Converged fiber-wireless (FiWi) access networks may be viewed as the endgame of broadband access. Most of the past layer-2 and layer-3 FiWi research activities have been focusing on cascaded Ethernet passive optical network (EPON) and WLAN-mesh networks, or to a lesser extent also WiMAX. In this proposed research project, we explore new interdisciplinary possibilities and investigate novel ways of exploiting low-cost Ethernet based FiWi access networks to address key open research challenges of emerging 3GPP LTE-Advanced heterogeneous networks (HetNets). The objectives of the research project are threefold. First, we design and investigate high-capacity low-latency next-generation PON based mobile backhaul infrastructures with direct communications between collocated optical network units and base stations or WiFi access points as well as multi-failure recovery capabilities. Second, we develop and evaluate the performance of advanced traffic steering techniques based on cell association, biasing, re-selection, and dual-mode user equipment assisted base station/access point switching and combine them with real-time self-healing techniques to develop self-healing solutions for FiWi enhanced HetNets with multipath WiFi offloading capability of mobile data traffic. Third, we study the potential and involved technical challenges of enhancing FiWi access networks with wireless and passive fiber optic sensors to enable machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. We investigate the coexistence performance of event-driven M2M traffic and conventional human-to-human (H2H) traffic taking emerging low-power WiFi and Sub 1 GHz WLAN technologies into account and develop energy- and traffic-aware contention resolution and coordination techniques for event-driven M2M communications in FiWi-HetNet based smart grid communications infrastructures with reduced signaling overhead, decreased M2M access delay, and wide area situational awareness (WASA) for fast fault recovery in smart grids.
Fields of science
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