NGN Technologies

LTE and WLAN are the forerunners of the current generation of wireless technology. Both are essentially fourth generation technologies, built upon OFDM. For the last few years, LTE has seen rapid growth as the wireless industry broke out of the effects of the 2008 recession. WLAN, while deployed for 10+ years, is now progressing at a breakneck speed. The latest version, 802.11ac, has seen devices enter the market even as specifications are still being standardized. Both LTE and WLAN incorporate the latest breakthroughs in digital communications technology and have been designed for the current and near-term needs of network operators.

While both of these technologies will continue to be refined and developed, the go-to technology for the next generation is increasingly being discussed and experimented with. At HSC, we are working with our customers to develop this key enabling technology. HSC possesses a highly trained engineering teams with key skills in MATLAB-based link modelling, network modelling using ns2/OPNET, quick prototyping on development and prototype platforms, testing and validation.

Multi RAT Networks

While new technologies are progressing at a rapid pace, older technology is not going away. This is partly due to the long investment cycle (which requires a long payback period), but also because these technologies are very good at what they do! WCDMA (now evolved to HSPA) still offers excellent coverage and flexibility as an option for every scenario (other than extremely overloaded, dense urban settings). Hence, Multi RAT – a flexible mixture of heterogeneous technologies across generations, each aware of each other’s existence and capable of interworking with each other in order to maximize customer service within tight cost constraints - is the way wireless systems are progressing.

HSC is working with multiple customers for different types of HetNet deployments. These include:

  • Wifi offloading solutions: moving high bandwidth Internet traffic seamlessly off the cellular network and onto associated wireless LAN networks without any loss of security.
  • Voice fallback solutions: allowing LTE networks to redirect voice calls to existing GSM networks, so as to keep spectrum free for high bandwidth data solutions.
  • Combined Self Optimizing Network (SON) solutions: mixed femtocell/wifi deployment networks.
  • Low form-factor WiFi-LTE dual mode small cells for home and enterprise deployment.

HetNets

A different category of heterogeneity comes from the deployment of network nodes on multiple scales in a single network. A HetNet services a single population of users using a range of network nodes, starting from macro-cells to picocells, each targeted to a different spatial scale. HetNets are made possible due to a number of technologies that have come up in the last few years:

  • Inter-cell coordination for Interference Cancellation (eICIC and FeICIC) are tools used to handle inter-node interference between adjoining macro and pico cells. These tools are necessary because pico cells are inherently deployed in dense networks where predefined urban planning is not possible and because of the vast difference in transmission powers between pico and macro cells.
  • Coordinated Multipoint (COMP) allows network nodes to dynamically pool their resources so as to service users better.

Take a more in-depth look at our experience with HetNet technology here.

Both of these technologies require accurate measurements and feedback from user terminals in a dynamic, high-interference environment.

HSC is working with customers in the area of multi access interference receiver design, modelling, and measurements. Having MAI-capable receivers will provide network nodes the accurate network related feedback that is required to make intelligent decisions in a dynamic environment. MAI also has applications in the area of single frequency networks, VAMOS (for GSM networks) and many other fields.

Beamforming & Millimeter Wave

With the 2 and 5 Ghz bands almost saturated for LTE and WLAN, it is increasingly clear that the next generation of technologies will be in the millimeter wave range (30Ghz and higher). The physical characteristics of this part of the wireless spectrum demand ubiquitous beamforming to create directive point-to-point links. It is anticipated that future networks will be a wireless mesh of point-to-point, high capacity links at very short distances.

HSC is working with multiple customers on conceptual technologies that demonstrate high throughput, on-demand wireless mesh networks. These include mesh-specific features such as adaptive beam steering radio networks, mesh routing, and integration between millimeter wave mesh networks and existing WiFi networks for capacity augmentation.

(Looking for something different? Head over to our radio and wireless engineering page for more information on our technical skill areas and the industries we work with.)

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