Physical Layer Network Coding for Cooperative Wireless Networks

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Electronics


Fifth generation (5G) wireless systems are intended to provide mobile services at a much higher peak data rates and with a total user-capacity density several orders of magnitude higher than current systems. This will require significant densification of the radio access network infrastructure, requiring a much larger number of access points which must therefore be much cheaper and less energy intensive than existing base stations. A recent proposal to enable this is called the Cloud Radio Access Network (C-RAN), in which a large number of very simple access points are connected to a central baseband processing unit via a fixed network known as the "fronthaul" network. This has the benefit of enabling cooperation between the access points, which is known to significantly improve the efficiency of very dense wireless networks. However a major challenge is posed by the capacity and cost of the fronthaul network.

The proposed project will explore a new paradigm for cooperative wireless networks that has the potential to greatly reduce the capacity required on the fronthaul network for a given total user capacity, while retaining the benefits of cooperation, based on a recent development called physical layer network coding (PNC). It has two specific aims:

1) Extension of the technique to further scenarios of practical and industrial interest;
2) Simplification of its implementation at the access points, and conformance with proposed 5G standards.

The potential impact is improve performance and reduce costs of 5G network infrastructure, by making the C-RAN architecture more practically and economically viable. Its novelty is that while PNC has been proposed for relay networks, there appears to be no work elsewhere exploring its application to C-RAN. It is clearly aligned to the EPSRC research portfolio, and especially to the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund area "Transformative Digital Technologies", which includes 5G mobile network technology. The research methodology will involve a mix of theoretical analysis, computer simulation using Matlab, and prototyping using USRP devices.

An initial informal agreement has been reached with BT Laboratories for industrial collaboration on the work.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R512230/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021
1947504 Studentship EP/R512230/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Abigail Elcock