Research

Research Axes

In order to keep young researchers in an environment close to their background, we have structured the team along the three research axes related to the three main scientific domains spanned by Socrate. However, we insist that a major objective of the Socrate team is to motivate the collaborative research between these axes. The first one is entitled “Flexible Radio Front-End” and will study new radio front-end research challenges brought up by the arrival of mimo technologies, and reconfigurable front-ends. The second one, entitled “Agile Radio Resource Sharing”, will study how to couple the self-adaptive and distributed signal processing algorithms to cope with the multi-scale dynamics found in cognitive radio systems. The last research axis, entitled “Software Radio Programming Models” is dedicated to embedded software issues related to programming the physical protocols layer on these software radio machines. Figure 3 illustrates the three regions of a transceiver corresponding to the three Socrate axes.

Flexible Radio Front-End

Participants : Guillaume Villemaud, Florin Hutu.

This axis mainly deals with the radio front-end of software radio terminals (right of Fig 3 ). In order to ensure a high flexibility in a global wireless network, each node is expected to offer as many degrees of freedom as possible. For instance, the choice of the most appropriate communication resource (frequency channel, spreading code, time slot,…), the interface standard or the type of antenna are possible degrees of freedom. The multi-* paradigm denotes a highly flexible terminal composed of several antennas providing mimo features to enhance the radio link quality, which is able to deal with several radio standards to offer interoperability and efficient relaying, and can provide multi-channel capability to optimize spectral reuse. On the other hand, increasing degrees of freedom can also increase the global energy consumption, therefore for energy-limited terminals a different approach has to be defined.

In this research axis, we expect to demonstrate optimization of flexible radio front-end by fine grain simulations, and also by the design of home made prototypes. Of course, studying all the components deeply would not be possible given the size of the team, we are currently not working in new technologies for dac /adc and power amplifiers which are currently studied by hardware oriented teams. The purpose of this axis is to build system level simulation taking into account the state of the art of each key component.

Agile Radio Resource Sharing

Participants : Jean-Marie Gorce, Claire Goursaud, Perlaza Samir, Leonardo Sampaio-Cardoso.

The second research axis is dealing with the resource sharing problem between uncoordinated nodes but using the same (wide) frequency band. The agility represents the fact that the nodes may adapt their transmission protocol to the actual radio environment. Two features are fundamental to make the nodes agile : the first one is related to the signal processing capabilites of the software radio devices (middle circle in Fig 3 ), including modulation, coding, interference cancelling, sensing… The set of all available processing capabilites offers the degrees of freedom of the system. Note how this aspect relies on the two other research axes: radio front-end and radio programming.

But having processing capabilities is not enough for agility. The second feature for agility is the decision process, i.e. how a node can select its transmission mode. This decision process is complex because the appropriateness of a decision depends on the decisions taken by other nodes sharing the same radio environment. This problem needs distributed algorithms, which ensure stable and efficient solutions for a fair coexistence.

Beyond coexistence, the last decade saw a tremendous interest in cooperative techniques that let the nodes do more than coexisting. Of course, cooperation techniques at the networking or mac layers for nodes implementing the same radio standard are well-known, especially for mobile ad-hoc networks, but cooperative techniques for sdr nodes at the phy layer are still really challenging. The corresponding paradigm is the one of opportunistic cooperation, let us say on-the-fly, further implemented in a distributed manner.

We propose to structure our research into three directions. The two first directions are related to algorithmic developments, respectively for radio resource sharing and for cooperative techniques. The third direction takes another point of view and aims at evaluating theoretical bounds for different network scenarios using Network Information Theory.

The second research axis is dealing with multi-user communications focusing on resource sharing between uncoordinated nodes but using the same spectral resources. The agility relies on the nodes capability to adapt their transmission protocol to the actual radio environment. Centralized and decentralized approaches are investigated and the group is targeting fundamental limits as well as feasible and even practical implementations.

To make agile radio resource sharing a reality, two research directions are investigated. The first one aims at increasing the signal processing capabilities of software radio devices (middle circle in Fig 3 ), including modulation, coding, interference cancelation, sensing. The objective is to broaden the set of available processing capabilities thus offering more degrees of freedom. Note how this aspect relies on the two other research axes: radio front-end and radio programming.

Processing capabilities is not enough for agility. The second research direction concerns the decision process, i.e. how a node can select its transmission mode. This decision process is complex because the appropriateness of a decision depends on the decisions taken by other nodes sharing the same radio environment. In some cases, centralized solutions are possible but distributed algorithms are often required. Therefore, the target is to find distributed solutions ensuring stability, efficiency and fairness. Beyond coexistence, the last decade saw a tremendous interest in cooperative techniques that let the nodes do more than coexisting. Of course, cooperation techniques at the networking or mac layers for nodes implementing the same radio standard are well-known, especially for mobile ad-hoc networks, but cooperative techniques for sdr nodes at the phy layer are still challenging. The corresponding paradigm is referred to as opportunistic cooperative transmissions. We structure our research into three directions:

  • Establishing theoretical limits of cooperative wireless networks in the network information theory framework.

  • Designing coding and signal processing techniques for optimal transmissions (e.g. interference alignment).

  • Developing distributed mechanisms for distributed decision at layer 1 and 2, using game theory, consensus and graph modeling.

Software Radio Programming Model

Participants : Tanguy Risset, Kevin Marquet, Guillaume Salagnac, Florent de Dinechin.

Finally the third research axis is concerned with software aspect of the software radio terminal (left of Fig 3 ). We have currently two actions in this axis, the first one concerns the programming issues in software defined radio devices, the second one focusses on low power devices: how can they be adapted to integrate some reconfigurability.

The expected contributions of Socrate in this research axis are :

  • The design and implementation of a “middleware for sdr ”, probably based on a Virtual Machine.

  • Prototype implementations of novel software radio systems, using chips from Leti and/or Lyrtech software radio boards (Lyrtech (http://www.lyrtech.com ) designs and sells radio card receivers with multiple antennas offering the possibility to implement a complete communication stack).

  • Development of a smart node: a low-power Software-Defined Radio node adapted to wsn applications.

  • Methodology clues and programming tools to program all these prototypes.

 

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