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Advancing the realms of 5G

The rise of smartphones and tablets in the world has created a conundrum. Wireless networks are already being pushed to their capacity limits, while public demand for greater speed is only increasing.

Jia LiuTo help advance the effort of exploring new Fifth Generation (5G) mobile technologies, the National Science Foundation (NSF) enlisted Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Research Assistant Professor Jia (Kevin) Liu to help find an answer. Liu won a three-year NSF $300,000 grant as the sole principal investigator for his theoretical foundation research project on massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) networking—a key enabling communication technology for future 5G wireless networks. 

"The much faster 5G wireless networks will not only alleviate the increasing burden of massive amounts of data on our current 4G networks, it will also usher in many new 'Internet of Things' applications to further enrich our digital lives," Liu said.

According to his research, for future wireless networks to support multi-gigabit per second data rates, there are increasing efforts to further explore MIMO systems. It effectively involves scaling up the number of antennas within the system by hundreds or thousands. However, while current massive MIMO research focuses on physical layer technologies, little work exists to optimize the overall system performance across the network.

Specifically, his project focuses on optimal routing and congestion control designs for massive MIMO and multi-hop backhaul networks, efficient scheduling design for cellular networks, and energy analytics for wireless networks.

"This research will not only advance the knowledge in the design of massive MIMO wireless networks, but will also serve a critical need in the general networking research community by exploring a network-level understanding of massive MIMO networks through a unified research program," Liu explained.

A 4G system, in addition to the usual voice and other services of 3G, provides mobile broadband Internet access and over some networks voice services. A 5G system has speeds beyond what the current 4G can offer. Among other things, it means being able to download a full-length HD movie in seconds. 

The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMNA) has encouraged rolling out a 5G platform by 2020 to meet business and consumer demands. 

originally posted on Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering web site