Communications

We excel in the implementation of hardware test beds to assess the performance of communications systems under development, improving the efficiency of radios and wireless networks used in areas of research, such as 5G and beyond.

Inside an anechoic chamber

One of our key strengths is in implementation of hardware test beds, which enable accurate assessment of performance of communication systems under development. This is particularly important in our research to improve energy efficiency in radios and wireless networks. Some of our research on wireless communication systems is applied in extreme environments, such as in measurements of glacial flow rates. We are currently exploring direct digitisation in mm-wave massive MIMO (multiple-input-multiple-output) systems, in order to reduce complexity of mm-wave receivers.

Owing to our pioneering work in the interdisciplinary topic of exploiting heterogeneous big data analytics to proactively optimise both the deployment and operations of wireless networks, we are also heavily involved in European efforts in 5G/6G communication systems. For example, to efficiently meet very high capacity demand in indoor hot spots, we are currently leading a European consortium to optimise locations of small-cell access points and their 3-D MIMO antenna configurations. There is also research in ultra-dense deployment of millimetre-wave small-cells alongside massive MIMO antennas, to address capacity-demanding built environments.

Our expertise covers many areas associated with 5G and beyond:

  • Physical layer (antennas, some RF, baseband processing/coding/modulation/MIMO)
  • Radio resource management layers (packet scheduling, handover, load control, inter-cell interference coordination, access control)
  • Network planning layers (base station placement, coverage, indoor & outdoor propagation environments)
  • Application layers (video coding and compression, video transmission, video quality metrics)

Our other research activities are involved with addressing exciting topics such as Cognitive radio, Green radio systems, vehicle communications, smart surfaces, body-worn systems, wireless friendly buildings and medical electromagnetics.

Areas of Expertise

The latest investment for The Group has been the mmWave Measurement Facility which consists of a state of the art NSI -MI spherical 3D antenna measurement and a probe station.  These resources are available to industry and academics to test antennta, on-wafer devices and circuits and RF systems on a large range of GHz from low to 110GHz.  Watch this video to find out more:

EEE- EPSRC MMWave Measurement Facility

Frequency Selective Surfaces & Stealth
  • Radar signature management for stealth
  • Active and passive radar absorbing materials
  • Reconfigurable frequency selective surfaces
  • Electromagnetic material characterisation
  • Electromagnetic bandgap structures
Microwave and RF Modelling and Measurements
  • Antennas and microwave systems
  • Microwave and RF metrology
  • Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) measurements
  • Radar cross-section (RCS) measurements
  • Electromagnetics associated with MRI
Antenna Array Signal Processing
  • MIMO
  • Massive MIMO
  • Acoustic arrays

Our group has been a member of the "UK Mobile Virtual Centre of Excellence" (mVCE) since April 2011

Wireless Transceivers
  • RF circuits
  • Direct RF digitisation
  • Basebound signal processing, coding and modulation
  • MIMO and massive MIMO
Next Generation Radio Access Networks
  • Energy efficient radio access networks
  • Radio resource management
  • Next-generation cellular networks
  • Heterogeneous networks
  • Small cell networks

As part of our wider contributions to UK research in electronic communications, we host the EPSRC- funded network CommNet2 (UK Research Strategy Community Organisation in Communications, Mobile Computing and Networking). The network aims to derive and deliver a coherent national research  roadmap, to address the increasingly complex multi-disciplinary engineering challenges in electronic communications. This is reflected by the diverse memberships of CommNet2, which include UK academics and industry working on topics ranging from materials devices through subsystems to integrated systems/architectures/protocols.

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