/Pioneering Cell-free Massive MIMO prototyping platform for Ultra-Reliable 6G Wireless Communication Systems

Pioneering Cell-free Massive MIMO prototyping platform for Ultra-Reliable 6G Wireless Communication Systems

PhD - Gent | More than two weeks ago

You will be carrying out groundbreaking fundamental and applied research to architect the High-Speed, Ultra-Reliable and Low-Latency 6G wireless communications of tomorrow within a team of scientists and practitioners from both industry and academia!

Motivated by the new era of automation and the explosion of the IoT, the future wireless connectivity landscape of 6G and beyond will feature low-complexity high-throughput, ultra-reliable and low-latency wireless communication systems. Such stringent requirements make the radio access design very challenging and some fundamental performance / complexity tradeoffs must be made. Example of such requirements are packet error rate in motion of 10-9 or lower with latency in the order of few µs-ms. In building up such robust wireless systems, radically new radio access architecture is needed consisting of a large number of distributed access nodes that cooperate to meet the target quality of service. Such cell-free massive MIMO systems allow channel hardening by coherently beaming and distributing signals towards the mobile terminals.

However, there are several challenges that need to be addressed and require a multi-dimensional co-optimization before such distributed systems become practical and reliable, for instance with respect to fronthauling, functional split between centralized and distributed processing, distributed synchronization, end-to-end system architecture targeted to low-cost deployment, to name a few.

The goal of this PhD is to provide to design, prototype, validate and optimize a limited-scale (up to 20 distributed nodes) proof-of-concept of a cell-free massive MIMO radio access system in the field that can be efficiently scaled-up for higher performance. Leveraging the recent advances within imec on FPGA SDR openwifi reference design (https://github.com/open-sdr/openwifi), a Linux mac80211 compatible full-stack IEEE802.11/Wi-Fi design, the PhD student will have the opportunity to extend the platform to build a holistic distributed MIMO system capable to offer extremely reliable coverage in a real-life deployments with focus on indoor professional environments.

Because of the multidisciplinary nature of this PhD research, the PhD candidate will be part of a large IMEC team working on the research, implementation and prototyping of future communications systems: experts in digital, analog and mm-wave ASIC design, wireless/radar communications systems, PHY processing, MAC and higher layers, machine learning and optimization. This is a unique opportunity to design, build and validate breakthrough technology for future 6G wireless communication systems.

The PhD candidate is expected to have a keen interest in wireless communication principles and protocols, and PHY and MAC layers in particular, and should have basic knowledge of MIMO signal processing and wired fronthauling systems such as 10GbE. Additional knowledge on system level architecture, analog frontend, and antennas arrays is an advantage. Having hands-on experience in writing software and prototyping and having knowledge of C, C++ and Linux is a must. Already having experience with verilog/VHDL implementation, which is an essential skill for this position, is an advantage.

Required background: signal processing, embedded hardware and software

Type of work: 10% literature, 30% modeling, 60% implementation/experimentation

Supervisor: Ingrid Moerman

Co-supervisor: Guy Torfs

Daily advisor: Xianjun Jiao, Mamoun Guenach

The reference code for this position is 2023-079. Mention this reference code on your application form.

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