Back to CommNet!

Key Information

  • When

    Thursday 11th January 2018

  • Where

    Durham University

  • Event Champions

    Dr. Aissa Ikhlef, Prof. Jonathon Chambers, Dr. Justin Coon


A recent European Signal Processing Society (EURASIP) position paper identified a number of signal processing challenges for communications beyond 5G.  These include :

  • exploiting domain knowledge in estimating channel state information
  • expanding coverage through satellites
  • utilizing quantum assisted design in solving computationally intensive optimisation problems
  • developing network assisted self-driving objects
  • designing inferential networks
  • exploiting visible light communications
  • promoting networked signal processing
  • developing open-source tools

This event provided a forum for the UK communications and signal processing community to receive presentations on these and other related topics; to network and build collaborative teams to address these challenges.


On entering campus on Stockton Road, please head either to the main entrance next to the Yum Cafe (see map below), or to the Law School entrance and the Hogan Lovells Lecture Theatre will be on your right.

Prof. Jonathon Chambers (Newcastle University, Event Champion) and Prof. Tim O’Farrell (CommNet2 Director) will open the day with introductory remarks.

Molecular Communications: Unleashing the Internet of Nano-Things

Molecular communication (MC) such as pheromone signalling, which allows the interaction of various biological phenomena, is one of the most important functions in living organisms. Along with significant recent advances in the fields of nanotechnology, bioengineering and synthetic biology, MC has now inspired the development of artificial nanoscale and microscale machines that are capable of performing simple tasks, such as sensing or actuation. The interconnection of nanoscale devices with internet, defines a new paradigm called ”Internet of Nano-Things”. It is envisioned that MC will become a promising enabler for nanoscale communication, providing an alternative to traditional electromagnetic wave or acoustic wave based systems. In this talk, Professor Nallanathan will describe the modelling of large scale MC system and explain how to analyse it using 3D Stochastic Geometry. He will also present practical aspects in the design and prototyping of components capable of MC functionalities.

The Making of 5G

In this talk, I will share some unique behind-the-scene insights on the design efforts around the world’s first heterogeneous end-to-end 5G system.

Focus will be on our King’s-unique top-down design approach, underpinned by some pioneering technology developments.

When Quantum-Signal Processing and Communications Meet…

The marriage of ever-more sophisticated signal processing and wireless communications has led to compelling ’tele-presence’ solutions – at the touch of a dialling key. However, the ’quantum’ leaps both in digital signal processing theory and in its nano-scale based implementation is set to depart from classical physics obeying the well understood laws revealed by science. We embark on a journey into the weird & wonderful world of quantum-physics, where the traveller has to obey the sometimes strange new rules of the quantum-world. Hence we ask the judicious question: can the marriage of applied signal processing and communications extend beyond the classical world into the quantum world? The quest for quantum-domain communication solutions was inspired by Feynman’s revolutionary idea in 1985: information-bearing bits can be mapped to particles such as photons or to the spin as well as to the charge of electrons for encoding, processing and delivering information. Against the backdrop of numerous open research questions, this presentation will explore some of the topical problems both in quantum-computing aided as well as in quantum-domain signal processing and communications.

LiFi – High Speed Wireless Networking using Nano-Metre Waves.

The visible light spectrum is 1000 times larger than the entire radio frequency spectrum of 300 GHz, and this simple fact provides the motivation to use the visible light spectrum to augment RF cellular communications. We will set the scene by motivating the need for new wireless spectrum. Then we will go on to provide a general background to the subject of optical wireless communications. We will discuss the relationship between VLC and LiFi, introducing the major advantages of VLC and LiFi and discuss existing challenges.  Recent key advancements in physical layer techniques that led to transmission speeds greater than 10 Gbps will be discussed. Moving on, we introduce channel modelling techniques, and show how this technology can be used to create fully-fledged cellular networks achieving orders of magnitude improvements of area spectral efficiency compared to current technologies. The challenges that arise from moving from a static point-to-point visible light link to a LiFi network that is capable of serving hundreds of mobile and fixed nodes will be discussed. An overview of recent standardization activities will be provided – primarily focusing on the new IEEE 80211 LC (light communication) Study Group activities. Lastly, we will moot commercialization challenges of this disruptive technology.

On the Complexity of Wireless Networks

The evolution of wireless communication technology over the past two decades has led to severe engineering challenges concerning interference and network densification.  As we begin to embrace the 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) paradigms, these challenges are sure to grow.  Indeed, it is predicted that connection densities will surpass one million per square kilometer in the near future, largely owing to the deployment of IoT networks and services.  Yet, relatively little has been done to quantify the growing complexity of these networks, and the subsequent implications that this growth will have on network performance as we move beyond 5G.  In this talk, we will explore the issue of complexity in wireless networks from a fundamental perspective and provide some insight into what it means for practical deployments in the future.  It is hoped that this talk will stimulate discussion about how engineers might exploit a quantitative framework for measuring network complexity to design scalable protocols, algorithms, and management procedures.

Multi-RAT convergence – A new spin through the Edge!

The talk will discuss a new spin to Multi-RAT convergence brought by the recent paradigm of Edge (including Fog) networking and computing.

This new spin is being addressed in the European-Taiwan 5G-CORAL project launched in September 2017. The concept and architecture of 5G-CORAL will be presented.

5G and Beyond for Immersive Media – Where Are We Now and What Are the Key Challenges in Future?

It has been a general vision that 4K/8K videos and immersive virtual/augmented realities (VR/AR) will represent the killer applications in the 5G enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) scenario. In this talk we start from our most recent work on Quality of Experience (QoE) assured 4K mobile video delivery at the Internet scale which featured the IEEE ComSoc Technology News (CTN) in September 2017. The developed context-aware video segment prefetching technique requires necessary knowledge learned by the intelligent mobile edge, including the instantaneous user QoE (e.g., video buffer status) and backhaul conditions (e.g., latency). As a result, the content requests from the user device side can be directly served by the available video segments that have arrived at the mobile edge just in time. Such a scheme paves a promising ground to support future immersive AR/VR applications that can be consumed across the whole Internet, whereas at present they are being restricted within a local environment only. Taking this as a starting point, the talk will further discuss major technical challenges associated with network capacities, network intelligence and the over-arching transport-layer protocols in 5G and beyond environments.

Proactive Wireless Content Caching

With the emerging capacity-hungry applications, from virtual and augmented reality to vehicular infotainment and driver assistance systems, ubiquitous demand for high date rate content, particularly video streaming, over wireless cellular networks is expected to continue its exponential growth. While network densification or moving towards the GHz bands will help sustain part of this growth, they are highly costly solutions. This talk will present an emerging alternative approach that can potentially convert cheap and abundant memories available at user devices into valuable bandwidth. We will show that proactive caching of popular contents at the wireless network edge combined with advanced physical layer and machine learning techniques can significantly reduce both the latency and the backhaul traffic, and improve the capacity of the network.