The aim of the SEXTET project is the design of sustainable, affordable, and energy-efficient communication systems for extreme environments. The proposed designs will then be evaluated with extensive simulations and real-world experiments in a set of carefully defined critical scenarios.

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

Project PI: Michele Zorzi

SEXTET project has led to the achievement of the following research activities:


  • 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.

  • advance the state of the art of underwater communications, by proposing new modulation and coding schemes for underwater scenarios and designing a secure communication stack able to optimally switch between optical and acoustic modems;
  • study harsh propagation environments (e.g. overwater, underground, and O&G pipe communication), and design a full network architecture (including antennas, sensors, and communication protocols) for exchanging media in such conditions;
  • design a telehealth network system for enabling the continuous monitoring of Parkinson and other chronical diseases, with the goal of grasping the disease evolution, and properly adjusting the treatment program and the rehabilitation pathways;
  • develop new algorithms for promoting an efficient usage of network resources in extreme environments, focusing on the design of low-power hardware and innovative protocols to support communication, computation, and processing of data, considering both energy efficiency and the cost of learning algorithms.
To date, the SEXTET project has led to the following industrial and scientific outcomes:
  • design new protocols for supporting multimodal (optical and acoustic) communication and node localization in underwater scenarios;
  • identify the optimal configuration for the acoustic transducers used by autonomous underwater vehicles to operate in near-ultrasonic band;
  • development of new electronic components for enabling efficient communication in harsh environments, considering both prototypical and simulative analysis;
  • execution of a randomized clinical trial for testing the utility of wearable system in monitoring motion and sleep disorders in population affected by Parkinson;
  • implementation of an novel simulator to enable the analysis of non-terrestrial network protocols, based on satellite communication;
  • design of a new ICT reference stack, named MONICA Standard Platform, for enabling communication in port areas even in case of disruptive events;
  • optimize the 5G channel model in accordance with GPU platforms, exploiting parallelism and memory hierarchy, and reducing the amount of signaling in OFDM-like applications.
  • 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
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)
Expected KPIs are referred to the whole RESTART project.
  • Publications
    Expected: at least 100 publications on 36 months
    Accomplished: 26
    Readiness: 80%
  • Joint Publications
    Expected: >=30% joint publications on 36 months
    Accomplished: 5 joint publications over 29
    Readiness: 50%
  • Talks/Communication events
    Expected: 30 talks or event chairing/organizing within SEXTET activities on 36 months
    Accomplished: > 10 (among dissemination events and conference presentations)
    Readiness: 100%
  • Demo/Proof of Concept
    Expected: 5 Proof of Concepts expected by the end of the project
    Accomplished: 0
    Readiness: 0% (work according to plan)
  • Project Meetings
    Expected: > 36 meetings
    Accomplished: 6 meetings
    Readiness: 50%
  • Patents/Innovations
    Expected: 10 items over 36 months
    Accomplished: 0
    Readiness: 0%
  • Open Source contributions
    Expected: 3
    Accomplished: 0
    Readiness Level: 0% (work according to plan)
  • Standardization contributions
    Expected: 6
    Accomplished: 0
    Readiness Level: 0% (work according to plan)

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 the project PI.