Architecture developed for ultrahigh-speed wireless networks

Monday, 08 July, 2019

Architecture developed for ultrahigh-speed wireless networks

Researchers from IMDEA Networks have developed a novel communications architecture for future ultrafast wireless networks that promises to achieve data rates previously only possible with optical fibre.

State-of-the-art wireless communication already operates close to its maximum technical capacity, and the only viable option to satisfy the growing demands to multiply the amount of data transmitted is to increase the communication bandwidth in use. This is what the Wireless Networking Group at IMDEA Networks, led by Dr Joerg Widmer, has done in the context of the recently concluded SEARCHLIGHT project — developing a ubiquitous, robust, flexible, interoperable and cost-effective wireless network technology that operates in previously unused high-frequency bands, such as the unlicensed 60 GHz band.

“The groundbreaking protocols and algorithms we have developed provide key elements for the scalability of future wireless networks,” Dr Widmer said. “In analogy to the evolution of wired Ethernet from a shared medium to a fully switched network, we envision that future wireless networks will consist of many highly directional LOS (line-of-sight) channels for communication between access points (APs) and end devices.” Thus, the architecture of future millimetre-wave networks will be characterised by being ultradense and highly scalable.

“In order to deal with the extremely dynamic radio environments where channels may appear and disappear over very short time intervals, SEARCHLIGHT uses angle information to rapidly align the directional millimetre-wave antennas,” Dr Widmer said. “The architecture integrates a location system and learns a map of the radio environment, which allows to rapidly select the most suitable access point and antenna beam pattern and allocate radio resource using predicted location as context information. Access points are deployed ubiquitously to provide continuous connectivity even in face of mobility and blockage and the project developed very low overhead network management mechanisms to cope with the high device density.”

While millimetre-wave consumer electronics have yet to become widely deployed, technology leaders are already experimenting extensively with millimetre-wave technology to achieve data rates that were previously only possible with optical fibre. And as the congestion of lower frequency networks accelerates and the spectrum becomes a scarcer resource for telecommunication operators, the contributions of this project are sure to gain prevalence.

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