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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/J021768/1
Title: Green Heterogeneous Networks
Principal Investigator: So, Professor DKC
Other Investigators:
Alsusa, Dr E Hamdi, Dr KA
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 February 2013 Ends: 30 June 2016 Value (£): 624,273
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Digital Signal Processing Networks & Distributed Systems
RF & Microwave Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Communications Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
18 Jul 2012 EPSRC ICT Responsive Mode - July 2012 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The tremendous development of mobile networks has enabled ubiquitous communication that has transformed the way people connect with each other. With fast and reliable information exchange, mobile communication is becoming (if not yet) a daily necessity. However, existing mobile networks are not "green". Although much efforts has been invested in exploring energy efficient techniques for mobile phones, this is not so for base stations and mobile networks. As of 2008, mobile networks consume around 0.5% of global electricity, which is a significant amount for one particular industry. To make matters worse, this consumption is expected to rise by 200% within the next few years. With increased electricity price, this high energy consumption will increase the operation expenditure for mobile operators, which results in higher cost-per-Mbyte. This will create difficulties for mobile operators, and will also impact on pricing for consumers. On the other hand, the increased energy consumption will lead to higher CO2 emission. Given the threats of global climate change, it is highly desirable for future mobile networks to be more energy efficient and thus more environmental friendly.

Equally important, the need for higher data rate mobile communication is ever increasing. First of all, even with the extensive development of third generation (3G) mobile network, a recent study by the BBC shows that 25% of the time users will only able to access the much slower second generation (2G) network. This slow connection is a bottleneck for true ubiquitous communication. Therefore, to bridge the digital divide, there is a strong desire by the government, operator, and user to have high data rate connections everywhere. Secondly, the remarkable growth of high quality multimedia and social networks has pushed mobile data rates to the limit, and thus faster networks for the future are required. Although the 3GPP LTE (Long Term Evolution) and 802.16j (WiMax) will ease some of these pressures, advanced network topology and techniques are needed. Research work has already been started on IMT Advanced, which is the next generation mobile network. It aims to achieve a peak data rate of 1Gbps.

The most promising approach for IMT Advanced is the Heterogeneous Network (HetNet). It is an advanced network topology that cooperates between multiple tiers of base stations, i.e., macro, micro, pico, femto and relay base stations. By intelligent interference management, HetNet exploits frequency reuse to its maximum, and provides high data rate coverage everywhere. However, existing research on HetNet has focused mostly on the high data rate aspects, but rarely on the energy efficiency aspects. In this project, both goals on high energy and spectral efficiency will be targeted jointly. In particular, we will develop innovative techniques to provide radical improvement, instead of incremental enhancement. Adaptive network topology that can optimise these factors will be devised. Smart interference management and exploitation techniques will be developed to exploit the potential of HetNet. Network MIMO, cognitive radio, and 3 dimensional beamforming techniques will also be developed to achieve a green HetNet that is suitable for the future. The goal is to develop new technologies that can reduce energy consumption while providing the required data rate increase.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk