Monday, February 16, 2009

Future Internet - Cognitive radio

FP 7 ICT - WORK PROGRAMME 2009-2010 | Challenge 1: Pervasive and Trustworthy Network and Service Infrastructures | Objective 1.1: The Network of the Future  | Challenge 1: Pervasive and Trustworthy Network and Service Infrastructures  

 SeSpectrum-efficient radio access to Future Networks (Call 4)

Next-generation mobile radio technologies–       Cognitive radio and network technologies–       Novel radio network architectures



The 'Future Internet' is emerging globally as a federating research theme. The current Internet architecture was not designed to cope with the wide variety, and the ever growing number of networked applications, business models, edge devices, networks and environments that it has now to support. Its structural limitations in terms of scalability, mobility, flexibility, security, trust and robustness of networks and services are increasingly being recognised world-wide. The challenge is to comprehensively and consistently address the multiple facets of a Future Internet, with energy efficiency also appearing as an important societal concern. Clean slate or evolutionary approaches or a mix of those can be equally considered.

From a networking perspective, this entails a need to rethink architectures such that performance bottlenecks are overcome, a wider variety of service types can be supported, novel types of edge networks such as wireless sensor networks may be integrated, and constraints imposed by new types of media applications such as 3D virtual environments can be supported. Mobility and ever higher end to end data rates also emerge as important design drivers, and so does security and trustworthiness. At network level, a clear challenge will be to provide the Internet with the flexible and ad-hoc management capabilities that have never been part of the 'best effort' paradigm driving the original design.
Novel radio and optical systems are important components of this overall network perspective. 

These network infrastructures need to support an Internet of dynamically combined services with worldwide service delivery platforms and flexibly enable the creation of opportunities for new market entrant. The 'third party generated service' is emerging as a trend supporting the move towards user-centric services, as shown by the advances in Service-Oriented-Architectures and in service front-ends as the interface to users and communities. Virtualisation of resources remains an important research driver enabling the delivery of networked services independently from the underlying platform, an important issue for service providers. Advances in these domains also require breakthroughs in software engineering methods and architectures addressing complexity in distributed, heterogeneous and dynamically composed environments, as well as non-functional requirements. 

Networks and service platforms will become increasingly vulnerable as current developments lead to more complex and large-scale heterogeneous networks with massive distributed data storage and management capacity. They need to be made trustworthy which is defined in this context as: secure, reliable and resilient to attacks and operational failures; guaranteeing quality of service; protecting user data; ensuring privacy and providing usable and trusted tools to support the user in his security management.  Trustworthiness needs to be considered from the outset rather than being addressed as add-on feature. Societal and legal issues increasingly impact technological choices. ICT must be developed to ensure a society based on freedom, creativity and innovation, whilst providing security for its citizens and critical infrastructures.

As the Internet has revolutionised the access to multimedia content and enabled collaborative user-generated content, requirements in this field have huge impact on a Future Internet. Advances in 3D processing give rise to innovative applications notably in gaming technologies and in virtual worlds. These place new types of traffic demands and constraints on network platforms, create new requirements for information representation, filtering, aggregation and networking. They drive demand towards novel search tools and raise issues of identity management, ownership and trading of virtual digital objects as well as right of use. These environments coupled with their usage rules drive the research towards a '3D Media Internet' as a basis of tomorrows networked and collaborative platforms in the residential and professional domains.

The Internet is also revolutionising the Enterprise and businesses environments, with the introduction of RFID technologies enabling more automated processes. These open the way towards an Internet of things, where multiplicity of tags, sensor, and actuators provide physical world information enabling new classes of applications combining virtual and physical world information. Open architectures supporting such environments as well as understanding of their impact on the Internet hence emerge as research drivers. Integration with the mainstream business management platforms as well as integration of multiple businesses in collaborative and ad-hoc environments needs to also be taken into account. 

Finally, there is an increasing demand from academia and industry to bridge the gap between long-term research and large-scale experimentation through experimentally-driven research. A fundamental need in this approach is the set-up of large-scale experimentation facilities, going beyond individual project testbeds, which help putting together different research communities in an interdisciplinary approach, anticipating possible migration paths for technological developments which may be potentially disruptive, discovering new and emerging behaviours and use patterns in an open innovation context, as well as assessing at an early stage the socio-economic implications of new technological solutions. For their demonstration and experimentation, proposers under Challenge 1 are encouraged to use the dynamically evolving Future Internet Research and Experimentation (FIRE) facility and to federate their project testbeds within this facility.  

Technologies developed under this Challenge are expected to be tailored to meet key societal and economic needs.

Cognitive access


Ofcom today published a consultation on enabling cognitive devices to use the interleaved spectrum on a licence-exempt basis. Cognitive devices detect unused spectrum in which they can transmit. This technical document sets out three mechanisms that might be used to detect unused spectrum, namely sensing, geolocation and beacons.

The consultation which closes on the 1 May 2009 can be found here


1.1 Since its launch in 2005, our Digital Dividend Review (DDR) has considered how to make the spectrum freed up by digital switchover (DSO) available for new uses. This includes the capacity available within the spectrum that will be retained to carry the six digital terrestrial television (DTT) multiplexes after DSO. This is known as interleaved spectrum because not all this spectrum in any particular location will be used for DTT and so is available for other services on a shared (or interleaved) basis.

1.2 In our statement of 13 December 2007 on our approach to awarding the digital dividend, we considered the use of interleaved spectrum by licence-exempt applications (i.e. those exempted from the need to be licensed under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 ). We concluded that we should allow cognitive access as long as we were satisfied that it would not cause harmful interference to licensed uses, including DTT and programme-making and special events (PMSE). This could potentially bring substantial benefits to citizens and consumers in the form of new devices and services.

1.3 Cognitive devices can detect spectrum that is otherwise unused and transmit without causing harmful interference. They have the potential to support a wide range of uses, including high-speed always-on broadband and are particularly suited to using interleaved spectrum precisely because significant capacity is often unused at any one location at least some of the time.



U.K. Takes Global Lead on White Spaces; Commits to Use of Vacant TV Spectrum

Wed Feb 6, 2008 3:43pm EST
U.S. Falls Further Behind in Broadband Technology  WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, the Wireless Innovation Alliance (WIA) today urged regulators to follow the lead of their British counterparts and allocate TV white spaces to 'benefit the economy and consumers.' In its December 13th Digital Dividend Review, The United Kingdom's Office of Communication (Ofcom) committed to allowing licensed and unlicensed access to TV spectrum freed up by the upcoming transition from analog to digital transmission.  "The United States' position as a leader in innovation and technology hinges on our ability to keep pace with the world," said Brian Peters, a spokesperson for the Alliance, "and today we fall further behind. Ofcom's commitment to realizing the benefits of vacant TV spectrum in the United Kingdom clearly demonstrates that other countries recognize the value and viability of white space technologies and are moving forward without us. Since 2001, the U.S. has fallen from 3rd to 16th in the world in broadband adoption; unlocking the potential of white spaces could be the key to moving back to the top of that list instead of further and further down".

spectrumtalk blog | Friday, December 14, 2007 |  UK's Ofcom Proposes Unlicensed TV White Space Devices

Yesterday, the FCC's UK progressive counterpart, released a long awaited report entitled "Digital Dividend Review:A statement on our approach to awarding the digital dividend". "Digital dividend" is Eurospeak for what happens to TV spectrum after the end of the DTV transition, analogous to the FCC's 700 MHz auctions.

Ofcom stated (in peculiar UK spelling) the following points that I strongly agree with:

This decision matters for several reasons:

  • spectrum is an essential input in the modern world. Its use underpins 3% of the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) and generates wide reaching benefits for citizens and consumers. But spectrum is a scarce resource, so how it is managed is a critical issue;
  • the spectrum presently used by analogue terrestrial television is exceptional because it can readily be used to provide high bandwidth services over long distances and into buildings; and
  • the opportunity to put this spectrum to new use does not arise often. Analogue television has been its main use for many decades, under a framework that dates back to 1961.
... Under the Communications Act 2003, our duties are to further the interests of citizens and consumers and to secure the optimal use of spectrum. Our objective for the DDR is to award the digital dividend in a way that maximises the total value to society from its future use. This includes value both to citizens and to consumers.

These would be admirable goals in any country.
Then comes the real shocker, the UK counterpart of the FCC's Docket 04-186 proposals for white space/"interleaved spectrum" in UK-speak:

1.34 We propose to allow licence exempt use of interleaved spectrum for cognitive devices. Some licence exempt uses are able to coexist successfully with higher power licensed uses. Cognitive radio is a new technology that can detect spectrum that is otherwise unused and transmit without causing harmful interference. It has the potential to support a wide range of uses, including high speed always on broadband. It is particularly suited to operating in interleaved spectrum, where significant capacity is often unused at any one location at least some of the time.