Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 19:50
The Wireless@KTH Research strategy is founded in a process involving foresight studies (in particular our own Mobility Foresight) and on input received from industry partners as well as faculty involved in research in the area of Wireless Systems. The research strategy is the basis for selection of projects and other activities at the center.
In the strategy documents we identify several paradigm shifts ahead in mobile & wireless communications. Some have already had severe impact on fixed communications and the ICT industry in general:
- Telecommunications and networking are becoming enabling technologies rather than strategic business areas in themselves; in the same way as the computer industry in the 1970-1980’s and fixed networking in 1990’s saw their business change.
- High-speed mobile data access is successfully provided in urban areas in most industrialized countries by means of 3G and 4G mobile systems. Mobile data access is turning into a commodity—the difference between fixed and mobile network access is diminishing.
- Standardization and open platforms are necessary to provide the vast volumes of commodity infrastructure elements and end user devices as well as services.
- The impact of large-scale usage of M2M systems and services (e.g. energy, transportation infrastructures) on wireless communication infrastructures (“the next billion connections”) is imminent but has still to be evaluated. Are current solutions scalable in terms of sufficiently low cost, reliability and capacity for these applications?
The paradigm shift has already started and will have a significant research-development-business impact over the next 10 years. In the infrastructure domain, one of the problems for the wireless industry is the increasing decoupling of traffic and revenues. With the introduction of (virtually) flat rate Mobile Broadband services the traffic volumes have been growing rapidly whereas the revenues (coupled to the number of subscriptions) have increased only modestly. Research challenges are
- Flat rate access provisioning of ultra high capacity: As capacity demands continue to increase, in particular in high population density areas, a massive increase in the number of short range base stations/access points will be required – initially “off-loading” the conventional “macro/micro”- cellular system, but eventually becoming the carrier of the bulk of traffic. The large number of access points requires new business models and deployment strategies that manage physical deployment as well as interference/spectrum management in new cost effective ways (self-organization, zero-configuration). Energy consumption in future networks is another challenge. By making more spectrum available, e.g. opening bands for secondary use we can significantly lower both infrastructure as well as energy cost in future systems.
- Attractive service offerings to increasing revenues: Developing new technologies and business models to provide better access QoS, in order to allow for new and attractive services with focus on enhanced user experience. A key research challenge is the methodology for creation of scalable and profitable mobile services.
- 100’s of billions of new connections: What system design and business models will make (mobile) wireless infrastructures attractive to large M2M players that require huge numbers of connected devices with high reliability requirements, but with more limited capacity demands ?
The main research focus of Wireless@KTH is mainly to solve key technical problems in future wireless systems. However, design of technical systems is influenced by several factors for which a clear understanding must be reached. Traditionally, nature itself (i.e. physics of radio propagation, capacity limitations in networks etc) has been the main constraint in mobile and wireless communication. In designing future systems for mobile & wireless services, end-user and service provider demands, constraints and business logic have to be modeled to provide adequate input for the technical design.