Intelligent Environments for Wireless Communication for 6G
Millimeter-wave (30-300 GHz) and Terahertz-band communications (0.3-10 THz) are envisioned as key wireless technologies to satisfy the demand for Terabit-per-second (Tbps) links in the 5G and beyond eras. The very large available bandwidth in this ultra-broadband frequency range comes at the cost of a very high propagation loss, which combined with the low power of mm-wave and THz-band transceivers limits the communication distance and data-rates. This project envisions the 6G wireless communications as intelligent communication environments enabled by Ultra-Massive MIMO platforms to increase the communication distance and data-rates at mm-wave and THz-band frequencies.
Underwater communication systems have drawn the attention of the research community for the past several years. This growing interest can largely be attributed to new civil and military applications enabled by large-scale networks of underwater devices (e.g., underwater static sensors, unmanned autonomous vehicles (AUVs), and autonomous robots), which can retrieve information from the aquatic and marine environment, perform in-network processing on the extracted data, and transmit the collected information to remote locations. However, progress in this research domain has been slow. The grand challenges relating to low throughput and long delays associated with acoustic communications have still not been solved.
With a view to accelerate research in underwater communication systems, the primary research objectives of this project include:
– Exploring applicability of the THz band for underwater communications, through the use of innovative concepts such as Ultra-Massive MIMO and Dynamic Massive MIMO.
– Design, implementation, and optimal operation of reconfigurable multi-frequency (RF-THz-Optical) front-ends that make use of electronic frequency up-conversion chains, and photonic frequency down-conversion chains.
– Design and development of physically reconfigurable and electronically tunable multi-frequency antenna systems.
– Design of piezoelectric underwater energy harvesting systems.
Enabling Wireless Communications in the Terahertz Band
In recent years, wireless data traffic has grown exponentially due to a change in the way today’s society creates, shares and consumes information. This change has been accompanied by an increasing demand for higher speed wireless communication. Wireless Terabit-per-second (Tbps) links are expected to become a reality within the next ten years. Towards this aim, Terahertz Band (0.1-10 THz) communication is envisioned as one of the key wireless technologies of the next decade. The THz band will help to overcome the spectrum scarcity problems and capacity limitations of current wireless networks, by providing an unprecedentedly large bandwidth. In addition, THz-band communication will enable a plethora of long-awaited applications ranging from instantaneous massive data transfer among nearby devices in Terabit Wireless Personal and Local Area Networks, to ultra-high-definition content streaming over mobile devices in 5G and beyond small cells. Nevertheless, there are several research challenges from the very-high and frequency-selective path loss of the THz-band channel and the very limited distance, which require innovative solutions and the revision of well-established concepts in wireless communication.
The research objective of this project is to strengthen the theoretical foundations of ultrabroadband communications in the THz band and bring the Tbps links one-step closer to reality. Our targeted breakthrough is to increase the capacity of wireless systems to reach Tbps and overcome the spectrum scarcity and capacity limitations of current wireless networks. This project will make contributions along three major thrusts. First, the concept of ultra-massive (UM)-MIMO is introduced to overcome the distance limitation, based on the use of the very large antenna arrays with thousands of antenna elements. The dynamic operation modes that include beamforming, spatial multiplexing and a combination of both, as well as the multi-band UM-MIMO will be analyzed. Second, accurate models for the three-dimensional (3D) end-to-end channel, and the 3D UM-MIMO channel will be developed, which will provide physical insights and the guidelines for the THz band communication design. Third, by capturing the unique channel peculiarities, distance-adaptive resource allocation, and low-sampling-rate and multi-carrier synchronization schemes will be investigated for THz band communications.
The Internet of Space Things with CubeSats
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been recognized as a key driver of 5G wireless communications, with a projected 50 billion endpoints by 2020 ranging from connected temperature sensors to unmanned aerial vehicles. The long term success of IoT is tied to its pervasiveness, an area where the heterogeneous connectivity solutions of today fall short by a large margin. The true potential of IoT can only be realized when it is augmented with a ubiquitous connectivity platform capable of functioning even in the most remote of locations. To this end, this project focuses on the development of a novel cyber-physical system spanning ground, air, and space, called the Internet of Space Things/CubeSats (IoST). IoST expands the functionalities of traditional IoT, by not only providing an always-available satellite backhaul network, but also by contributing real-time satellite-captured information and, more importantly, performing integration of on the ground data and satellite information to enable new applications. The fundamental building block for IoST is a new generation of nano-satellites known as CubeSats, which are augmented with SDN and NFV solutions
The primary research objectives of this project include:
– Development of reconfigurable multi-band radios covering wide spectrums at microwaves, mm-wave, THz band, and optical frequencies to accommodate high-throughput services.
– Design of multi-band antenna arrays based on new materials such as graphene, which allow the creation of programmable antenna architectures with tunable frequency and radiation diagram.
– Deep neural networks-enabled resource allocation strategies for self-learning and optimization of CubeSat network.
– Tackling long delays and temporal variation in network topology through new concepts such as Stateful Segment Routing.
– Proactive handovers through Ground-to-satellite link outage forecasting and satellite diversity.
– Lightweight hardware virtualization for CubeSats with full networking support.
Heterogeneous Intrabody Biomolecular Communications for the Internet of Bio-NanoThings
The goal of the IntraBioNets project (Foundational Models of Heterogeneous Intrabody Biomolecular Communication Network Links for the Internet of Bio-NanoThings) is to address fundamental challenges in the development of a self-sustainable and biocompatible network infrastructure to interconnect the next- generation nanotechnology and synthetic-biology-enabled electrical and biological wearable and implantable devices, i.e., the Internet of Bio-Nano Things. While the constraints concerning the size, environmental, and biocompatibility faced by these devices greatly reduce the practicality of classical telecommunications solutions, their direct contact with the human body, where the cells naturally communicate and interconnect into networks, suggests the possibility to exploit these biological communications for their interconnection. In particular, the IntraBioNets project focuses on the development of a foundational models of usable communication channels on top of the biological processes underlying the Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis (MGBA), composed of the gut microbial community, the gut tissues, the enteric nervous system, and their intercommunications, drawing from cutting edge research in physiology, with the aim to realize minimally invasive, heterogeneous, and externally accessible electrical/molecular communications to transmit information between electrical and biological devices. The outcome of this proposal will establish the basis for a completely novel transdisciplinary networking domain at the core of the next-generation biomedical systems for pervasive, perpetual, and remote healthcare. To accomplish this goal, the IntraBioNets project brings together an interdisciplinary team of PIs with expertise in molecular communication and nanonetworks, implantable microelectronics engineering, and biological communication modeling and design.