Communications and Networks Research Lab


Researchers in the Communications and Networking Laboratory are actively engaged in addressing key challenges that face the future generation broadband communication networks.

More specifically, researchers in the wireless communications and networking area are investigating design and fundamental information-theoretic analysis of energy efficient next generation wireless networks that can deliver very high data rates anytime anywhere, via the MIMO-OFDM technology proposed for the new wireless communication standards such as Long-Term Evolution — Advanced (LTE-A), and re-thinking of cellular network design via a hierarchical structure involving macro, micro, pico and femto-cells.¬†Emerging technologies such as cognitive radios are also being investigated to address the problem of spectrum scarcity. A number of researchers are also investigating how to design more energy efficient wireless video communication networks.

Researchers in the optical communications domain are investigating the problem of reducing the carbon footprint of the next generation Internet (for more information, see Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications), along with the design and analysis of broadband networks that seamlessly integrate wireless and optical communications technologies via Passive optical networking (PON). Networking researchers are investigating practical inference methods for Internet measurement, sophisticated accurate clock synchronization techniques over the Internet and aspects of Information-theoretic security.

More details on these and other related projects can be found in the following list of projects.


Codes over rings

Researchers: Margreta Kuijper

This project focuses on algebraic codes over finite rings of the type Z_{p^r}. In recent years, novel linear algebraic tools were developed that overcome the difficulties of the presence of zero divisors in such rings.

Current research is focused on further application of these fundamental ideas. We consider the design of efficient algorithms for decoding of Reed-Solomon codes over rings; network coding over finite rings; shortest recurrence algorithms for sequences over rings; non-Hamming metric decoding over finite rings.

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Coordination of linear multi-agent systems over digital networks

Researchers: Girish Nair

In this project, a  distributed coordination problem will be studied, where multiple agents cooperate over an errorless, digital network to keep an underlying linear dynamical system in a desired target region of operation, despite bounded dynamical and measurement noise.

What makes this topic challenging is that the agents’ data sets may not be “well-aligned”; consequently, some agents may have to take actions that sacrifice performance, in order to indirectly signal information to other agents through the global dynamics.This leads to a dual effect that generally complicates the problem.

This problem will be studied from the point of view of a recent nonstochastic theory of information for worst-case problems with bounded noise [Nair, IEEE Trans, Automatic Control, 2013; Nair, IEEE Conf. Decision and Control, Osaka, 2015]. By studying the nonstochastic information flows in these multi-agent systems,the aim will be to derive  criteria for control/coordination, possibly by extending the  “structural routability” conditions of [Nair, 2014].

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Easing the squeeze: dynamic and distributed resource allocation with cognitive radio

Researchers: Tansu Alpcan, Subhrakanti Dey

The radio spectrum is a scarce and valuable natural resource which is being squeezed by the rapid growth in wireless communications. Cognitive radios make efficient use of radio spectrum by dynamically reusing frequencies. This requires cognitive radios to sense the local environment and to control the interference caused to existing users of the spectrum. In this project we will design novel dynamic and distributed resource allocation algorithms for cognitive radios in order to significantly improve their performance. We will do so using techniques from extreme value theory, game theory and mechanism design and large random
matrix theory.

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Gigabit wireless access using millimeter-wave over optical fiber systems

Researchers: Masud Bakaul, Thas Nirmalathas, Christina Lim, Stan Skafidas

Millimeter-wave radio-over-fiber (RoF) systems are widely considered as a disruptive technology for Gigabit/s wireless communications. In these systems, the benefits of optical fiber and mm-wave radio technologies are combined to provide an alternative approach for high-speed wireless access to customers. An optical fiber feeder network is used to interconnect a large number of remote antenna base stations (BSs) to the local Exchange (central office, CO), where most of the switching and signal processing equipment are installed. Usual distances between the CO and the BSs and the BSs and the customers are 5-50 km and 10 -1000 meters respectively. This project explores various system technologies and architectures in simplification of optically modulated millimeter-wave generations, transports and detections that enable Gigabit wireless access potentially at low-costs.

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Large scale multiple antennas for energy-efficient heterogeneous wireless networks

Researchers: Phee Lep Yeoh, Brian Krongold

This project investigates new network architectures for future wireless broadband inspired by recent advances in large scale multiple antenna technology and heterogeneous networks. The aim is to support flexible and scalable wireless services across diverse network regions with energy-efficient management of radio spectrum and interference. Targeted applications include smart energy metering, intelligent transport systems, mobile health monitoring and green data centres. Outcomes of the research will be new wireless protocols and algorithms drawing upon the foundations of random matrix theory, game theory, and large system analysis, which will offer fundamental insights into large scale multiple antennas for heterogeneous wireless networks.

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Precision Timekeeping Infrastructure: bridging the hardware/software divide

Researchers: Julien Ridoux, Darryl Veitch

Accurate time is essential for critical services from telecommunications to banking, and increasingly, must be performed with software clocks within computers, using hardware clocks accessed over the Internet. This project with Symmetricom Inc. will bridge the hardware/software divide to deliver reliable and cost effective access to precise timing. 

The project builds on the existing testbed and RADclock capabilities with the broader SyncLab project.  Its focus is on working to brings software based timekeeping on a LAN (Local Area Network) down to the 1 microsecond level.


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Contact Us

Prof Elaine Wong

Director, Communications and Networks