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Emerging Trends of Tomorrow’s Communications

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Since its inception in last century, mobile wireless communications have gone through a gradual, steady evolution from its early days to broadband 4th Generation (4G) wireless systems. Dr. Abhishek Roy, a Principal Engineer and leading wireless professional from Samsung Electronics ㅑ is of the view that 4G has truly “brought a new wireless revolution” – online services, which were un-thinkable a few years back, are now a reality. Railway reservations, ordering food in restaurants and even calling cabs are now only a matter of few clicks using our mobile phones. As a top-notch wireless industry professional Dr. Roy is in the forefront of leading different 4G research and deployment across different continents for more than a decade. Prof. Navrati Saxena, Associate Professor in Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) feels that after the successful deployment of 4G wireless across different countries, the telecommunication world is now poised for the next big leap – the 5G wireless with Internet of Things (IoT).

Dr. Sukhdeep Singh of Samsung Research India told that IoT refers to a wide range of physical “things,” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, for automatic information exchange. From an IoT’s perspective, “things” can refer to a variety of devices, including surveillance cameras, environment monitoring sensors, healthcare equipments, biochip transponders on farm animals, and sensor-equipped automobiles. The vision of “Digital World” and “Smart City” projects are now relying on IoT. Dr. Roy thinks that by 2020, the number of IoT devices is expected to cross a few billions. The big question is how to provide such a massive connectivity? Prof. Saxena believes that Next generation 5G wireless are expected to use new radio technologies for providing massive IoT connectivity, with better coverage, higher data rates and superior user experience. However, the introduction of ultra-dense 5G wireless networks also threatens to increase the network’s energy consumption, thereby aggravating the detrimental greenhouse (CO2) gas emissions. Thus, a dense 5G wireless network, not only with massive connectivity and higher data rates, but also with reduced energy consumption, is needed to protect our mother earth from increasing greenhouse emissions.

Dr. Roy pointed out that recent research activities in these directions are pointing towards two supplementary approaches: (1) 5G-enabled small wireless gateways (2) virtualization of wireless networks by using cloud-based solutions. Dr. Singh referred that such 5G-enabled small-cell gateways hold the key to provide massive connectivity and data rates in offices, school / college / university campuses, shopping-malls, movie theatres, airports / railway stations / bus terminals – thus taking our life a step closer to smart city. Prof. Saxena commented that joint research works in collaboration with Samsung Electronics and SKKU pointed out that by efficient coverage planning and data transmissions of 5G-enabled small wireless gateways could result in energy savings and CO2 emissions. Another viable approach to achieve green wireless communications lies in virtualization of networks, she mentioned.
Dr. Roy explains that virtualization of wireless networks is a recent architectural evolution of wireless industry, based on distributed architecture. As shown in Figure 1, in virtualized wireless networks, Radio Units (RU) or antennas are separated from Centralized Units (CU) in cloud by using a high speed (typically of several Gbps) fiber optical cables. Major wireless industries are now planning to connect hundreds of such radio antennas distributed in dense city areas with a centralized processing pool, via high speed switches. Dr. Singh commented that the driving force

Figure 1: 

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5G-enabled direct communications during emergency


for centralization is quite pragmatic for the wireless operators: “operating expenditure reduction”. About two thirds of a wireless industry’s cost is attributed to this operating expenditure, including heavy energy bill, and maintenance expenses. Dr. Roy and Prof. Saxena mentioned that their collaborative R&D experiments show that efficient use of virtualized wireless networks result in almost 40% – 50% energy reduction.

Figure 2:

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5G-enabled direct communications during emergency

5G-enabled direct communications during emergency
Dr. Roy pointed out that another interesting advantage of 5G wireless networks, covers much more than our commercial wireless usage and encompasses the Public Safety and Emergency Communication Systems. He referred that simply thinking about any natural (e.g. earthquake, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis etc.) or man-made emergency (accidents, terrorist activities etc.), we can understand the necessity of emergency communications! For example, any accident or earthquake leaves people injured and trapped inside the littered debris in complete hapless conditions. The burning question is how can we make our communications systems to assist us in these situations?

Dr. Roy further commented that the answer lies in successful roll out of new public safety and emergency communication networks using emerging direct device-to-device communications and group communications features of 5G wireless. As shown in Figure 2, 5G will allow a wireless device to directly discover and communicate with other devices in proximity, even without any explicit network control and coverage. Prof. Saxena told that as an example, a victim trapped in an accident or earthquake, might find his wireless device on, but out of network coverage. 5G wireless in near future will allow such a victim’s device to directly communicate with some other person’s device in proximity, even without network coverage. Dr. Singh commented thaton the other hand, group communications will allow users to first get affiliated and then select their respective groups. Emergency responders and public safety workers will have automatic affiliations to their respective groups.

Figure 3: 

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A Public-Safety Network using Wireless Communications


Dr. Roy and their group in Samsung Electronics are now rolling out such ultra-modern public safety and emergency networks are recently rolled out in many developed countries, like Korea and United States. Figure 4 shows such a public safety network using ultra-modern wireless technologies, encompassing Police Department (PD), Fire and Local Government (LG). Experiments over actual public safety and emergency networks reveal that these networks and efficient to notify the alarm messages across thousands of users with a fraction of seconds. Dr. Roy, Prof. Saxena and Dr. Singh believe that it is now time for other countries to use these advanced wireless networks for the safety of their citizens.

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