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SWING Research team

Smart Wireless Networking

  • Leader : Jean marie Gorce
  • Research center(s) : CRI Grenoble - Rhône-Alpes
  • Field : Networks, Systems and Services, Distributed Computing
  • Theme : Networks and Telecommunications

Team presentation

The team SWING aims at supporting the extensive spawning of radio systems thanks to spontaneous, cooperative and self-organization mechanisms having to offer more capacity, subject to latency, energy and multiple QoS constraints. The primary era of radio networking is currently ending. Its success mostly relied on a robust but restrictive set of rules: i) protocols are completely defined beforehand, ii) resource allocation policies are mainly designed in a static manner and iii) access network architectures are planned and controled. Such a model obviously lacks in adaptability and hence suffers from a suboptimal efficiency. On the opposite, the ongoing new era of radio networking will be driven by self-adaptive mechanisms to cope with the radio spectrum scarcity and topology changes, permiting a faster time to market of future technologies and favoring intra- and inter-systems coexistence and cooperation. These mechanisms rely on software radio technologies, distributed algorithms and end-to-end dynamic routing protocols and therefore require a cross-layer vision of 'cognitive wireless networking': Getting to the meet of Cognition and Cooperation, beyond the inherent communication aspects: cognition is more than cognitive radio and cooperation is not just relaying. Cognition and cooperation have truly the potential to break new ground for mobile communication systems and potentiate new business models (F. Fitzek, PIMRC 2008).

One most challenging issue is that this increased flexibility should enhance the spectral and energy effiency while preserving security, reliability and time constraints (end to end delay, latency, capacity). The CITI lab is a meeting place where all needed skills in radiocommunications, digital communications, embedded systems, networking and security are brought together for synergy to address this very challenging issue.

Further, this project is truely complementary to the EPI AMAZONE proposal, which focuses on software architectures for applications and services on mobile systems. The colocation of both teams will lead the EPI SWING to drive its research not only by technical constraints (bottom-up) but also by application requirements (top-down).

Research themes

  • Flexible radio node design: designing a radio node is definitely not an all-analogical process. Since software defined radio principles were established, some new features such as adaptability and auto-reconfiguration are becoming mandatory for the terminal to adapt to its environment and to the application in use. This relies on doing an important part of the radio coding/decoding process in the digital world. Because a full software radio node is still an utopia, future architectures will have to cope with analogical and digital constraints and their co-design is a real challenge. New computation models are emerging, such as for instance, the concept of radio virtual machine or new hardware abstraction layers permiting to develop separately, radio protocols, strategies for ressource sharing, operating systems and top-level applications.
  • Agile radio resource sharing : radio resource sharing is very important in autonomous and spontaneous networks. This problem covers several research fields including signal processing and protocols. In various contexts (wireless sensor networks (WSNs), cellular wireless networks, ...) sharing the radio resource remains a challenging issue. Mitigating interference for multi-system environments, optimizing energy and capacity for high data rate access networks or increasing the life-time of WSNs all strongly rely on the resource sharing strategy. The complexity of this problem originates from the inherent properties of the radio channel which is subject to highly variable propagation phenomena and interference. Because radio environments are dynamics, as well as the users and QoS needs, future systems will have to integrate self-adaptative, real-time and distributed algorithms.
  • Autonomous wireless networking: the previously described mechanisms allow to manage efficiently the radio resource in the neighborhood of a node by taking into account the different wireless interactions. Now, the objective is to route a data from a source to a destination. This well-known problem should be revisited in the context of wireless networks, and more particularly if we want to take benefit from agile radio, opportunistic radio links, non-symmetric neighbors and so on. Because of the large-scale dimension of the networks we consider, centralized approaches should be dismissed to the benefit of the development of distributed and localized protocols: based on local informations and local interactions, the aim is to synthesize a global behavior in terms of routing, data gathering, etc. The most important issues deal with activity scheduling, topology control and protocols adaptability to the evolution of the network topology. Because such features need to be human-free, they are often referred to as the self-* paradigm which will drive our research effort. Hence, cooperation among nodes is also a tool that can be considered at the networking layer. However, such cooperative techniques will be carefully designed since they can trigger additional overhead in the network and reduce the benefits of adaptibility.
  • Performance and optimization : Performance evaluation and global optimization define a transversal axis of our project. In this action, we will be able to merge our contributions on smart wireless networks modeling using combinatorial and stochastic modeling tools. Global optimization is meant to describe system-wide behaviors and theoretical bounds on the performance, both benchmarking existing solutions and guiding the development of new improvements. Our global optimization framework will introduce progressively the software radio capabilities of the radio nodes, the properties of resource sharing algorithms and new self-* protocols. Realistic models of the wireless medium will be included, as well as refined models of adaptive protocols.
  • Security: security is one of the main transversal challenges of the SWING project. Security must be envisioned at each level, from hardware to routing protocols, to guarantee an end-to-end comprehensive security strategy. Moreover, in the context of embedded architectures, security related processings must be maintained to the least acceptable energy cost. The main challenges thus will be the design of new energy efficient cryptographic primitives (in hardware and in software), the design of security mechanisms for routing protocols providing secured protocols to preserve the networks from some specific attacks. The band deregulation and the on-the-fly adaptation reduces dangerously the access security. If cooperative mechanisms have to be used, the security of the various applications must be simultaneously guaranteed. Thus, security must be considered from a cross-layer perspective to allow cooperation at the physical layer while still protecting from malicious data access.
  • Prototyping : in the project SWING we aim at addressing the challenges of smart wireless networks not only from a theoretical point of view, but also from a practical one, using simulations and prototypes. From our past experience, we acquired and developped several simulation tools. The CITI laboratory is equiped with very up-to-date radio design platforms allowing to test embedded software radio systems, evaluate MIMO communications and measure real radio channels. This competence has been acquired through strong partnerships with the industrial community, which we plan to expand through thanks to new cooperations with Orange labs, Alcatel-Lucent and other partners. Simulations and experiments are really complementary tools. Experiments allow to identify key issues of new wireless technologies such as wireless sensor networks, or beyond 4G technologies. They also provide a mean to validate simulation and theoretical results. Complementarily, simulation tools allow to test some concepts on a large scale and for various types of radio environments which are not accessible in the lab.

International and industrial relations

International academic relationships
  • Wireless Networks (WNET) lab , Stevens Institute ot Technology, USA
  • Center for Wireless Network Design (CWIND), University of Bedfordshire, UK
  • Northwester Polytechnical University (NWPU), Xi'an China
  • Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, Canada
  • LIAMA, Beijing, China
  • Laboratory of Wireless and Sensor Networks (WnSN), Dept of Computer Science, and Technology, Shanghai, Jiao Tong University, China
Main corporate partnerships
  • Orange labs
  • Orange labs, Beijing
  • Alcatel Lucent
  • SIRADEL, Rennes

Keywords: Wireless networking Radiocommunications Radio resources sharing Networking protocols Embedded wireless systems Mesh networks Sensor networks