Connectivity is coping with an increasing density and diversity of connected wireless devices, together with differing connectivity requirements posed by the applications. These are triggering several technological challenges that are asking for
- flexible software/hardware architectures which enable on-the-fly instantiation, (re)configuration and (re)programming of wireless devices and network components;
- collaborative and intelligent solutions in order to optimize radio resource usage;
- energy-aware solutions to cope with the huge amount of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices;
- intelligent applications such as localisation, tracking and sensing, providing real-time insights for contextual enablers.
To cope with these challenges, the connectivity activities at IDLab are structured in 3 research areas.
Flexible & deterministic networking
- Flexible end-to-end architectures: focusing on the control and data planes for fast orchestration, control, and monitoring of the different networking components within the complete network/communication chain ranging from end-devices at the wireless RAN segment up to the computing servers at the wired core segment.
- Heterogeneous networking: focusing on the heterogeneous and dense wireless environments –ranging from short to long range technologies such as Low-power Bluetooth, Zigbee, Wi-Fi, LTE, 5G-- by relying on self-adaptive and learning-based approaches.
- Programmable functionality: focusing on the functional plane for optimizing the placement of NetApps or VNF-based functions to improve the services and the connectivity along the different network domains such as RAN, MEC, core, Cloud.
- Ultra-low latency networking: focusing on providing reliable and ultra-low latency communications for demanding verticals such as vehicular communication, and extended (augmented and virtual) reality where the aspect of ultra-low latency is critical for such verticals.
Investigating energy-aware embedded computing and communication platforms that transparently support a plethora of wireless technologies (e.g., LoRa, DASH7, BLE, IEEE 802.15.4g) and rely on energy harvesting to enable sustainable operations and long-term autonomy. Our solutions target co-creation of hardware prototyping and embedded protocol stack design as well as improved interactions with embedded devices.
Localisation, tracking & sensing
Locating and tracking people and assets or in a broader sense, sensing the environment can created a lot of added value for different use cases. IDLab focusses on levering information of off-the-shelf wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, BLE, LoraWAN, NB-IoT, Sigfox, Dash7 and UWB but also integrating LEO satellites systems. Research is being executed during large-scale validation in testbeds and is strongly focusing on the trade-off between application requirements, localisation accuracy and energy use.