To address the growing problem of capacity congestion due to the ever increasing demand for bandwidth and the anticipated tens of billions of M2M communications by 2020, heterogeneous networks (HetNets) were recently envisioned to support multi-tier cells and multi-standard radios by offloading traffic across multi-tier cells or from one access technology to another, including fiber. HetNets exacerbate interference and require its mitigation through enhanced coordination or management solutions. They also require new decentralized signal processing and resource allocation schemes.
Cognitive radio would allow a single transceiver to sense dozens of bands and technologies with the ability to flit between and combine networks automatically, seamlessly in real time. Novel agile/smart antennas and transceiver designs are to be developed to support this major paradigm shift. Virtualization, another major paradigm shift leading to the concept of virtual networks (VNs), enables virtual service providers (VSPs) to operate over slices of a single, shared network infrastructure thereby yielding increased flexibility, manageability and efficiency in terms of resource utilization and energy consumption.
Challenging issues on how to slice infrastructure on the fly are unchartered territory to investigate.
Smart monitoring is in increasing demand due to recent developments of microwave/mm-wave circuit and multi-chip modules that enable the design of compact transceivers for future radar and imaging sensor systems, other types of sensors (e.g., biochemical), and WSNs. WSNs deployed over a given area or structure can collect biohazard/structural metrics for disaster prevention or rescue.
Automotive radar, a key technology due to its advantages against video, laser or ultrasonic sensors such as weather independence and direct range/velocity acquisition, is prone to be integrated into V2V communications and can make driving less strenuous by keeping the driver at a safe distance and warning him in critical situations. Mm-wave imagery systems intend to replace old technology metal detectors in security and surveillance. They can provide useful landing information for aircrafts, reducing the dependence on ground-based-instrument landing systems and space-borne GPS. Integrated into a scanning device, they can also be used in improved process control (e.g., manufacturing) or defect detection (e.g., smart grids).
Challenging issues arise in the design, fabrication and characterization of high-end mm-waves integrated circuits and in the design of new energy-efficient distributed signal processing techniques for data aggregation and fusion from WSN nodes.
Adoption of suitable WNS technologies to build a two-way communication infrastructure for the power grid must account for its stringent Quality-of-Service (QoS) requirements in bandwidth, reliability, and delay. Novel architectures and data processing technologies are needed for grid monitoring and control to cope with its potentially harsh communication environment and M2Mdriven huge monitoring and control data.
WNS and V2V are key enablers of smart vehicles with many safety and comfort-related applications (e.g., mobile internet, advertisement, and video streaming). Smart electric vehicles are also an important grid element with desirable capabilities in demand-side management and provision of grid ancillary services. WNS solutions for smart vehicles, however, must deal with their high mobility, density, and QoS requirements. Finally, WNS play a central role in future smart homes, offices, hospitals, and cities (for mobile internet, health monitoring, energy management, traffic, etc.).
Further groundbreaking innovations are needed to meet the huge bandwidth requirements, connectivity, wireless coexistence and wireless optical interface challenges.