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Converged wireless access for reliable 5G MTC for factories of the future

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Clear5G (Converged wireless access for reliable 5G MTC for factories of the future)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-08-31

Clear5G brings together some of the advanced 5G research and demonstration facilities in Taiwan and Europe. The aim is to investigate and demonstrate some of the key enablers necessary to support MTC traffic in 5G networks, in particular in the Factories of the Future (FoF) environment. The outcomes will be verified through proof of concept implementations and demonstrations using the facilities of partners that provide and support a range of MTC use cases.

In 5G networks, the MTC use case scenarios will be very diverse, each requiring a unique treatment of access characteristics. The project will capitalize on the deep rooted expertise of its consortium in order to provide a unified and integrated convergent access across different air interface technologies. This project will address the above mentioned challenges to deliver flexible system performance for massive MTC applications and achieve low-power, long-range massive MTC for 5G and beyond.
Objective 1: To define, investigate and develop physical layer (PHY) enhancements for reliable MTC supporting massive numbers of devices, achieving extreme low latency and reduced signalling and control overhead.

Based on the scenarios and use cases defined and analysed in WP1, the work on WP2 started the definition and investigations into the PHY layer aspects necessary to support and facilitate FoF traffic types, in particular considering reliability and required low latency as well as massive machine type communication in challenging (radio) environments. The use cases and realistic factory models specified in WP1 have been verified through channel measurements in real factory environments and have led to new (SCMA) codebooks that are used in NOMA performance evaluation. New framestructures for MTC systems have also been designed and are being further investigated.

Objective 2: To design and implement Medium Access Control (MAC) layer enhancements for integrated convergent access supporting low latency, high reliability, massive connection density, and high energy and spectrum efficiency.

The work towards MAC layer enhancements for FOF scenarios and use cases has also progressed well; part of the focus during the first year was on enhanced random access mechanisms for ultra-low latency and reliability, the work on evaluating adaptive MAC protocols for mMTC and ultra-reliable MTC, as well as on heterogeneous radio access, have also progressed according to plan. The development of a system level simulator is ongoing and work on the demonstrator implementation is also progressing.

Objective 3: To design, configure and optimize radio network architectures and management mechanisms (with potential coexistence of public and private infrastructures) to fulfil the needs of FoF applications in terms of latency, wireless networking heterogeneity, reliability, scalability and manageability. Further, energy efficiency (especially at the device side) and spectrum efficiency will also be among the major performance targets in the design of network architecture and management strategies.

Work on FoF related network architecture and management features has progressed during the first year. Based in the WP1 use cases and a review of the state of the art in industrial communication networks, a set of “factory lay-outs” was proposed and a range of functionalities necessary to deliver the FoF requirements was initially investigated. These features include multiple connectivity for high reliability, support for radio network slicing, mechanisms in mobile edge computing, and power efficiency management. Furthermore, regular discussions with WP2 and WP3 ensure the consistency of the solutions across all different system layers.
The considerations did include heterogeneous ownership, scalability, as well as spectrum and energy efficiency, the work so far consisted of initial studies including literatures and state of the art review, conceptualisation and the planning of the implementation of these mechanisms.

Objective 4: To provide security enhancements at the physical layer, contributing to the overall security solutions in a FoF environment.

The work on PHY layer security for FoF complements the overall work in WP2, in particular, a detailed analysis of the state of the art in physical layer security has been undertaken and put into the context of the FoF requirements and conditions. In particular the security requirements for NOMA has been analysed and the control channel has been identified as the main point for substantial security improvements. An initial plan to implement the resulting security mechanisms in hardware has been provided.

Objective 5: To validate and demonstrate the performance of the project use cases in a realistic environment using testbed facilities both in Europe (coordinated by UNIS) and Taiwan (coordinated by III).

The main outcomes of the work towards objective 5 is the detailed planning of the PoCs
Enhancements of Existing Wireless Technologies

Clear5G will provide several enhancements to current available wireless technologies in order to meet the strict requirements of the FoF scenarios. These enhancements will be realised in terms of extra functionalities of wireless technologies, which will be designed, implemented and evaluated on the available testbeds of the project. The new functionalities will include improvements on PHY characteristics, MAC protocol enhancements and network related improvements in order the resulting technologies to become enablers of FoF communications.

Convergent Wireless Access

Clear5G will expand the current state-of-the-art by capitalizing on current industrial wireless access technologies and wireless technologies stemming from the 5G PPP projects and moving a step further by designing and implementing a new convergent wireless access MAC protocol capable to manage different wireless protocols and technologies and support interoperability between them. Clear5G will provide among others, solutions that are tailored for FoF-related communications.

Network Architecture for Reliable Connectivity

Clear5G will expands the current state-of-the-art by designing, implementing, prototyping and evaluating a FoF network converged architecture addressing new challenges imposed by the emergence of FoF applications.
The Clear5G Concept