Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The invisible network

18.11.2008
Shall I make this call with the landline, mobile or VOIP? Laptop or PDA? Let the phone and the network decide for themselves, say European researchers planning a future of seamless communications.

At one time there was no choice. If you wanted to speak to someone you picked up the phone on the desk and called them. Today, you can also use a mobile cellular phone which could be either GSM or 3G.

Or you could use VOIP from your desktop PC to route the call over the internet. You could do the same with your laptop. And your internet connection could use ADSL, cable, wifi, 3G or even wimax. And then there’s your PDA…

We have never had more choice of how to communicate but neither have we had so many head-spinning acronyms. Wouldn’t it be better if we had one mobile device that could find its own way to set up a call from A to B?

That is the vision of E2RII, an EU-funded project that pulled together 32 organisations in 14 countries to plan a future where such things are possible.

“Most users don’t care about the technology, what they care about is communicating,” says project coordinator Dr Didier Bourse of Motorola Labs near Paris. “You may be in different environments – at home, in the office, on a train, and so on – but what you want is to be connected and to enjoy a seamless experience. At the same time, network operators want to make the best of their networks and use them as efficiently as possible.”

Intelligent phones

They call it ‘end-to-end connectivity’, and to achieve it the exchanges, routers and other hardware between A and B must be able to adapt to several different technologies, hence the principle of ‘end-to-end reconfigurability’ (E2R) which gives the project its name.

E2RII was the second phase of a series of projects that began with E2R itself, which ran between 2004 and 2005. The partners exploited concepts of ‘software-defined radio’, where many functions that are normally hard-wired can be done in software, and ‘cognitive radio’ and ‘cognitive networks’, where communication nodes become more and more intelligent and reconfigurable.

“The idea is to guarantee end-to-end connectivity,” says Bourse. “We are looking both at terminals – such as a phone – and networks. Terminals will be more and more intelligent, so one of the key challenges was to define how in future we will split the intelligence and functionality between the network and the terminal. What do you need on the network side to make these different technologies work together and how far can you distribute the intelligence to the edges?”

Communications cube

At present, most of the intelligence lies in the network. As you travel across Europe with your mobile phone, the local network automatically locates you, routes your calls and then hands you over to the neighbouring network. This is known as ubiquitous access.

In the medium future, the watchword is ‘pervasive services’. “You buy your device and you can update the software, like a PC, but over the air,” Bourse says. “The device can evolve to cope with new technologies, so you can access new services. Developers or vendors will be able to modify the communications standards of equipment without having to invest in a new hardware design.”

Further ahead lies ‘dynamic and flexible resource management’. Bourse asks us to picture a cube – the ‘communications cube’ – where one side represents radio frequency, a second side represents the range of radio technologies available and a third side maps all the possible services.

Today’s devices operate at only a few points within the cube. At any one time, your mobile phone will use a given frequency (perhaps 900 or 1800 MHz), a technology (say, GSM) and a service (such as voice or text). In future, Bourse envisages systems that potentially could use the entire volume of the cube, selecting whatever frequency, technology and service is available to get your message across efficiently. And you won’t even know it’s happening.

Influence on standards

Of course, there are many obstacles to overcome first, not least the present rather rigid allocation of radio spectrum. E2RII included telecom regulators amongst its partners, alongside businesses and universities, to ensure that its innovative technical concepts and solutions made regulatory as well as business sense.

There were even partners in India, China and Singapore, to bring in needed skills and help build a wider consensus on the way ahead. The project also worked with similar initiatives in North America and Japan.

The partners have developed many proposals for equipment, network management and applications. They made more than 450 contributions to conferences, journals and workshops and the effects of the project are already being felt through its input into European and worldwide standards. Some reconfigurable products influenced by E2RII thinking are starting to appear.

Although E2RII finished at the end of 2007 its work is now being carried on by a project called E3 – End-to-End Efficiency – which seeks to build on the concept of cognitive radio systems to make the best use of the communications cube. As Bourse says, “The ultimate goal is really to make the system much more efficient.”

E2RII is one of five large integrated projects in the EU’s Wireless World Initiative and was supported by the Sixth Framework Programme for research.

Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/90243

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Deep Learning predicts hematopoietic stem cell development
21.02.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Sensors embedded in sports equipment could provide real-time analytics to your smartphone
16.02.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>