The Broadband Wireless Access and Applications Center (BWAC) aims to advance wireless technologies and provide cost-effective and practical solutions for next-generation communications system (5G and beyond) through novel broadband technologies.
BWAC's mission is to collaborate with industry research partners to create flexible, efficient, and secure wireless systems that satisfy broadband communication needs by pursuing large-scale research programs and creating new visions for the wireless industry.
BWAC addresses fundamental research challenges in next-generation wireless systems. The intertwined and multifaceted nature of such complex systems calls for a diverse range of complementary expertise in antenna design, radio engineering, signal processing, wireless communications, networking, cloud computing, and security, as well as research tools (modeling, simulation, hardware/software prototyping, platform integration and maintenance, and measurements and data curation). The breadth of such a research program necessitates collaboration among multiple research teams and partnering with pioneering private companies and federal agencies in this field.
Analog beamforming for blockage-resistant mmW communications
Millimeter wave (mmW) systems suffer from long device discovery time during initial access (IA) as well as vulnerability to blockage. Developing improved IA protocols is essential. Focus areas include mmW channel modeling; mmW antenna subsystems and low-power circuits; beam-tracking designs; beamwidth adaptation; hybrid analog/digital beamforming; backhauling protocols; user-base station (BS) association and handover in multi-BS mmW systems; and outage-resilient mmW protocols.
Collaborative mobile edge computing systems for ultra-low-latency applications
Mobile edge computing (MEC) has been embraced by many mobile network operators (MNOs) as a way to create new business opportunities and increase revenues. By developing novel architectures and algorithms to enable autonomous and efficient data processing and networking through cooperation of edge nodes, mobile users, and cloud data centers, ultra-low-latency (millisecond order) applications can be supported. Research topics include delay analysis for ultralatency MEC protocols; energy/quality of experience trade-offs; collaboration between edge nodes within a single MEC operator; dynamic network slicing; machine learning algorithms for latency prediction and task assignment; task partitioning and user-edge node association; MEC-integrated vehicle-to-everything (V2X) applications; and privacy-preserving MEC collaboration protocols.
Security and privacy in wireless communications
Physical layer security relies on generating friendly jamming signals to obfuscate transmitted information, so as to improve the signal quality for the legitimate receiver and degrade the signal reception for the eavesdropper. This research focus area includes investigation of information-theoretic secret communications; channel-based authentication and fingerprinting; jamming-resistant protocols; rendezvous and network/device discovery under stealth (selective) attacks; hiding of side-channel information; and security in dynamic spectrum access systems.
Massive multiple-input multiple-output designs
Massive multiple-input multiple-output (mMIMO) is one of the key enabling techniques of next-generation wireless systems. This technique focuses on the improvements in peak throughput per connection, extreme area capacity, systemwide spectral efficiency, and high user density. In mMIMO systems, a base station (BS) is equipped with hundreds of antennas or more, which are used to serve tens of users simultaneously via MIMO precoding techniques, boosting the spectral efficiency by orders of magnitude compared with a conventional MIMO system. Key challenges to reap the benefits are channel state information (CSI) acquisition and update. Our efforts are focused on developing CSI-free rate-and-precoder adaptation methods for next-generation mMIMO systems.
Spectrum sharing for heterogeneous wireless systems
The FCC now allows wireless providers to operate over the unlicensed bands (e.g., 5 GHz UNII, 5.9 GHz for C-V2X and DSRC), which introduces issues related to contention among systems that operate over these bands. This research area studies the impact of inter-technology interference and devises innovative approaches for enabling harmonious coexistence of heterogeneous wireless technologies in unlicensed bands.