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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P03456X/1
Title: New Air Interface Techniques for Future Massive Machine Communications
Principal Investigator: Xiao, Professor P
Other Investigators:
Tafazolli, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
AccelerComm GE (General Electric Company) Huawei Group
NEC Sony (UK) Thales Ltd
Department: Institute of Communications Systems
Organisation: University of Surrey
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 December 2017 Ends: 30 November 2020 Value (£): 498,315
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Digital Signal Processing RF & Microwave Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
19 Apr 2017 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel April 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Future wireless systems are expected to constitute an ultra dense wireless network, which supports billions of smart wireless devices (or machines) to provide a wide varieties of services for smart homes, smart cities, smart transportation systems, smart healthcare, and smart environments, etc., in addition to supporting conventional human-initiated mobile communications. Therefore, the communication technologies employed in future wireless communication systems are expected to be capable of coping with highly diverse service requirements and communication environments, both of which also have time-varying nature. However, the legacy wireless systems, such as LTE/LTE-A, have been primarily designed for human-initiated mobile communications, which rely on strict synchronisation guaranteed by a substantial signalling overhead. Explicitly, due to this overhead legacy systems are inefficient for device-centric mMTC. Furthermore, they are unable to support the massive connectivity required by the future mMTC networks, where devices heavily contend for the limited resources available for communications. This project is proposed at the time, when myriads of smart wireless devices of different types are being deployed and connected via the Internet, which is expected to be the next revolution in the mobile ecosystem. To fulfil these objectives, a new design paradigm is required for supporting the massive number of wireless devices having diverse service requirements and unique traffic characteristics.

In this project, we propose to meet the challenges of future mMTC by investigating and designing novel non-orthogonal multiple access, flexible duplexing, and adaptive coherent-noncoherent transmission schemes, as well as new waveforms that are tailored for the future mMTC systems. We aim for alleviating the strict synchronism demanded by the legacy wireless systems, and for significantly improving their capabilities, network performance as well as the lifetime of autonomous mMTC nodes. The novelties of this project are summarized as follows.

1. New non-orthogonal sparse code multiple access (SCMA) schemes will be developed for mMTC systems, where the number of devices exceeds the number of available resource-slots, resulting in an over-loaded or a generalized rank-deficient condition.

2. Novel multicarrier waveforms will be designed for future mMTC in order to maximize spectrum efficiency by minimizing the overhead for achieving synchronisation as well as for reducing the out-of-band radiation.

3. By jointly exploiting the resources available in the time, frequency and spatial domains, we will design noncoherent, partially-coherent and adaptive coherent-noncoherent transmission schemes, in order to strike the best possible trade-off among overhead reduction, energy and spectral efficiency, latency and implementation complexity in practical mMTC scenarios.

4. We will investigate the full potential of the multicarrier-division duplex (MDD) scheme and, especially, its applications to future mMTC by synergistically combining it with novel multicarrier waveforms, non-orthogonal SCMA techniques and other high-efficiency transmission schemes developed within the project.

5. Furthermore, the key techniques developed in the project will be prototyped and integrated into the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) test bed facilities at the University of Surrey. This will allow us to demonstrate the viability of our new design approaches, as well as to accelerate knowledge transfer and commercialisation.

The proposed research will be conducted jointly by the 5GIC at the University of Surrey and Southampton Wireless (SW) at the University of Southampton, led by Xiao, Tafazolli, Yang & Hanzo. The research and commercial exploitation of the project will be further consolidated by our partnership with experienced academic and industrial partners.
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