At the beginning of year 2019, the 5G Open Research Collaboration Ecosystem (5G-Force) research project had its kick start. The overall goal of the 5G-Force, with it world class partners, is to be an open platform for exploring and verifying the new 5G technologies as well as research new solutions. The open platform is filling the gap between laboratory-based 5G testing environments and commercial network deployments. The platform offers trialling support and tailored infrastructure configurations for telecom and vertical industries as well as scientific communities to utilize of 5G radio and core network technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and wireless mesh networks. We at Wirepas are proudly part of this project, pushing massive IoT networks to new limits, and uses cases utilizing Wirepas Mesh technology.
Wirepas Research in 5G Force
5G has been lacking the massive IoT characteristics and along the project, Wirepas Mesh has proven to complete the 5G ecosystem to cover all aspects of connectivity needs. For Wirepas, the 5G-Force provides vital research collaboration environment with two parallel activities that strongly support each other. The first part of the project addresses the system research of a massive scale autonomous IoT mesh network pushing the limits of massive machine type communication (mMTC) well beyond of existing 5G target values.
This research work is expected to significantly accelerate Wirepas future technology development as during the research we can address several new technical and computing paradigms that were not available earlier and thus not used in current IoT networks. In this research we exploit new radio interface technologies, edge computing with local decision making and self-learning & self-healing algorithms to obtain optimum balance in terms of key performance indicators shown in Figure 1. At Wirepas we strongly believe that massive IoT systems shall operate without centralized control of the system to enable extensive scalability of the mesh network and be able to automatically tune to correct balance between different key performance indicators.
In some use cases the node power consumption is the key, as the node will have to be able operate for long times with a coin cell battery or even just using energy harvesting. The typical use case is environmental sensors either indoors or outdoors. However, for e.g. in a smart lighting use case the latency of the communication is the key, rather than power consumption as command needs to be delivered in tens or hundreds of milliseconds. Finally, as spectrum is a scarce resource, the optimum system capacity and how to co-exist and avoid disruptive interference between different systems is an essential subject for any IoT system aiming to scale truly massive deployments.
Additionally, Wirepas actively participates in several ETSI standardization groups where the results of studies are essential in influencing future technologies, and to ensure that progress in regulations are favourable for massive scale IoT networks.
Wirepas Test Network in 5G Force
The second part of the project extends the 5G Force test network platform to support real massive scale IoT network with realistic data. The massive scale test networks are deployed in Tampere University campus utilizing different vendors commercial and pre-commercial devices all utilizing Wirepas Mesh for communication.
The work enables Wirepas and Tampere University to evaluate, understand, and improve the real system performance, interoperability, and usage of a mesh network composed from different kind of nodes developed for different use cases by different device vendors. With massive scale we mean that testing is not done with few nodes only, but networks containing several hundred nodes or even thousands of nodes. With different use case we mean that single network is composed from nodes developed for asset management, indoor / outdoor positioning of things, person monitoring tags, lighting control and building automation for example.
This activity extends the existing 5G test network platform done by other project members, to support real massive scale IoT network with realistic data as the mesh network is integrate to overall 5G test network platform maintained by 5G FORCE project (https://5g-force.org/). Further network and obtained data can be used by Tampere University for teaching and education purposes.
The very first half a year already has provided us several exiting results in both system research and test network area. These results we will start publishing in coming different media including blogs. If you find this research interesting and would like to know more, we in Wirepas are open for collaboration.
For more information visit: https://5g-force.org/