EARS: Collaborative Research: Real-time Control of Dense, Mobile, Millimeter Wave Networks Using a Programmable Architecture
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The demand for wireless broadband is growing across the world. Access to high-rate wireless communication is becoming critical to the operation of any modern society. The increasing demand for spectrum requires novel solutions, capable of addressing the high-density and high-mobility expected of future wireless services. This project addresses the global need for ubiquitous wireless broadband by enabling new frequencies, specifically, the millimeter wave bands to be used in future networks. A novel agile architecture capable of supporting adaptation to varying network conditions will be developed in this project to enable efficient and seamless network operation in highly-dynamic environments characterized by high density and mobility of wireless devices. This architecture could provide low-cost broadband access nationwide by enabling the widespread use of millimeter wave networks without expensive infrastructure. The knowledge developed in this project will be integrated into course offerings and undergraduate education. All educational materials resulting from the proposed work will be widely shared with other universities. This proposal explores the potential offered by millimeter wave bands as a solution to the increasing traffic demand (network density) and increasing mobility of wireless services. To enable a network-level adaptation, the proposed work will use the tools of software-defined networking (SDN). An SDN architecture allows controllers to run applications, interface with database and cloud-based servers, and adapt the radios to changing channel conditions. The level of flexibility and adaptability required for millimeter wave networks make SDN a natural fit. This work addresses the theoretical and experimental issues that are impeding the deployment of millimeter wave wireless broadband systems. Specifically, this project will focus on the interplay between network-level optimization and physical layer communication, channel sounding, and control. The optimization framework is based on programmability, which will be enabled by the SDN framework developed in the project. The SDN will interface with a cloud-based Multi-Layer Radio Environment Map (ML-REM) that builds upon the database-enabled side information techniques pioneered for the 3.5 GHz band. Over-the-air data obtained through propagation measurements will be used to construct the ML-REM. The research will be tested experimentally on a joint SDN and software defined radio (SDR) testbed, with the experimental results being integrated into theoretical models for continuous improvement and testing.