the algorithms that regulate routing and scheduling based on the findings of this monitoring. The controller can also be used to manage the resources in the network, such as the bandwidth and the energy, to ensure that they are being utilized in the most effective manner possible.

2.2 Reinforcement learning

In recent years, there has been a rise in the use of reinforcement learning for autonomous control [28], notably in a broad range of applications including Internet of Things (IoT), smart factory, and robot control [29, 30]. In particular, the use of reinforcement learning for autonomous control has been on the rise in recent years. The reinforcement learning agent automatically achieves optimal control via continuous learning when reinforcement learning is utilised [28]. This is because reinforcement learning uses a method known as backpropagation. In addition, reinforcement learning may make use of a distributed architecture, which allows for the simultaneous training of a large number of IoT devices. By training several Internet of Things devices concurrently, reinforcement learning with a distributed architecture may enhance both the learning performance and the speed of the process [31].

Each agent in broadly distributed-based reinforcement learning operates in an autonomous setting and engages in iterative learning. The information on the learning of each agent is gathered by the primary server and then utilised to update the agents that are disseminated.

Methods like as competition, collaboration, and federation are utilised in distributed-based reinforcement learning, which is the subject of ongoing research that is being investigated to improve. The federation technique eliminates the need to transmit the training data as well as the training results to the cloud. Instead, it simply transmits the parameters of the trained model to the cloud. This eliminates the privacy issue while also lowering the quantity of network data transfer.

IoT networks may now benefit from flexibility and programmability thanks to software defined networking (SDN), which does so without impacting the design of already-existing networks [32]. As a result, we rely on SDN to ensure that communication in the IoT environment runs well.

In recent years, researchers have been actively doing research on the application of the federation scheme to reinforcement learning [33,34,35]. In the field of reinforcement learning for distributed multi-agent systems, researchers are looking at a number of different approaches, such as cooperation and federation, to boost the pace of training and overall performance of agents. In particular, the reinforcement learning algorithm that makes use of federation technology is able to circumvent the problem with privacy since it does not reveal the local data of each agent. This is how it is able to circumvent the problem. In addition, the amount of information that is sent across the network has been reduced, which has the effect of accelerating the learning process. The article [35] is where the idea of federated reinforcement learning, often known as FRL, was first examined. In reinforcement learning, the agents learn to take actions that maximize their rewards over time. In this case, the agents would be the traffic flows and the channel controller. The rewards would typically be the delay of the traffic flows, the throughput of the network, and the energy consumption of the network. The agents would learn to take actions that minimize the delay of the traffic flows, maximize the throughput of the network, and minimize the energy consumption of the network.

3 Proposed method

The network model that is taken into consideration in this paper for predicting the traffic load combines traffic control, multi-channel reassignment paradigm and optimization.

3.1 Network model

The architecture considered here has many layers, including the cloud layer, the SDN controller layer, and the Internet of Things devices layer and is termed as CS-IoT architecture. Within the confines of our research, we focus primarily on enhancing the SDN layer, which is analogous to the main backbone network. The network's routing is identified using the open shortest path first (OSPF) protocol; the network's channels are determined with a multi-channel access protocol; and the connection between any two routers or switches has a multi-channel property that includes \(C\) channels. By using the notation \(T=\{\mathrm{0,1},2,\dots ,\left(t-1\right)\}\) to denote the collection of time slots, we assume the system is a discrete-time model without sacrificing any generality. It is anticipated that the time required for channel coherence would be noticeably shorter than the total amount of time allotted for the time slots, and that there will be no shifts in the system states during any of the time slots. The routers that are considered to be the "backbone" of the network are denoted by the notation \(R =\{1, 2,\dots , r\}\). Let's assume that the router or switch that is responsible for each connection has provided the SDN controller with the necessary link information within a predetermined length of time. This data would include, among other things, the channel's load information, its capacity, its transmission rate, and its utilization rate. Additionally, this data would include the rate at which the channel is being used. After that, the approach of reinforcement learning is put into action in order to ensure error-free control of IoT devices. This is done in order to make the most of the possibilities offered by the network.

3.2 Model for the prediction of traffic load

To enhance the effectiveness of channel reassignment, the traffic prediction model predicts the traffic load based on the dynamic environment. This is done because fluctuations in traffic load, both rapid and gradual, are possible in the actual world. The fundamental reason for this is because the flow of traffic is not always steady. In order to arrange an adequate quantity of traffic load onto each channel of the connections that make up the core backbone network, we built the model for the traffic load prediction. This action was taken to guarantee the continued proper operation of the network.

In every SDN layer that is connected with a single connection, the quantity of traffic that moved through each channel during the \(t\) time slots that came before it is used as an input for the traffic load prediction model. This model is used to determine how much traffic is expected to travel through the connection in the future. We are able to describe the input and output of our model with the help of the \(C\times t\) matrix, \({X}^{i}\), and the \(C\)-dimensional column vector,\({Y}^{i}\), which is located in the router\(i=1,\dots ,2,...,C\). \({X}_{i}\) and \({Y}_{i}\) are shown in the following manner:

$${X}^{i}=\left[\begin{array}{cccc}{x}_{11}& {x}_{12}& \dots & {x}_{1t}\\ {x}_{21}& {x}_{22}& \dots & {x}_{2t}\\ \dots & \dots & \dots & \dots \\ {x}_{C1}& {x}_{C2}& \dots & {x}_{Ct}\end{array}\right]$$
$${Y}^{i}=\left[\begin{array}{c}{y}_{1}\\ {y}_{2}\\ \dots \\ {y}_{C}\end{array}\right]$$

where the traffic load on channel \(i\) during time slot \(j\) (represented by \({x}_{ij}\)) and the expected traffic load on channel \(i\) during the next time slot (represented by \({y}_{i}\)) are calculated. In addition, since deep neural networks have such tremendous capabilities for characterising data, we decided to use them to process the input state.

3.3 Model for joint traffic control and the reassignment of multiple channels

The SDN controller, made possible by SDN technology, acts as the central nervous system and regulates everything. The re-assignment of channels and other forms of traffic management fall within the purview of the SDN controller. We introduce a combined traffic management and multi-channel reassignment model to allocate channels for traffic loads in each link of the backbone network. In this model, the channel states are represented by the predicted traffic loads on those channels across a given connection. Therefore, the allocated channels are better suited to the actual traffic conditions.

3.4 The formulation of decision process

The transmission scheduling in CS-IoT networks is presented here. The method of transmission scheduling used by the SDN-based IoT networks is broken down into a number of steps, and the total number of stages cannot be restricted in any way. The choice on the most efficient transmission scheduling is arrived at step by stage. As a result, it is possible to realise the full potential of the process as a whole.

3.4.1 Constituent parts of the decision process

The scheduler will use their knowledge of the states of the communications networks to make a judgement on the channel allocation to CS-IoT and try to limit the system cost. This information will include the availability of channels as well as the conditions of CS-IoT. The following is an outline of the subcomponents of the CS-IoT that relate to the transmission scheduling.

  1. (1)

    The Scheduling Stage: The process of scheduling is naturally broken down into a number of different phases. The stages are organised according to the integers \(s=1, 2,\dots\). The length of time that is spent in one stage is shown by the symbol. At the beginning of each stage, the scheduler is responsible for making the choice about the channel allocation. After the conclusion of the services, CS-IoT layer will arrive at the beginning of each stage and depart at the end of each stage.

  2. (2)

    Channel State: The present state of the system may be characterised by the channel availability as well as the conditions of the CS-IoT layer. Let us use the notation \(channel({C}_{k})\) to signify the availability of channel \(C\) at stage \(k\).

\(channel\left({C}_{k}\right)=1\) indicates that channel \(C\) is accessible for use by SDN layer, whereas \(channel\left({C}_{k}\right)=0\) indicates that channel \(C\) is occupied by a IoT device, the identity of which is determined by the activity level of the IoT device. In terms of the current state of the CS-IoT, there are m IoT devices that have the potential to gain opportunistic access to a total of \(C\) channels. The value represented by the expression \({D}_{\mathrm{SDN}}({l}_{k},m)\) is the quantity of data that is currently being held in the buffer of IoT layer \(l\) at stage k. \({I}_{\mathrm{SDN}}({l}_{k},m)\) is the notation that is used to indicate the interruption indication. In the event that \({I}_{\mathrm{SDN}}\left({l}_{k},m\right)=1\), this reveals that the SDN layer \(l\) was terminated at stage \(k\).

If not, then the value of\({I}_{\mathrm{SDN}}\left({l}_{k},m\right)=0\). The emergency indication is denoted by the symbol\({E}_{\mathrm{SDN}}\left({l}_{k},m\right)\). When the value of\({E}_{\mathrm{SDN}}\left({l}_{k},m\right)=1\), it indicates that SDN layer has emergency packets at stage\(k\). If not, then \({E}_{\mathrm{SDN}}\left({l}_{k},m\right)\) equals 0. The state of SDN layer is presented by the expression\({E}_{\mathrm{SDN}}\left({l}_{k},m\right)\), which corresponds to stage\(k\). \({S}_{\mathrm{SDN}}(k)\) is equal to \(\left( {D_{{{\text{SDN}}}} \left( {l_{k} } \right), I_{{{\text{SDN}}}} \left( {l_{k} } \right),\;{\text{and}}\;I_{{{\text{SDN}}}} \left( {l_{k} } \right)} \right)\). (1) The state of the system at the beginning of stage \(k\) is referred to as the state of stage\(k\), and it is represented by the variable\(x(k)\). Therefore, the value of \(x(k)\) may be expressed as\(x(k) = \left(\mathrm{channel}\left({C}_{k}\right), x\left({l}_{k}\right)\right)\).

During the very little time span of one stage, the value \(x(k)\) does not undergo any changes.

  1. (3)

    Making a choice: When the scheduler reaches stage \(k\), it is responsible for making a choice \({\mathbb{C}}(.)\) based on the state \(x(k)\). The decision \({\mathbb{C}}(.)\) is based on the channel allocation of CS-IoT with \(m\) IoT devices at stage \(k\) is denoted by the notation \({\mathbb{C}}(m,k)\). If the value of \({\mathbb{C}}(m,k)\) is equal to \(C\), this indicates that the CS-IoT has authorization to access channel \(C\). \({\mathbb{C}}\left(m,k\right)=0\) indicates that CS-IoT does not have a channel for the transmission of packets. In order for CS-IoT to be eligible for a channel, which is denoted by the requirement \({\mathbb{C}}\left(m,k\right)>0\), the packets it sends must first not be empty. The condition of the wireless channel is the most important component that plays a role in determining the rate of transmission. We make sure that the data transfer rates of all of the channels are the same, and we figure out the maximum number of packets that can be successfully sent during a single stage of transmission.

  2. (4)

    Utility Function

The utility function of stage k is defined by the notation \(\mathcal{U}[{\mathbb{C}}(m,k)]\) which is determined by the state \(k\) and the choice \({\mathbb{C}}(m,k)\). In CS-IoT networks, the measurement used to determine the quality of service (QoS) performance is the packet transmission latency. In light of this, the form of the utility function should be as follows:

$$\mathcal{U}\left[{\mathbb{C}}\left(m,k\right)\right]=\sum_{i=1}^{m}{W}_{i}{\tau }_{i}\mathcal{I}\left({D}_{\mathrm{SDN}}\left({l}_{k},m\right)>0\right)$$

in which case \(\mathcal{I}(.)\) serves as an indicator function. The transmission delay is only calculated when the SDN layer really contains packets that need to be sent. The transmission delay of SDN layer at stage \(k\), is brought on by blocking and interruption, is denoted by the symbol \(\tau\). The formula for determining the transmission delay of CS-IoT is as follows:

$$\tau \left(m,k\right) =\left\{\begin{array}{c}\nabla \tau , U\left[{\mathbb{C}}\left(m,k\right)\right]=0\\ 0,U\left[{\mathbb{C}}\left(m,k\right)\right]>0\end{array}\right.$$

The duration of stage \(k\) is indicated by the symbol, and when the SDN layer is blocked or interrupted during stage \(k\), which indicates that the SDN has packets in its buffer but it does not have a channel for transmission, the SDN layer is needed to wait in its queue during stage \(k\). The length of stage \(k\) is determined by how long the SDN layer was waiting in its queue. Therefore, the amount of time required for the delay is equal to \(\tau \left(m,k\right).\)

In every other case, the SDN is either able to transmit packets on the specified channel or it is idle and does not have any packets at stage \(k\). As a result, we know that \(\tau \left(m,k\right)\) equals zero. The scheduler divides the channels up according to the priorities of the SDNs in order to ensure that each SDN receives the appropriate level of quality of service.

The utility function provides a description of the delay in transmission at each step. The system cost, also known as the long-term transmission delay, is defined as the transmission delay that occurs during the whole of the scheduling process. According to the policy, the cost of the system is represented by the equation,

$$J[{\mathbb{C}}\left(m,k\right)] =\sum_{i=1}^{\infty } \mathcal{U}\left[{\mathbb{C}}\left(m,k\right){\mathbb{P}}(m,k)\right]$$

One way to look at policy is as a series of interconnected decision-making processes. It is denoted by the notation \({\mathbb{P}}\left(m,k\right)\). If there is a condition for each successive stage \(k\), then the decision functions will not progress in tandem with the stages, and the policy will not shift in response. Because we are only focusing on the stationary policy in this investigation, each decision function \(X\to \mathcal{U}\) can be thought of as a mapping between the state space \(X\) and the utility space \(\mathcal{U}\). This is due to the fact that we only take into account the stationary policy. There is the possibility of an infinite number of stages being involved. The objective of the CS-IoT is to select the optimal policy, which should be one that brings the total cost of the system down to its lowest possible level.

4 Reinforcement learning: training and allocation

Learning at a deep level is an effective method for managing a wide variety of resources. There are still obstacles to overcome, such as figuring out how to translate network resources and designs into issues that can be solved by a neural network. The complete network can only be used for a certain design. However, due to the contribution of mobile nodes to the network's dynamic fitness, the optimisation result based on the previous data may not be suitable for the subsequent frame. This is because the dynamic fitness of the network structure is improved by the inclusion of mobile nodes. Even if data packets are pre-emptively pushed to many qualifying “popular” nodes based on the probabilities of their historical consumption, there are still difficulties to overcome; yet, if done appropriately, this approach may fulfil the majority of communication demands. For instance, when nodes are very busy, this might result in high channel occupancy, which dramatically raises the risk of error ratios, disconnection, and other issues. It is crucial to maintain a balance in the bandwidth available at each node, since inefficient use of spectrum will result in a reduction in the capacity of the network as a whole.

We are contemplating the use of deep-reinforced neural networks as a means to compute suitable push methods. Let's say there is now just one ground node visible on the map. Each node stores three network status parameters: the existing queue in the memory \(\mathcal{Q}\), the presently available capacity to upload data to the cloud layer \({\mathcal{C}}_{cloud}\) and the prescheduled capacity which corresponds to \(\mathcal{K}\).

Our neural network model takes into account the current configuration and is meant to provide a long-term allocation policy. We utilise the function \(\mathrm{RL}(\mathcal{Q}, {\mathcal{C}}_{\mathrm{cloud}}, \mathcal{K})\) to express the general reward formula for any allocation in nodes present in cloud layer.

There is a correlation between the number of packets generated by the ground nodes at each tier and the reward formula. The greatest quantity of data that may be uploaded in one go is less than the predetermined message capacity, which is what is sent by the message's pre-scheduled capacity to the waiting queue of the relevant node. In order to help guarantee that the network as a whole is resilient and stable, it is important to do research on the network's occupancy ratio. It's a signal that directs traffic into less-occupied time slots instead of trying to maximise efficiency in the busiest ones. This is done instead of trying to optimise throughput in congested traffic lanes. This ensures that the use of each node's services and bandwidth is identical. Because of this proposed design, the loop that would normally occur during packet processing at each node (current network state—upload processing—receives new packets—create new network structure) is unnecessary. The impossibility of the loop enables this result. Next, we'll put into action a greedy allocation strategy, which prioritises sending data packets to nodes with the highest available bandwidth regardless of whether or not their queues are currently empty. This layout is adaptable, with the emphasis being put on how the allocation method influences the end product. Given the time-sensitive nature of the data packets, this may assist find a happy medium between the competing priorities of paying more attention to the overall quantity of data gathering and paying more attention to the most recent data packets.

We create our training and allocation strategies on the back of the advantages provided by the previously described dimension expression design. Here we see both the outcome (the reward score for each action) and the input (the current state). Since both the input and the output are continuous space, it is possible to compute a brand new state for an action score list. The size of the input is calculated by adding the length of the queue at each node to the total number of packets that need to be sorted. The output size is proportional to the length of the score list used to distribute the resource among all nodes. We also suggest assigning the remaining packets based on a concept called gradient descent, which speeds up the process of deciding how many resources should be allocated for this activity, when computing the policy, given an arbitrary state of waiting for queue and current allocation. The number of available assets might be calculated using this idea. This might potentially speed up the process of determining how many resources should be allocated to this endeavour. Even if the computation is complete after all of the packets have been allotted, there is still a chance that some of the allocation may quickly lead to an overflow. The elimination of the need for us to pre-process the most likely patrol route in advance of directing the flow of traffic in the desired direction is one of the advantages that comes with adopting a model that makes use of reinforcement learning. During the course of our simulation, we came to the realisation that the learning model had the capacity to increase the importance of the nodes that are located in close proximity to one another. After a few iterations, the learning model is able to isolate the newly discovered behaviours and carefully direct the remaining flow to the node of its choosing.

The method known as distributed reinforcement learning is a complicated one, and putting it into practice can present a number of difficulties. One of the difficulties lies in the fact that it may be difficult to ensure that the agents understand how to cooperate with one another. A further obstacle is that it may be difficult to ensure that the agents learn to share information with one another. Some of the future research directions in auto scheduling through distributed reinforcement learning include: developing more effective training algorithms for distributed reinforcement learning is one of the potential avenues of research that can be taken in the area of automatic scheduling achieved through distributed reinforcement learning; developing methods to ensure that the agents are able to learn how to work together effectively with one another. Implementing distributed reinforcement learning solutions for various issues that arise in SDN-based Internet of Things networks, such as resource allocation and routing. The development of distributed reinforcement learning algorithms that are capable of being utilized for the solution of issues that include a vast state space.

5 Experimental results

In this part of the article, we performed an independent evaluation of both the traffic load model and the channel reassignment model both before and after reinforcement learning. In order to assess the connection and its performance, several channel transmission bandwidths have been taken into consideration.

Let us consider an example of the total number of tasks that each fog node is capable of scheduling. Imagine that an SDN-based Internet of Things network contains ten fog nodes. Each fog node is capable of processing 100 processes per second at its full capability. There are one hundred different activities that need to be planned out. In this particular scenario, the lowest possible number of jobs that can be scheduled on a single fog node is ten tasks. This is due to the fact that there are 100 jobs that need to be scheduled, despite the fact that the total processing capacity of the fog nodes is 1000 tasks per second. As a result, a maximum of ten tasks can be assigned to each fog node.

The relationship between packet throughput and packet arrival rate reveals that, up to a certain point, packet throughput grows in tandem with the packet arrival rate; beyond that, however, it begins to drop as shown in Fig. 1. This is because the transmission bandwidth of the channel is finite, therefore packets must wait in a queue before they can be transferred when the packet arrival rate rises. This is due to the fact that there are constraints on the channel transmission bandwidth. This is because there is a finite amount of data transmission capacity in the channel. To obtain the best potential packet performance, the channel's transmission bandwidth should be adjusted to 325 kHz, which might reduce throughput owing to the increased likelihood of packet loss at that frequency. This action is required to avoid channel saturation. Simply put, the highest packet arrival rate that can be handled without encountering congestion is 325 kHz. This is because 325 kHz can provide the highest packet arrival rate. The maximum packet size falls correspondingly with a channel transmission bandwidth of 300 or 350 kHz. Congestion occurs because a network with a bandwidth of 300 kHz or 350 kHz cannot manage the maximum achievable packet arrival rate. Depending on the channel’s transmission capacity, there is a threshold packet arrival rate beyond which the throughput of packets starts to decrease. At a frequency of 300 kHz, the throughput of incoming packets starts to decrease at a rate of 100 per second. Currently, packet throughput is beginning to drop. The packet throughput at 325 kHz starts to drop at an arrival rate of around 150 packets per second. The packet throughput starts to drop at a rate of 200 per second when the frequency reaches 350 kHz.

Fig. 1
figure 1

Packet throughput vs packet arrival rate under different channel transmission bandwidth

Overall, when looking at the packet throughput vs the packet arrival rate under various channel transmission bandwidths, it can be shown that the throughput of the packets is maximised when the channel transmission bandwidth is equal to the arrival rate of the packets. On the other hand, the packet throughput begins to decline owing to congestion as soon as the packet arrival rate grows to a point where it exceeds the channel transmission capacity.

The correlation between the reward function and the number of packets sent across each layer at varying channel transmission bandwidths reveals that the reward function rises in tandem with the number of packets sent across each layer up to a certain point, beyond which it begins to fall which is shown in Fig. 2. This is due to the fact that the reward function is programmed to provide a reward to the agent if they successfully transmit the maximum number of packets without generating congestion. Sending more packets per layer increases the possibility of causing congestion, which decreases the agent's reward. Congestion may be caused by an agent if it sends more packets per layer than necessary.

Fig. 2
figure 2

Reward function vs packets per layer rate under different channel transmission bandwidth

The channel transmission bandwidth at which the reward function occurs is 325 kHz. That's because 325 kHz is the highest bandwidth that can support the most packets per layer without overloading the network. This is because 325 kHz is the upper limit for the number of packets that may be sent simultaneously. Having a channel broadcast bandwidth of 300 or 350 kHz has a negative impact on the reward function. This is because the maximum packet count for each layer cannot be supported by networks operating at 300 kHz or 350 kHz, leading to congestion. Depending on the channel transmission bandwidth, a different number of packets per layer may be required before the reward function begins to diminish. In general, the reward function is shown to be maximised when the channel transmission bandwidth is equal to the packets sent per layer. This is shown in Fig. 2 that compares the reward function to the packets transmitted per layer for various channel transmission bandwidths. However, when the number of packets per layer grows beyond the transmission capacity of the channel, the reward function begins to fall as a result of congestion.

The relationship between the rate of packet loss and the rate of packet arrival under varying channel transmission bandwidth demonstrates that the rate of packet loss rises in tandem with the rate of packet arrival up to a certain point, after which it begins to fall as shown in Fig. 3. This is due to the fact that the channel transmission bandwidth is a limited resource, and as the packet arrival rate rises, the packets begin to queue up and wait to be transferred. This is because there is a finite amount of data transmission capacity in the channel. This may lead to packets becoming lost in transit. Transmission bandwidths of 325 kHz on the channel provide the greatest outcomes in terms of packet loss %. Because 325 kHz is the maximum bandwidth that can handle the maximum packet arrival rate without experiencing congestion. The largest packet arrival rate can be accommodated at a frequency of 325 kHz, thus that's why. With a channel transmission bandwidth of 300 or 350 kHz, packet loss increases dramatically. This is due to the fact that the maximum possible packet arrival rate cannot be handled by networks with bandwidths of 300 kHz or 350 kHz, leading to congestion.

Fig. 3
figure 3

Packet loss vs packet arrival rate under different channel transmission bandwidth

At some point in the packet arrival rate distribution, determined by the channel transmission bandwidth, the packet loss rate begins to grow. The arrival rate of packets might change. By comparing the packet loss to the packet arrival rate under various channel transmission bandwidths, it is feasible to demonstrate that the rate of packet loss is minimised when the channel transmission bandwidth is equal to the rate of packet arrival. This holds true if packet loss is kept to a minimum. However, congestion causes packet loss to increase when the packet arrival rate surpasses the channel's transmission capacity. This is because there is a greater demand for channel transmission than capacity. This is because there has been a rise in the overall packet loss rate.

Figure 4 depicts the relationship between average throughput and channel count in the scenario before and after reinforcement learning, showing that throughput increases with channel count up to a certain point before beginning to fall. Throughput in the absence of RL rose as the number of channels grew. By comparing the state of affairs before and after using reinforcement learning, we were able to draw this conclusion. This is due to the fact that the total channel transmission bandwidth increases as the number of channels in use increases, and that the channel transmission bandwidth is a limited resource. In other words, the total channel transmission bandwidth rises as the number of active channels rises. However, this results in an increase in the number of packets that may be sent in a given amount of time, which might cause congestion. The number of channels of which there are results in the greatest throughput on average. This is due to the fact that four is the maximum number of channels that may simultaneously support the greatest packet arrival rate without resulting in congestion. There are a variety of distinct circumstances, each of which has a unique number of channels at which the average throughput begins to fall. In the case when reinforcement learning has not yet been implemented, the number of channels at which the average throughput begins to fall. When reinforcement learning is applied, the average throughput begins to improve. Overall, the average throughput versus number of channels under scenario before and after reinforcement learning demonstrates that the average throughput is maximised when the number of channels is equal to the channel transmission bandwidth. However, if the number of channels expands beyond the channel transmission capacity, the average throughput tends to decline because of congestion. This is because more channels means more competition for available bandwidth.

Fig. 4
figure 4

Average throughput vs number of channels under scenario before and after reinforcement learning

The analysis of network traffic in relation to the passage of time, both with and without the use of reinforcement learning, demonstrates that the latter may be utilised to increase the effectiveness of network traffic as shown in Fig. 5. Without any kind of reinforcement learning, the volume of traffic on a network would radically vary, exhibiting both peaks and valleys. The introduction of new users, the launch of new applications, or the termination of current programmes are all potential causes for this. Reinforcement learning has the potential to teach computers how to analyse network traffic and predict when peaks and valleys will occur. This allows the network to be better prepared to handle the traffic, which may lead to more efficient use of the available resources. Network traffic that employs reinforcement learning is more stable than non-reinforcement-learning network traffic. This is because the RL agent learns to foresee the traffic patterns on the network and makes modifications to the RL network accordingly.

Fig. 5
figure 5

Network traffic vs time comparison under scenarios before and after reinforcement learning

The peak of network traffic that makes use of reinforcement learning is lower than that of traffic that does not. This is due to the fact that the agent that uses reinforcement learning learns how to avoid surges in network traffic. The average throughput of the network traffic that incorporates reinforcement learning is greater than that of the network traffic that does not use reinforcement learning. Because of this, the reinforcement learning agent will eventually learn how to more fairly disperse the network traffic.

6 Conclusion

In recent years, reinforcement learning has been put to use in a variety of situations, and in each of those contexts, it has displayed performance that is superior to that of humans. This is due to the fact that reinforcement learning is able to learn from its own mistakes. Particularly, it is garnering interest in the realms of robotics and intelligent manufacturing, both of which need hands-free, self-sufficient control that is not reliant on human interaction. As a direct consequence of this trend, increasing amounts of investment are being made in each of these industries. In this body of work, we make an attempt to determine how to make it so that several reinforcement learning agents may independently choose the best method to operate their own Internet of Things devices that are of the same kind. There is no assurance that the reinforcement learning agent that has learnt the optimum control strategy by using one Internet of Things device would perform optimal control of other Internet of Things devices if it is used with other devices. This is due to the fact that there is no means to ascertain whether or not the agent's learning was reliable. Due to the fact that reinforcement learning has to be carried out in a way that is customised for each and every IoT device, the process may end up taking a considerable amount of time and costing a significant amount of money. The problem related to using distributed reinforcement learning for automatic scheduling are complex and there are many factors to consider, such as the traffic demand, the channel capacity, the energy consumption, and the QoS requirements of the traffic flows. As the traffic demand and the channel conditions can change over time. We came up with a unique technique that we call federated reinforcement learning in order to find a solution to this issue that we have been having. Within the context of the federated reinforcement learning system that has been described, multiple agents, each of which is outfitted with its own set of one-of-a-kind Internet of Things devices, engage in concurrent learning and federate with one another in order to improve the overall learning performance of the system. The goal of this work is to make the system more effective overall. In addition to this, we provide an architecture that is based on software-defined networking so that users can quickly learn in a cloud-based environment that is designed for SDN-IoT and includes a high number of connected devices.

Availability of data and materials

This work does not include any data that need to be made available.

Change history



Internet of Things


Software-defined networking


Long-term evolution


Software defined networking based Internet of Things


Quality of Service


Media access control


Deep reinforcement learning


Reinforcement learning


Distributed denial-of-service


Open shortest path first


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Wu, Y. RETRACTED ARTICLE: Auto scheduling through distributed reinforcement learning in SDN based IoT environment. J Wireless Com Network 2023, 102 (2023).

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