Seamless and Adaptive Wireless Access for Efficient Future Networks (SERAN)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Engineering

Abstract

Wireless communications is becoming a pervasive technology that we use throughout our lives. Across society, there is a move away from using the internet on desktop computers and towards mobile phones, laptops and tablets. This means that the amount of data transmission to support our online activity is rapidly increasing. There is also significant growth in automatic data sharing and collection from many types of sensors, meters and computers, sometimes called machine-to-machine communications. Mobile network operators face major challenges in setting up their networks to meet the increasing traffic load. They would like to provide a rich and seamless internet connection experience to their subscribers, but this must be traded off against the financial and energy costs of their network.

There are three major concepts or trends that can assist mobile operators to improve their networks. The first is the concept of heterogeneous networks which includes both wide area large cells or macrocells and short range small cells that allows the network operator to target areas of high traffic demand such as offices or shopping malls. Using small cells provides a low cost and low energy solution to provide high data rate services to subscribers.

The second concept is the use of more radio spectrum to meet traffic demand. The UK government has recently been auctioning more radio spectrum to network operators to boost capacity. However, by using a new set of higher frequency bands called the millimetre wave spectrum, much higher data rates may be achieved. The drawback is that radio signals do not propagate as far as for existing mobile broadband frequencies, so they are probably best suited to short range small cells.

The third concept relates to efficient management of radio spectrum with a large number of small cells operating. The first danger in this scenario is that the complexity of managing the large number of cells and frequencies becomes impossibly complex. A second major problem relates to the potential for significant interference between small cells, which limits their efficiency. One solution to these problems are so-called "phantom cells". These use a separate higher power data link to coordinate the activities of all mobiles and thus limit the complexity of the system.

This project will study new ideas to manage the growth of heterogeneous networks and and the use of new spectrum bands in an efficient way. These methods will manage the network resources in a simple manner and will tackle interference effectively. They will yield a network that provides a good quality of experience to subscribers in a more energy efficient way than today's mobile networks.

Planned Impact

This project is planned to have wider impact in several ways. These include impact on the industrial supporters of the project, the wider communications industry, on the researchers funded by the project and finally on the community in general.

The project will impact directly on the industrial supporters of the project by setting up and maintaining a regular dialogue on project progress and results. Six monthly progress meetings will be arranged and an advisory board of industrialists will be established to monitor progress and provide steering of the research programme. On an annual basis, strategic review workshops will be held to discuss project progress and researchers from other major research programmes will be invited to attend to present their work and provide feedback. The project will also involve several targeted technical workshops to discuss specific research themes and promote interaction between the project researchers and industrial supporters.

The project website will be used to reach out to the wider industrial community and project participants will also be involved in outreach events, such as those organised by Cambridge Wireless and Knowledge Transfer Networks in the UK. The project researchers will also exploit opportunities to present their work to relevant international groups, such as the World Wide Research Forum or the Wireless Innovation Forum. Routes to patent and then fund commercialisation of significant research results and findings will be established, with advice from the industrial advisory board.

The post doctoral researchers on the project will be trained to build their knowledge and experience. They will participate in presentation and writing skills training as required in order to deliver their findings effectively to both academic and industrial audiences. They will also be encouraged to participate in University training on research funding, entrepreneurship and other skills that will benefit their future careers. The researchers will also work closely with each other and will be encouraged to work with other academic and industrial collaborators when opportunities arise. The three funded post-doctoral researchers will also assist with supervising four PhD students who will participate in the project.

In order to reach out to the wider non-scientific community, the researchers will be encouraged to become STEM ambassadors so that they can encourage school children to get involved in science and engineering. Researchers from the project will also participate in Science fairs by organising events about the project or participating in more general events and demonstrations.
 
Description The SERAN project ran successfully with significant research advances made by the research team engaged with the project at Edinburgh, Sheffield and Bristol. Major novel contributions made during the project include:

1) Development of novel statistical multiband propagation models, which were verified against ray tracing simulations and propagation measurements;
2) Novel beamforming algorithms to support directional communication at millimetre wave frequencies;
3) Evaluations of coverage and energy efficiency of cellular networks, studying the impact of reducing cell size for millimetre wave operation.

Several of these meetings have been held in conjunction with the FARAD project, which is run by Sheffield (EP/M013723/1) and Bristol Universities (EP/M01360X/1). In September 2017, in conjunction with the Commnet-2 Project (EP/N007824/1), we organised a one day workshop at the Royal Society in London with 60 attendees to disseminate findings from the TI3 Call that funded SERAN along with other projects.
Exploitation Route We anticipate that the results of our project will be exploited both by researchers in the academic community and by industrialists as appropriate.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics

 
Description We have organised regular six monthly project progress meetings with our industrial project participants to discuss our research and seek their advice on future directions. This also ensured that the industrialists were aware of the major findings of our research and could have further discussions about the work carried out by the PHD students and post-doctoral researchers involved in the project.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)
Impact Types Economic

 
Description BEIS Quickturn Project
Amount £500,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Competition 1273/01/2017 ND 114 
Organisation Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 12/2019
 
Description EPSRC Responsive Mode
Amount £1,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P000673/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2017 
End 02/2020
 
Description Mathworks PhD Studentship
Amount £77,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Mathworks Ltd 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 10/2020
 
Description The Royal Society/NSFC International Exchanges Scheme
Amount £24,000 (GBP)
Funding ID IE161564 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2017 
End 03/2019
 
Description Huawei 
Organisation Huawei Technologies
Country China 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We keep Huawei aware of our research findings.
Collaborator Contribution Huawei attend regular project meetings.
Impact The industrialists are made aware of our project findings at our meetings which they may use in their own research and development work.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Mobile Virtual Centre of Excellence 
Organisation Virtual Centre of Excellence (VCE) in mobile communications
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Our project collaborates with Mobile VCE Organisation on this project through their members in industry.
Collaborator Contribution Mobile VCE members are invited to attend our project meetings.
Impact Industrial Members of Mobile VCE attend project meetings.
Start Year 2015
 
Description NEC Telecom Modus 
Organisation NEC Corporation
Department NEC (UK) Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We keep NEC Telecom Modus aware of our research findings.
Collaborator Contribution NEC Telecom Modus attend regular project meetings. They can also provide us access to NEC equipment for hardware verification.
Impact The industrialists are made aware of our project findings at our meetings which they may use in their own research and development work.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Roke Manor 
Organisation Roke Manor Research Ltd.
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We keep Roke Manor aware of our research findings.
Collaborator Contribution Roke Manor attend regular project meetings.
Impact The industrialists are made aware of our project findings at our meetings which they may use in their own research and development work.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Thales 
Organisation Thales Group
Department Thales Research & Technology (Uk) Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We keep Thales aware of our research findings.
Collaborator Contribution Thales attend regular project meetings.
Impact The industrialists are made aware of our project findings at our meetings which they may use in their own research and development work.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Toshiba Research 
Organisation Toshiba Research Europe Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We keep Toshiba aware of our research findings.
Collaborator Contribution Toshiba attend regular project meetings. They also provide access to equipment for channel measurement work.
Impact The industrialists are made aware of our project findings at our meetings which they may use in their own research and development work.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Vodafone 
Organisation Vodafone
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We keep Vodafone aware of our research findings.
Collaborator Contribution Vodafone attend regular project meetings.
Impact The industrialists are made aware of our project findings at our meetings which they may use in their own research and development work.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EPSRC TI3 Project Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This event bought together researchers in the field of "Towards an Intelligent Information Infrastructure" (TI3) and included presentations from six key TI3 projects. Project members presented key research findings, gave demonstrations of their work and exchanged knowledge with the wider research community. The following topics were covered during the day:

1. Future Communications and Networks
2. Software Defined Networking
3. Fifth Generation Wireless Networks
4. Network Security and Threats Detection
5. Data Science and Analytics
6. Extracting knowledge from large data sets
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://commnet.ac.uk/t13-project-workshop/
 
Description Invited Talk at IET CWMMN2017 Conference, Beijing, China 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact John Thompson gave an invited plenary talk on the Millimetre Wave Wireless Communications work in the SERAN project to the attendees of the 7th IET International Conference
on Wireless, Mobile and Multimedia Networks (ICWMMN2017) in Beijing, China.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.icwmmn.org/
 
Description Invited Talk at NextGWIN 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact John Thompson gave a talk on the Millimetre Wave wireless communications research being carried out at Edinburgh as part of the EPSRC SERAN Project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://conference.researchbib.com/view/event/62175