TV White Space Testbed with Robust Spectrum Sensing Algorithms for M2M Communications

Lead Research Organisation: Queen Mary, University of London
Department Name: Sch of Electronic Eng & Computer Science

Abstract

Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) recently have been identified by the UK government as one of five areas that are likely to provide real growth opportunities in the sector and where Government and industry, working together, could stimulate economic growth. The benefits of M2M would be most evident in energy, agriculture, manufacturing, e-health and transportation. TV White space (TVWS) spectrum refers to the UHF TV frequencies that are not being used by existing licensees at all times or at all locations. A white space device (WSD) can make use of these frequencies provided that the risk of harmful interference to the licensed users of the spectrum, i.e. Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and Programme making and special events (PMSE), can be appropriately managed. TVWS provides an excellent opportunity to enable these M2M applications as UHF TV spectrum enable signals to propagate further and penetrate buildings more readily than in the higher frequency bands typically available for mobile connections. Current approaches to identifying the TVWS rely on a centrally controlled geo-location database. The real-time events and dynamic changes of propagation environment pose significant challenges to the database model. This project aims to build a testbed that integrates the exiting geo-location database approach with the robust spectrum sensing algorithms and novel wideband antennas to secure the white space spectrum for M2M communications. A series of measurements will be carried out for indoor, city urban and rural areas to demonstrate the novelty of this project.

Smart meters can be taken as an example of how white space can be utilised efficiently to demonstrate the benefits this technology will bring to M2M applications. Smart meters typically deliver data in bursts and involve relatively small file transfers. They can tolerate fair amount of delays and do not require a report to be delivered exactly at a precise time. Because of these minimal timing requirements of smart meters, e.g. the government requiring to record consumption data in each thirty minute period, this maps very nicely to the nature of white space spectrum as they are not available all the time. However, reliability and coverage are the keys for smart meters, especially for an indoor or rural area. The UHF TVWS spectrum would be the ideal candidate to address these challenges. For reliable radio links around homes and rural areas, the novel compact antennas in this project would ensure smart meters being able to pick up weak signals and combat multipaths. The robust sensing algorithms proposed in this project would increase the detection accuracies of the TVWSs to further ensure robustness of the radio links for the smart meters. The systematic approach of this project will also benefit to the further development on other M2M and IoT connections.

Planned Impact

The proposed project extends expertise in antennas and signal processing techniques to develop a TV white space (TVWS) testbed that integrates the exiting geo-location database approach with robust spectrum sensing algorithms and novel wideband antennas for M2M and IoT applications in manufacturing, e-health, security, insurance, automotive, traffic management, street lighting and smart homes, especially, smart meters in the energy sector. The proposed novel antennas and spectrum sensing algorithms can enhance the radio links and coverage in the home and rural environment. The implications of the proposed testbed will additionally have a tremendous impact on converting the scientific research into a prototype and connecting cross-disciplinary researchers.

Beneficiaries are identified based on the expected period of impact. In the short term, the outcome from this project will primarily benefit two industry groups: (a) researchers interested in wireless devices and antenna design, and in M2M and IoT aspects of such devices; (b) digital signal processing researchers working on intelligent sensing algorithms for cognitive and cooperative radio systems. In the medium term, the technologies developed in the project will benefit industry M2M product developers, regulators and the information technology community. For M2M product developers, TVWS enables M2M applications more practical as TVWS spectrum enable signals to propagate further and penetrate buildings more readily than in the higher frequency bands typically available for mobile frequency bands. The outcome of this project also allows regulators, e.g. Ofcom, to evaluate and standardise TVWS antennas and spectrum sensing algorithms for M2M communications.

The project will impact the UK general public, wider communities and government. Specifically, it will greatly assist the continuous development of M2M communications which can be used to gain immediate feedback on how a particular remote asset, e.g. smart meters, is being used, which features are most popular and what problems such as errors or breakdowns typically arise. This information is useful for shortening the lead-time to an improved or updated version or offering proactive services, thereby providing a competitive edge. When applied to people, M2M communications can help to protect lone workers or vulnerable children, be used to find a missing person and to help improve lives by ensuring the correct medicines are being taken. This project also benefit the UK to transform industries, from utilities to transportation, providing more efficient, cheaper and more sustainable ways of developing existing business models and operational processes, and enabling new business.
 
Description The outcome of this research project has also been explored and considered by EMS Ltd. I have been awarded £2.5K consultancy fee for the advice on deploying TV whitespace networks by EMS Ltd.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)
Impact Types Economic

 
Description ETSI oneM2M
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description Ofcom TV White space policy
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description EU Horizon Prize
Amount € 86,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Union 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 11/2016 
 
Description GBSense: GHz Bandwidth Sensing from Smart Antennas to Sub-Nyquist Signal Processing
Amount £1,061,140 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R00711X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2018 
End 03/2023
 
Description CRFS 
Organisation CRFS Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution NA
Collaborator Contribution CRFS has supported this project a RFeye sensing node, which has been installed at Queen Mary University of London. The node is recording the spectrum data 24/7 since March 2015. The node and data have been used for producing interesting research output.
Impact A number publications has been resulted as decried in the publication section. A list of DOI is as follows: 10.1109/TSP.2015.2512562 10.1109/TWC.2015.2485992 10.1109/WoWMoM.2015.7158201 10.1109/WCNCW.2015.7122549
Start Year 2014
 
Description InterDigital Europe 
Organisation InterDigital
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution NA
Collaborator Contribution InterDigital Europe has supported the 2nd weM2M event financially, and also give a number of advices and suggestion to this project.
Impact The 2nd weM2M workshop is organised. More details can be found in the link: http://www.itutility.ac.uk/event/the-2nd-wem2m-workshop-enabling-iotm2m-solutions/
Start Year 2015
 
Description Nominet 
Organisation Nominet Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution This project has been working with Nominet for the TV white space database development as well as the configuration for the white space devices at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).
Collaborator Contribution Nominet has provided their qualified geo-location connections to QMUL for research and development and connecting to the white space devices.
Impact A number publications has been resulted as decried in the publication section. A list of DOI is as follows: 10.1109/TSP.2015.2512562 10.1109/TWC.2015.2485992 10.1109/WoWMoM.2015.7158201 10.1109/WCNCW.2015.7122549
Start Year 2014
 
Description TV shite space spectrum support 
Organisation Ofcom
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We have given response and comments on the development of TV white space in the meetings and events organised by the telecommunication regulator, Ofcom.
Collaborator Contribution We are have been invited to various meetings and event organised by the telecommunication regulator, Ofcom. We have also been granted a TV white space spectrum licence for research and development of this project including the TV white space testbed, compressive spectrum sensing algorithms and compact antennas.
Impact A number publications has been resulted as decried in the publication section. A list of DOI is as follows: 10.1109/TSP.2015.2512562 10.1109/TWC.2015.2485992 10.1109/WoWMoM.2015.7158201 10.1109/WCNCW.2015.7122549
Start Year 2014
 
Description Weightless 
Organisation Weight Loss Resources Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution I have co-oragnaised the workshop on weightless machine communications with Weightless SIG. The workshop brought a number of industry and academic speakers with over 60 delegates for both workshops.
Collaborator Contribution Prof William Webb has given constructive comments and suggestions on the development of this project. The standard on the Weightless SIG has also been supported to the research team.
Impact A number publications has been resulted as decried in the publication section. A list of DOI is as follows: 10.1109/TSP.2015.2512562 10.1109/TWC.2015.2485992 10.1109/WoWMoM.2015.7158201 10.1109/WCNCW.2015.7122549
Start Year 2014
 
Description IEEE VTS workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This was an invited talk to a workshop organised by the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society. Around 60 delegates attended the workshop, which led to interesting discussions afterwards, and potential collaborations with King's College.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description ESTI M2M 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact I have been acting as the official contact and voting member for the ESTI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute), and have involved in the oneM2M technical working group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015
 
Description The 2nd weM2M Workshop: Enabling IoT/M2M Solutions 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The second WeM2M workshop brought together leading academics, software developers, innovators, opportunity creators and public authorities to share ideas, opportunities and solutions to make possible the evolution from simple connectivity known as Machine to Machine (M2M) to the real Internet of Things (IoT).

This event had a different focus to the first one in that there were fewer academic presentations and more strategic and position papers from policy-makers and business leaders. This may not have been to the taste of all participants and it may be that the next event has more than one track to cater for the constituent groups. This reflects the diversity and depth of the audience for this topic which appears to be gaining in prominence both academically and in the media.

The event lasted from 09:30 until 4:30 in the afternoon. From the registration time, throughout the breaks and until the post event wind-down there were as a lively level of conversation indicating that the event succeeded well as a networking opportunity.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015