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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V002635/1
Title: Boosting power efficiency of physical-layer secured MIMO communications
Principal Investigator: Ding, Dr Y
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Ampleon Netherlands B.V. National instruments Toshiba
Winspread (China)
Department: Sch of Engineering and Physical Science
Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 September 2020 Ends: 31 August 2022 Value (£): 251,815
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Digital Signal Processing RF & Microwave Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Communications Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
20 May 2020 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel May 2020 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Today, hardly a week passes by without major incidents of cybercrime, which are constantly encroaching on the security and privacy confidence of each connected individual and the Nation as a whole. The increasingly prevalent wireless information exchanges face even greater challenges as the information is broadcast in open medium and the portable communication devices, e.g. mobile phones and laptops, are unlikely to be equipped with costly and power-hungry cryptographic solutions, especially in the coming quantum era. The physical-layer wireless security has long been regarded as a promising complementary or alternative as it requires little computation capability while endowing systems quantum-immune security. However, to date this is achieved by radiating a significantly more amount of energy in the form of orthogonal artificial noise (AN). This power penalty can be huge, e.g. in some typical application scenarios more than twice as much as the energy is radiated. This, unfortunately, is contrary to the global urgent needs of cutting energy consumption of wireless communication systems and their associated carbon footprint, rendering the current physical-layer wireless security solutions impractical.

This project will be the first systematic study of the physical-layer wireless security under the energy awareness context. We propose to recover the energy penalty of the physical-layer security solutions without compromising security performance. This ambitious vision becomes achievable when a co-design approach, involving transmitter architecture, digital baseband, RF frontend and signal waveforms, is employed. This will require major innovations that currently lie beyond state-of-the-art, which include (a) system architecture- and modulation-aware AN synthesis; (b) non-linear power amplifier-friendly AN synthesis; (c) digital/analogue hybrid modulation and precoding security scheme; and (d) system-level demonstration of physical-layer security solutions. We are not aware of any other research programme that has systematically studied hardware-aware optimum signal waveform synthesis for energy efficient physical-layer wireless security systems.

The partnerships with Toshiba Research Europe (TRE), Ampleon, National Instruments (NI) and Winspread have been specifically established to ensure the successfully delivery of the research programme in every stage. In particular, (a) TRE will provide wireless threat assessment in various application scenarios to ensure the planned research is aligned with the society needs; (b) TRE and Ampleon will provide power amplifier samples and expertise on accurate non-linear power amplifier modelling and characterisation; (c) NI will guide the system integration and demonstration using its USRP platform; (d) Winspread will facilitate small-scale trial of the developed technology through its commercial 4G LTE base-stations.

This two-year research programme will be highlighted through two high-impact practical demonstrators. We firstly intend to show a real-time wireless high-definition video secure wireless transmission in laboratory multipath environment using a bespoke designed physical-layer air interface. The power efficiency improvement will be sufficient to recover the power penalty suffered in the current benchmark physical-layer security solutions. In order to further promote the research outcomes onto the global stage, we plan to integrate the develop security technology onto commercial WiFi and 4G-LTE base-stations.
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Organisation Website: http://www.hw.ac.uk