The Centre for Wireless Innovation host 4th mm-Wave symposium
The Centre for Wireless Innovation held the fourth mm-Wave symposium on 18th October 2019 in the Great Hall of Queen’s University Belfast, with a focus on wireless communications for densely populated environments, a big challenge for future 5G networks (millimetre wave). Our host was Prof Simon Cotton, Director of our Centre for Wireless Innovation (CWI).
This year, as well as our academic speakers, we had a number of talks from industry and other local stakeholders. This balance worked well as it is always extremely valuable to learn the thoughts of industry and our stakeholders so that research remains informed.
QUB’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise formally opened proceedings. In her talk, Prof Emma Flynn outlined the importance of academia and industry working together to realise common goals and advance society. Prof Vince Fusco (ECIT, CTO) then provided an overview of the mm-Wave research being conducted in CWI and our technical direction of travel in the area.
James Noakes from Belfast City Council provided his thoughts on the role that 5G can play as Belfast transitions into becoming a smart city. It was a well-timed coincidence that he was just back from a week’s workshop on 5G and smart cities by Harvard University.
Prof Allen Mackenzie from Tennessee Tech and Virginia Tech shared some of his work on the stochastic optimization for network planning of wireless networks which carefully takes in to account the challenging characteristics of millimetre-wave propagation.
Following this, Dr Holger Claussen from Nokia Bell Labs (Dublin), delivered a very inspirational talk which included the proposition that we need to think beyond wireless networks as a means of transmitting data only, and that we should be exploiting information exchange to perform extra tasks, such as sensing and localisation. He also hit the note perfectly with the emphasis on reliability – it doesn’t matter what capacity we have if we don’t have reliability.
Prof Erik Larsson from Linköping University in Sweden was very kind to share some of his thoughts on the physical layer technologies that will help to shape 6G (oh, did we just say 6G?). Certainly there were enough ideas in Erik’s talk to keep us all busy well into the next decade. Erik’s thoughts on machine learning in respect to physical layer wireless were quite aligned to our thinking, it is not some magic tool that will solve everything. The physics are the physics, so we have to be careful. There may well be some particular use cases but it is probably not going to solve everything.
Paul Crane from BT Research provided us with a thorough overview of BT’s efforts to converge their offerings into one smart network, sharing results of their extensive fixed wireless access trials at mm-Wave frequencies, showing that despite some challenges, it is possible in many different scenarios and at appreciable distance.
The importance and benefits that can be obtained from sharing infrastructure and spectrum when appropriate frequency planning is in place was convincingly highlighted by Prof Luiz Da Silva, from CONNECT and Trinity College Dublin. Luiz also provided an overview of some of the work being undertaken at CONNECT to use aerial devices (drones) to supplement ground based infrastructure networks.
Tim Masson from Keysight Technologies discussed some of the challenges facing OTA testing for 5G mm-Wave and the company’s complete suite of T&M equipment for validating 5G mm-Wave devices across the work flow.
Prof Mark Beach, University of Bristol (UK) and his team have led the way in the practical demonstration of massive MIMO in setting a number of research firsts and world records. Their work on using the error vector magnitude for user grouping in massive MIMO systems (Adaptive User Grouping Based on EVM Prediction for Efficient & Robust Massive MIMO in TDD) looks equally as impressive. We always like when we hear the word ‘channel’ mentioned in a presentation and Mark’s channel count did not disappoint!
The importance of being proactive in the configuration of 5G networks was demonstrated by Prof Muhammad Ali Imran, University of Glasgow (UK), in his presentation on Joint RAN and Backhaul Optimisation for Dense Cellular Networks.
We concluded the symposium debate with a peak preview into tomorrow’s mobile networks, with Dr Hien Ngo (CWI) who is ripping up the rule book and ditching the whole idea of cells, through his work on Cell-Free Massive MIMO for Beyond 5G.
The very high quality of the research and the optimism of our industry partners made us believe that is is a very exciting time to be working in the wireless space. By combining the deep knowledge and innovation potential from academic researchers and the market and financial power of the telecoms industry, we are in a stronger position than ever to meet the insatiable appetite of mobile users for ever higher capacities irrespective of the operating scenario.
We would like to thank our speakers (photo) and audience for supporting this event and accepting to debate and network for a day on the way forward in 5G and beyond. Check us on Twitter (@CWI_QUB) and the web https://www.qub.ac.uk/ecit/CWI/ to witness the advancement of wireless innovation by ourselves and our industry & academic partners.
Photo (L-R): Dr Hien Ngo, Prof Simon Cotton, Tim Masson, Prof Allen B. MacKenzie, Dr Holger Claussen, Prof Luiz DaSilva, Prof Mark Beach, Prof Erik G Larsson, Paul Crane, Prof Muhammad Ali Imran and Prof Vince Fusco