Upcoming PhD QE Progress

So I’ve been doing my PhD for over two years now, and I haven’t posted a reflective “state of the thesis” post in quite some time, so here it is. I have maxed out my 50 pages (not included ToC and references) for some time now, it’s just been in the process of revision for the last month or so! I have more or less settled on what my research actually is now and am getting a clearer picture of it in my head all the time.

Officially the topic is “Radio Resource Management for Quality of Service in Heterogeneous Wireless Networks”. This is quite the mouthful, I know. Really what it boils down to is: Making various wireless technologies (Bluetooth, WiFi, WiMAX, 3G, 4G, … , etc) seamlessly work together. Many devices are capable of connecting to many of these radio access technologies (RATs), but often it is not seamless. What do I mean by this? Well suppose I am inside a university building, deep in the basement (where they tend to put CS students :P) where there is no mobile reception (3G, 4G etc.). I start downloading a large file, or call someone via wifi. Now I want to walk to my car because it’s time to go home for the day. Many networks now are not able to handle this, and it is interrupted after you change networks. Furthermore, you often have to manually tell the device you want to leave one network and join another. Seamless means this should all happen without you noticing. This is the focus of my research.

The biggest problem that I am concerned with is called handoff or handover. This is when the switch between RATs occurs. Traditionally, this also occurs when a mobile device switches from one tower to another, and it usually involved predicting the motion of the device along with some other factors for Quality of Service (QoS). For a vertical handover, we may or may not need to predict motion. If the heterogeneous wireless network (HWN) is densely covered, many RATs are available throughout the coverage region (as opposed to a sparsely covered where a given location may have access to one technology at once). In a dense HWN, the problem becomes a multi-criteria question.

  1. Which network is most economical for me to connect to?
  2. Which configuration of (network, client) pairs is most profitable for the operator?
  3. Which network is able to provide me with the required QoS?

More technical details to follow…

Research Day – Summer 2010

Tomorrow I present at Research Day at University of Guelph at 1:30pm. Here is the abstract for the presentation:

Title: Radio Resource Management in Heterogeneous Wireless Networks

Abstract: Wireless networks are quickly becoming pervasive allowing users to stay connected anytime
anywhere. However, current implementations are not seamless. There are many different radio
access technologies (RATs), for example 802.11 (Wifi), 802.15 (Bluetooth, Zigbee), 802.16 (WiMAX)
and 3g cellular / mobile technologies which are not inter-operable. The aim of heterogeneous
wireless networking is to bridge the technological gap between the existing equipment and software.
When this occurs, the wireless spectrum may be used more efficiently and it is expected users will
have a better experience using the networks. Ideally, the devices should be able to select the best
RAT at a given moment in time based on some criteria, for example cost or capacity. A background
on the architecture of heterogeneous networks will be presented. Problems such as handover, radio
resource management and quality of service (QoS) will be discussed and a direction for further
study will be established.

Update: Here are the slides from the presentation for those who are interested:Research Day 2010 (pdf) – Jason Ernst