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

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Clear5G (Converged wireless access for reliable 5G MTC for factories of the future)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2020-05-31

Clear5G has brought together some of the advanced 5G research and demonstration facilities in Taiwan and Europe. The aim of the project was to investigate and demonstrate some of the key enablers necessary to support Machine‐type Communications (MTC) traffic in 5G networks, in particular in the Factories of the Future (FoF) environment. The outcomes have been verified through proof of concept implementations and demonstrations using the facilities of partners that provide and support a range of MTC use cases.

More particularly, Clear5G aimed at designing, developing and validating an integrated wireless access scheme for MTC services in the FoF by achieving the following objectives:

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.”

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.”

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.”

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

Objective 5: “To validate and demonstrate the performance of the project use cases in a realistic environment using testbed facilities both in Europe and Taiwan.”

Objective 6: “To support the ongoing 5G Standardization.”
The project progressed as planned and the Clear5G team achieved all objectives and contributed to meeting the various relevant 5G KPIs. Enhancements to meet the FoF specific requirements for the PHY, MAC and networking layer were identified with individual solutions investigated and integrated into proof of concept implementations.

The results and outcomes of the project would not have been possible without the tight collaboration between all partners. Clear5G has impacted standardization, made substantial contributions to the state of the art, as underlined by 30 conference and journal publications; and impacted the wider community through giving tutorials, training sessions and presentations, as well as articles in trade magazines.

Beyond this, the project has achieved what it has set out to do: it has demonstrated how 5G can impact and influence operations on the factory floor of traditional manufacturing sites. The collaboration between partners from the EU and from Taiwan has also led to an improved understanding of the processes for such an intercontinental collaboration and has established a strong relationship between the research community on both ends.

The key expliotable results of the project are:

1) MTC PHY and MAC for converged access
2) Dynamic multi-slice radio resource management
3) Multi-connectivity to improve reliability
4) Optimization for mobile edge computing
5) Software Defined Networking and data analytics for network management
6) Support for high number of wireless devices within a small area
Enhancements of Existing Wireless Technologies

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

Convergent Wireless Access

Clear5G expanded 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 provided among others, solutions that are tailored for FoF-related communications.

Network Architecture for Reliable Connectivity

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