Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific Challenge: Network traffic is expected to keep on showing two-digits annual growth rates in all network segments over the coming years and beyond. The limits of existing technological approaches for both optical and wireless technologies are about to be reached. As far as access networks are concerned, the cost of current solutions also represents a barrier to reaching a (quasi-) universal coverage with ultra-high speed, be it with optical or wireless access. New challenges imposed by major trends in the usage of communications networks are to be taken into account as well as the high projected increase of mobile and ubiquitous broadband access which requires further developments in backhaul networks, for which optical and wireless technologies constitute key enablers.

In the specific wireless domain, spectrum is a scarce public resource whose usage is often strategic for the economy and society, which must be optimised in view of the expected exponential traffic and usages growth as outlined in the Commission Communication on "Promoting the shared use of radio spectrum resources in the internal market". Finally, communication networks represented about 22% of the ICT carbon footprint in 2011. This is expected to grow fast to almost double in 2020 if underlying network technologies are not significantly improved.


a.      Research & Innovation actions: proposals are expected to cover one or both of the themes identified below, but not necessarily both of them.

·         Focus on optical networks - The target is to address i) the lack of dynamic control and management of optical network resources within and across operator's domains for lower cost and more flexible use of resources; ii) the ubiquitous delivery of very high speed access at 10 Gbps per user within 10 years and 100 Gbps later (including visible light communication); iii) the architectural limitations of inter and intra datacenter connectivity; iv) the limitations of current optical transmission technologies. Attention must be given to ensuring compatibility with legacy infrastructures and access unbundling regulation as well as to cost- and energy-efficiency.

·         Focus on wireless networks - It addresses the lack of dynamic control of wireless network resources through disruptive new "femtocell" like paradigms where end-users play the role of “prosumers” of wireless connectivity. Optimised spectrum use; energy efficiency and new usages are targeted. More flexible use of spectrum may be addressed from an architectural perspective including cognitive radio and spectrum aggregation, usage of higher bands up to 90 GHz, advanced modulation and coding, adaptive beam forming techniques. Hybrid combination of terrestrial and satellite infrastructures to address complete coverage, optimised spectrum use and network resilience are also in scope.

b.      Support actions

Production of technological roadmaps, support dissemination (including the yearly domain conference) and standardisation in the wireless/optical domains, support the integration of results coming from the various projects to provide an overall programme view, support liaison with related international activities, support the elaboration of research, operational and economic metrics in the target domains, and explore demonstrations and validation strategies for the objective.

Expected impact:

Research & Innovation actions

·         Maintain a state of the art industrial capability on optical network technology in Europe with at least 20% of the global market share.

·         Diversify the strong European capabilities in wireless systems through emergence of novel technologies and spectrum usage patterns.

·         Support the cost efficient emergence of novel classes of network services and applications by avoiding the "capacity crunch".

·         Reduce energy consumption of basic infrastructures by a factor of about 10.

·         Decrease spectral radiation exposure through low EMF technologies.

·         Move beyond 10 Gbps per user within 10 years and 100 Gbps per user in a farther future over fixed accesses.

·         Support metro and core networks with Pb/s throughput and Tb/s interface speeds.

·         Enable managed and automated cross domain optical resources and foster emergence of industry open standards.

·         Reach higher spectrum efficiency, target 10 fold increase.

·         Enable new applications through spectrum efficient use of higher frequency bands little used today.

·         Achieve ubiquitous access to critical/societal applications.

·         Ensure availability of new interoperability open standards for wireless and optical communications and associated SEP (standard essential patents). US, Japan and Korea may be considered as priority countries where international cooperation may be achieved on a win-win basis. 

Support actions

·         Wide dissemination of results, constituency building and maintaining a programme view of the area including complementarity with relevant actions supported at Member States and Associated Countries level.

Types of action:

a.       Research & Innovation Actions – Proposals requesting a Small contribution are expected

b.       Coordination and Support Actions

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