The University of Southampton

Southampton Wireless researchers prepare for billions of connected devices

Published: 8 January 2018
Illustration
Professor Lie-Liang Yang

Collaborative research between university experts from Southampton and Surrey is helping develop connectivity for future wireless systems that will combine tens of billions of machine-driven devices.

The three-year project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, is planning for Massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC) that experts say will be critical to the success of fifth generation wireless systems (5G).

Billions of smart wireless devices are predicted in future services for smart homes, cities, transport, healthcare and environments, creating a need for scalable and efficient connectivity that could not be supported by current systems that have been primarily designed for human-initiated mobile communications.

Researchers from the Southampton Wireless group are joining with the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) at the University of Surrey for the project known as ‘New Air Interface Techniques for Future Massive Machine Communications’. Commercial applications will be exploited during the programme through partnerships with experienced academic and industrial partners. The project proposes to meet challenges of future mMTC by investigating and designing novel non-orthogonal multiple access, flexible duplexing, and adaptive coherent-noncoherent transmission schemes, as well as new waveforms that are tailored for the future mMTC systems.

Professor Lie-Liang Yang, from Southampton’s department of Electronics and Computer Science, says, “Our vision for the future is that everything will be smart: smart homes and smart cities connected by smart transportation systems, smart healthcare, smart environments, and much more. Achieving these objectives relies on a huge number of smart devices or machines acting in different roles, and most of them connected via the Internet of Things (IoT). Explicitly, most legacy designs for human-initiated mobile communication are not efficient for these device-centric IoT systems. With this project, we expect to investigate and design novel physical-layer and MAC techniques in order to meet the challenges. We hope our research results can be beneficial to vertical industries, subscribers, mobile operators and above all to the UK’s economic competitiveness and academic standing.”

Key technologies developed in the process will be prototyped and integrated into test bed facilities in Surrey, allowing researchers to demonstrate the viability of new design approaches and accelerate toward commercialisation. Project partners include Sony Europe, Huawei, General Electric, NEC, Thales and University spinout AccelerComm.

Southampton Wireless (SW) has been advancing wireless communications since the early 1980s and is led by Professor Lajos Hanzo. Research themes in the group include wireless communication and mobile networking, signal processing, visible-light communication, quantum communication and molecular communication.

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