A project is underway to reduce the environmental footprint of next-generation 6G wireless technologies through a combination of innovations, including the application of energy harvesting technologies.
This is the goal of Professor Stuart Walker of the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at Essex University who has received EPSRC funding to implement the SAMBAS (Sustainable and Adaptive Ultra-High Capacity Micro Base Stations) project.
The project involves partners in Belgium, France and Hungary focusing on developing a millimeter-wave micro-base station that uses renewable energy harvesting in combination with energy-efficient hardware and communication protocols to reduce power consumption.
At the network level, the project aims to reduce signaling overhead and power requirements by an order of magnitude through distributed in-band context dissemination and power-aware networks.
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Prof Walker explained that wireless communication systems – 3G, 4G and 5G – have focused on network performance issues such as quality of service and quality of experience, so the research focused on increasing bandwidth, reducing network latency and ensuring reliable reliability. data transfer.
Network protocols, standards, monitoring and control software are all optimized to ensure the technical high performance of the wireless network, he added.
“In 6G, energy efficiency problems can no longer be avoided as power consumption generally increases linearly with bandwidth or frequency,” said Professor Walker. “So in-band network telemetry [INT] provides an energy-efficient approach to end-to-end monitoring of wireless network performance – including end devices – that does not inject new packets into the network and collects network information on a hop, per packet, and stream basis. The introduction of in-band telemetry in wireless networks requires new packet design, new interlayer communication and new monitoring options for wireless-related parameters, which we will explore.”
“In SAMBAS, we strive to design an adaptive, energy-conscious MAC [media access control] protocol capable of optimizing latency and throughput based on application needs, and with real-time in-band monitoring data and power availability.”
He continued: “SAMBAS will be intrinsically designed to provide intelligent energy-aware network management and resource allocation. Combined with in-band feedback, this will lead to a new multi-plane network design that enables fast, real-time, ultra-low latency and efficient distribution of context for network decisions to ensure optimal energy-efficient operation of the 6G network on all levels.”
Essex University has been developing energy recovery technologies for wireless network applications for a number of years. These include solar, wind and hydrodynamic solutions to exploit renewable energy sources, even on a milliwatt scale.
Professor Walker said this is based on the realization that as the intrinsic power requirements of wireless infrastructure (base stations, antennas, signal processing, end-user equipment) are reduced, they become more susceptible to being powered by microgeneration sources.
“There is a vicious circle: the lower the power requirements, the more suitable microgeneration sources for renewable energy become,” he said. “In our proposal we indicate how we use directional millimeter wave antennas with beamforming training [10dB improvement]envelope tracking from COFDM modulation formats with a peak-to-average power ratio of 12dB [up to 12dB improvement]storage of supercapacitors in addition to statistical multiplexing of renewables (7dB improvement), 10-fold reduction in signal load and power consumption of the control plane [10dB improvements]can all work together to achieve >20 dB (better than 99 percent) power reduction.”
SAMBAS demonstrations will take place at IMEC and the University of Ghent, both in Belgium, which will respectively feature a dedicated outdoor vehicle network and an indoor multi-user interactive virtual reality network to test the 6G technologies under development.