The Gigamobile project

 Background

The increasing popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices, where the end user has access to a host of rich multimedia functionality, means that the current mobile network architecture will struggle to meet surging data demands. Although the global rollout of 4G networks is well underway, it is unlikely that that 4G alone will be able to service the growing data requirements of mobile users. Furthermore, while voice, data, and compressed streaming media are now the norm, it is future social networking applications which will undoubtedly present mobile network designers and operators with their greatest challenge.

A New Mobile Networking Paradigm

One method of supplementing mobile communications, which is currently gaining significant momentum is the idea of using network users themselves as relays by employing device-to-device (D2D) communications. In this device-to-device model, existing mobile infrastructure can be used to set-up, control and manage short direct communications links between nearby mobile device users within an operator’s network.

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The Multi-gigabit mobile networking concept senvisaged that all network users are connected to a low-rate control service via connections to the eNodeB (black, dashed arrows).

The control service provides contextually appropriate information that helps the nodes manage high-capacity links (purple, solid arrows) that form a rapidly changing multi-hop network for data delivery.

A lower capacity fall back service is provided using either 2.45/5 GHz WiGig (red, solid arrows) or as a worst scenario, the normal cellular data channels (black, dashed arrows).

Research Hypothesis and Objectives

In the proposed project, we will completely re-imagine the mobile network architecture with the aim of off- loading local services from the eNodeB using tri-band D2D communications in a bid to enhance the overall network capacity. The future success of D2D communications will be largely dependent upon a thorough understanding of the characteristics of the physical layer (e.g. link statistics and reliability) and the subsequent adaptive scheduling of links and intelligent social routing of data to incentivise the effective use of crowd sourced resources.  Through this research programme and along with our collaborators we will seek to answer key research, regulatory and societal impact related questions about the proposed tri-band D2D communications when used as a high capacity underlay for mobile networks.