Luiz DaSilva, Connect

Connect researcher begins work on ORCA 5G network project

Luiz DaSilva, Connect

16 January 2017

A new EU-funded research project exploring ways of achieving faster wireless Internet speeds has begun at at Connect, the Science Foundation Ireland research centre for research into future networks based at Trinity College Dublin.

The project, ORCA (Orchestration and Reconfiguration Control Architecture), was €5 million by the European Union’s prestigious Horizon 2020 research fund and will focus on 5G network technology which will enable applications from ultra-high definition video to the Internet of Things.

ORCA involves collaboration with research groups in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and the US and will run until 2019.

Prof Luiz DaSilva, Principal Investigator at Connect and Chair of Telecommunications at Trinity College’s School of Engineering, will lead Ireland’s contribution to the project.

Professor Da Silva said: “This research is urgent. The Internet is already under immense pressure as it struggles to cope with user demand.  The growing popularity of Internet television and on-demand video means wireless technology must find new ways of delivering much faster speeds.

“Until now, some of the leading ideas for the future of wireless Internet have been examined only with theoretical simulations. This project will allow us to test these ideas experimentally.”

The project will support the EU’s ambitious connectivity plan that aims to offer download speeds of at least 100Mb/s to all households and make 5G commercially available by 2020 in all member states.

Prof Linda Doyle, director, Connect, said: “This is another vote of confidence in Irish-based research. The telecommunications testbed developed by Professor DaSilva’s team in Trinity College is among the best in the world. It is a premium resource and, coupled with the expertise of our researchers, allows Ireland to compete successfully at an international level for prestigious research awards like this.”

Since its launch in 2015 the Connect Centre has won over €12.7 million in competitive Horizon 2020 EU funding.

Prof DaSilva’s team is already involved in seven other EU-funded telecommunications research projects which have brought almost €2.3 million in funding to Ireland over the past two years.

“The focus of the project will be the control mechanisms used in wireless technologies,” said Prof DaSilva.

“Current resource management mechanisms in wireless networks are inadequate to deal with extreme (ultra-low latency, ultra-high throughput, ultra-high reliability) and diverging (low- and high- data rate, time-critical and non-time critical) communication needs. Interesting evolutions are happening at different levels and this is enabling the creation of parallel on demand wireless network slices optimised for a specific set of requirements.

“ORCA aims to bridge those interesting evolutions at different levels, making them mature enough to enable end-to-end networking experiments going from software defined radio (SDR), with software defined networking (SDN) to dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS). We will open new frequency bands, by proposing SDR technology at mmWave frequencies that is mature and fast enough to be included in end-to-end networking experiments.

“We will also bridge SDR with SDN technology, enabling the creation of multiple virtual networks that operate on the same infrastructure but meet the most diverse and stringent application requirements.

“A final step will be to enable advanced reprogramming of the SDR infrastructure, needed for offering versatile testbed facilities, paving the way towards, ultimately, on demand wireless networking and experimentation.”

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