Nets: Small: Collaborative Research: Coexistence Of Directional Communications Within 5G Networks: The Case For Visible Light Enhanced Small-Cells

Project: Research project

Project Details


Mobile devices are realizing a profound impact on commerce and society today and their success continues to provide rich new applications in all facets of life. This continued expansion is due to rapid advancements in speed and capacity of the devices themselves and the increased capacity of mobile networks. However, mobile devices have now reached performance levels in which they are effectively 'data starved' since their ability to produce or consume data far exceeds the capabilities of the networks which feed them. Next generation, or 5G, wireless networks hold promise to meet this growing demand coupled with the use of smaller wireless cells. Offloading data traffic to small cells is already an established technique for adding capacity to dense environments where macro-cells are overloaded. This project expands the offloading concept onto small cells using optical wireless techniques, providing an additional tier of ultra-dense optical cells in multi-user indoor environments. These Coexisting Radio and Optical Wireless small cell Deployment (CROWD) networks, will enable continued enhancement in-network performance that is essential to maintain the growth and momentum of new applications of mobile devices including connected health, augmented reality, cognitive computing, and the internet of everything. This project aims to use the untapped optical wireless (OW) spectrum and the high areal spectral efficiency of OW cells to augment existing Radio Frequency Small Cells (RF-SCs) and realize new levels of performance offered by future ultra-dense networks. In the proposed CROWD networks, the OW cells are used to intelligently offload high-speed downlink traffic from the RF-SC when a reliable OW cell exists. While small coverage area and dense distribution of directional OW cells improves area spectral efficiency and aggregate wireless capacity; smallness also increases the difficulty of maintaining seamless connectivity. Accordingly, the RF-SC provides coverage for highly mobile devices and devices without a reliable OW connection. CROWD networks are intended to realize performance gains in wireless throughput, latency, and streaming performance within dense multi-user environments. Outcomes of the work include: (1) analysis and simulation of heterogeneous CROWD networks under varying user traffic and mobility models, (2) a design framework and methodology for the creation and adoption of CROWD networks for future 5G systems, and (3) a functional proof-of-concept implementation suitable for validation of the analytic and simulation results and as a blueprint for scaling up to larger CROWD networks.
Effective start/end date10/1/169/30/19


  • National Science Foundation


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