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Radio techologies for ultra-dense networks in the 5G and beyond (5G&B) era

Acronym:    RUNNER
Code:    TEC2016-77148-C2-1-R
Funder:    Spanish Government
Company:    Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Start date:    2016 December 30th
End date:    2019 December 29th
Keywords:    5G&B, ultra-dense networks, mm-wave, network functions optimization, visible light comm., machine type comm.
SPCOM Participants:    Alexios Aravanis, Juan Fernández Rubio, Sandra Lagén Morancho, Olga Muñoz Medina, Margarita Cabrera Bean, Montse Nájar Martón, Antonio Pascual Iserte, Ahmed Raafat and Josep Vidal Manzano
SPCOM Responsible:    Olga Muñoz Medina


The evolution towards a fully connected society in the 5G and beyond (5G&B) era, where human centric communications coexist with machine-type communications (MTC), will entail an unprecedented network densification of heterogeneous terminals in response to the ever increasing traffic demands and new services. In such an environment, meeting the usual figures of merit (data rate per user, area spectral efficiency, end-to-end latency, mobility, reliability, battery life, coverage, etc.) will become more challenging than ever and managing the network itself will become very complicated. Solutiones will have to span from the physical layer up to the network layer: in the physical and MAC layer, the use of new bands together with large spectral bandwidth and efficient access methods which demand complex and energy demanding hardware that adapts to new channel models; in the upper layers, the introduction of network functions virtualization (NFV) generating enough flexibility, scalability and separability to optimise the operation of the network in a (possibly) multi-operator environment.

The 5G&B-RUNNER project tackles the objective of designing, analyzing, and evaluating a number of radio technologies in ultra-dense networks to meet the requirements for capacity and quality of service, distributed intelligence and flexibility needed for the 5G and beyond systems. Accomplishing these tasks calls for the use of tools encompassing advanced signal processing, information theory, communications theory and multi-objective distributed optimization.

More specifically, 5G&B-RUNNER will contribute to the the design of radio technologies in ultra-dense networks for 5G&B systems in the three following key areas:

  • At the physical layer, transmissions schemes will be developed to improve capacity in ultra-dense environments and to increase the usage of underutilized frequency bands. This will be achieved through the cancellation and/or coordination of interference with advanced high-dimensional antenna array schemes in millimetric bands (specially suited for macro to pico cells), as well as through the design of non-orthogonal advanced medium access methods (for cellular and MTC traffic). The design of schemes that implement transmission within the visible spectrum (for short range applications in indoor or vehicular scenarios) will allow the use of new transmission concepts in underutilized bands.
  • At a higher level, the project will study the design of network functions for a more efficient and flexible usage of the available spectrum, backhaul resources and computational network resources, as well as the definition of suitable partially decentralized solutions. This way, the network can control more efficiently the interference, balance the traffic, avoid congestion situations and allow multi-tenancy.
  • In MTC, the project will develop techniques for the aggregation of the information and network clustering to allow for the minimization of the battery consumption, signalling, loss of information and delay in very dense deployments. Both aspects will benefit from the definition of enhanced contention-based protocols able to solve collisions at the physical and network levels.

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