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Sydney University designing 5G IIoT network


A 5G cellular network dedicated to supporting the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is being designed by telecommunications specialists at the University of Sydney.

Professor Branka Vucetic, director of the centre for telecommunications excellence, school of electrical and information engineering, said the dramatic rise in connected devices for the IoT and IIoT will see a thousand-fold increase in mobile traffic.

A major challenge for developing the IIoT lies in building new ICT infrastructure with high standards of reliability, latency, security, and interoperability. IIoT applications face challenging requirements that cannot be met by today’s radio-access network, control and computing methodologies.

Critical is the timing or latency of the 5G network so as to solve potential efficiency problems. Professor Vucetic’s team will look at how to build the wireless network with almost zero latency.

“Latency describes the time it takes for a packet of data to get from one designated point to another within a computer network. And response times can affect efficiency,” said Professor Vucetic.

“We will be investigating response times that are shorter than one millisecond. Improving the current response times will allow us to create the smart environments of our future and emerging technologies.”

While the IIoT is currently in its infancy, Professor Vucetic’s team has been involved in a range of pilot projects and research test-beds for trialling new technologies, in multiple vertical applications. An example is the Smart Grid Smart City (SGSC) Australian project, which has demonstrated several smart-grid applications on a limited scale for 30,000 NSW households.

“In the New Year, our researchers will be focused on developing the new framework and models, algorithms and technologies for the next generation of the wireless cellular 5G,” said Vucetic.

“We will also be refining the requirements for the ultra-high reliability needed for machine-to-machine communications particularly within an industrial setting.  Our ultimate goal is to ensure there is no data lost in the exchange of information from one interface to another.”

“Medical procedures are now being performed using robotic technologies,” she added.

“It allows doctors to perform complex procedures with precision and control.  The surgeon is not in the theatre and in the future, they may not need to be in the same country.

“Power or smart grids in the energy sector also rely heavily on machine-to-machine communications and the concept of the IoT.”

According to Vucetic, the size of the team will increase to fifty researchers for the five year project. The team will include postdoctoral and PhD researchers investigating the use of waveforms, signal processing and multiple antennas to improve spectral efficiency in 5G.

The team will also address the efficient use of the overall radio spectrum, defining software networking and network visualisation.


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