This project aims at exploring new telecommunication solutions for scenarios that, despite their potentially huge societal and economical impact, are not suitably supported by current mainstream telecommunication systems due to their extremely challenging characteristics. More in detail the project has the following objectives:

  • Formulate channel models for RF, acoustic, and optical signals in extreme environments.
  • Develop devices for operation in extreme environments.
  • Design network architectures to enable communication in extreme environments.
  • Develop new solutions enabling energy-efficient usage of resources in extreme environments.

The developed solutions will be implemented in dedicated testbeds with the aim of both validating the results and disseminating the results among both vendors and operators.

SEXTET is parte of Spoke 6 – Innovative Architectures and Extreme Environments

  • Challenges related to the design of modern underwater networks have been investigated. In this context, the main aspects included: the use of specific hardware components for acoustic modems, the design of localization networks transparent to the MAC protocol, the use of OFDM for acoustic transmission, and the analysis of the best optical waveforms for underwater communication.
  • High frequency (10 GHz) electronic components for extreme environments have been designed and analyzed via an industry-standard simulator. Besides, a long-distance monitoring system to provide windmill farms in the open sea via optical fibers has been studied. To this goal, the requirements for subsea optical repeates were analyzed, considering the need to provide sensing capabilities at a distance up to 330 km.
  • Motion measurements on several patients affected by neurodegenerative diseases have been performed and ad-hoc algorithms were designed to identify neurological complications during both resting state and activities of daily living. In this context, we analyzed the trade-off between performance and power consumption to enable monitoring in challenging conditions.
  • A 5G network management system for Public Protection and Disaster Relief scenarios has being developed. Particularly, three extreme scenarios have been considered for the performance evaluation: high-end IoT networks, non-terrestrial networks, and resource allocation systems for industrial IoT. For all the scenarios, we considered the need to provide emergency services in case of disruptive events, with a specific focus on maritime environments.
  • The energy consumption and time efficiency of OFDM-like systems have been investigated, exploring the role played by quantization and bit-loading procedures. In this context, new methods to accelerate 5G channel simulations have been proposed, enabling the analysis of massive multiple-input multiple-output channel models. Besides, the performance of reinforcement learning-based resource allocation strategies in dynamic environments have been analyzed.
  • The use of visible and invisible light communication in underwater networks has been analyzed in open sea, and the outcomes indicate that ultraviolet is the most resistant to sunlight noise. An efficient fingerprinting-based localization protocol has been developed and tested for the tracking of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). A multi-agent system composed of an autonomous surface vessel (ASV) and two AUVs performing an inspection task has been designed, considering a multimodal acoustic and optical network for device coordination.
  • The ideal topology of the electronic components for extreme environments has been translated into actual topology from the Process Design Kit and thus optimized via simulations to obtain the final design. To improve the performance of the subsea monitoring system, an advanced design considering multiplexing over time, frequency, or multiple fibers was adopted. In this context, a testing and prototyping campaign is planned to further improve the performance assessment.
  • A randomized clinical trial involving three different neurologists and the designed algorithms for motion classification is ongoing, with promising preliminary results. Particularly, the results denoted that the heart rate variability carries pivotal information to drive the identification of sleep disorders without requiring additional sensors. Finally, a novel protocol to evaluate the posture of subjects in dynamic conditions has been proposed, considering the technical characteristics of intra-body (intra-fat tissue) communications.
  • In the high-end IoT scenario, we studied how to configure beam management to meet the Quality of Service (QoS) constraints according to specific network parameters. In the non-terrestial scenario, we evaluated the performance of a communication link between a Geostationary Equatorial Orbit (GEO) satellite and a High Altitude Platform (HAP). In the resource allocation scenario, we developed a UE-centric architecture in which allocation decisions are made by the local UEs, and machine learning algorithms allow to reduce latency due to re-transmissions.
  • We developed an efficient implementation of the 3GPP channel model for GPU platforms, exploiting parallelism and memory hierarchy: experimental data show that the proposed system achieves an overall speedup of about 240x compared to the original model. Besides, we defined a continual learning strategy that can minimize the computational, communication, and energy overheads in network edge scenarios, considering the use of more advanced communication metrics in constrained channels.
  • Università di Roma, Tor Vergata
  • Politecnico di Torino
  • Università di Padova
  • Università di Reggio Calabria
  • Università di Roma Sapienza
  • Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Telecomunicazioni (CNIT)
  • Prysmian
  • Athonet
  1. Publications
    • Expected: at least 75 publications in 36 months
    • Accomplished: 29
    • Readiness: 100%
  2. Joint Publications
    • Expected: >=30% joint publications in 36 months
    • Accomplished: 3 joint publications out of 29
    • Readiness: 100%
  3. Talks/Communication events
    • Expected: 30 talks or event chairing/organizing within SEXTET activities in 36 months
    • Accomplished: > 10 (including dissemination events and conference presentations)
    • Readiness: 100%
  4. Demo/PoC
    • Expected: 2 PoCs expected by the end of the project
    • Accomplished: 0
    • Readiness: 100% (work according to plan)
  5. Project Meetings
    • Expected: 20 meetings
    • Accomplished: 4 meetings
    • Readiness: 100%
  6. Patents/Innovations
    • Expected: 2 items over 36 months
    • Accomplished: 0
    • Readiness: 100%

Collaboration proposals
The SEXTET Project is open to collaborations on the following topics:

  • Underwater and non-terrestrial network architectures
  • Novel antennas for extreme high-frequency transmission/reception
  • Remote monitoring systems for tele-health
  • Resource optimization techniques for 5G New Radio

For any proposal of collaboration within the project please contact  marco.giordani at unipd.it


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