Novel communications architecture for future ultra-high speed wireless networks developed by IMDEA Networks researchers
SEARCHLIGHT project radically rethinks wireless architectures for highly scalable ultra-dense millimeter-wave networks
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 Computer Scientist and Research Professor Dr. Joerg Widmer, has done in the context of the recently concluded SEARCHLIGHT project. Dr. Widmer, who was awarded a 1.7 million Euro ERC Consolidator Grant to carry out this research, has developed a ubiquitous, robust, flexible, interoperable and cost effective wireless network technology that operates in previously unused high frequency bands, such as the unlicensed 60GHz band.
As the congestion of lower frequency networks accelerates and the spectrum becomes a scarcer resource for telecommunication operators, the contributions of this project will gain prevalence. While millimeter-wave consumer electronics have yet to become widely deployed, technology leaders are already experimenting extensively with millimeter-wave technology to achieve data rates that were previously only possible with optical fiber.
"The ground breaking protocols and algorithms we have developed provide key elements for the scalability of future wireless networks," says Joerg Widmer. "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 millimeter-wave networks will be characterized by being ultra-dense 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 millimeter-wave antennas," explains Dr. Widmer. "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."
Dr. Widmer, has recently awarded a H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network grant on "Millimeter-wave Networking and Sensing for Beyond 5G", and within this project his group will follow-up on the promising work that was started during the ERC grant. The work of the prestigious ERC grant also led to a collaboration project funded by Huawei on millimeter-wave and low frequency channel correlation and a sub-contracted project on a "Millimeter-wave SDR-based Open Experimentation Platform" within the framework of the H2020 project "Orchestration and Reconfiguration Control Architecture" (ORCA), to extend a FPGA based platform to less powerful hardware and enable remote access and experimentation for teaching and research.
Joan Palacios, Guillermo Bielsa, Paolo Casari, Joerg Widmer (March 2019)
Single- and Multiple-Access Point Indoor Localization for Millimeter Wave Networks [PDF]
IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications. 18 (3). pp. 1927-1942. IEEE. ISSN 1536-1276.
Thomas Nitsche, Adriana B. Flores, Edward W. Knightly, Joerg Widmer (April 2015)
Steering with Eyes Closed: mm-Wave Beam Steering without In-Band Measurement [PDF]
In: The 34th IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications (IEEE INFOCOM 2015), 26 April - 1 May 2015, Hong Kong, China.
Wireless Networking Group at IMDEA Networks: http://wireless.networks.imdea.org/
Facebook’s Terragraph project: https://terragraph.com/
SpaceX’s Starlink network: https://www.spacex.com/webcast
Alphabet’s (Google) Loon Project: https://loon.com/
Facebook’s PointView Tech: Facebook’s Plans for Space Lasers Revealed
Provided by IMDEA Networks Institute