The Internet has become the place to watch high-definition television and videos, play games and listen to music. As the reasons to log on become greater every year, so does the number of users and the data traffic.
It is estimated that the increase in global Internet traffic between 2015 and 2016 will be more than 330 exabytes, which is almost equal to the total amount of global Internet traffic generated in 2011, and that one in every five people owns a cell phone, which means that most people are likely accessing the Internet on their mobile devices. As a result, every year Internet service providers are experiencing a greater demand for services, which, in turn, is driving the development and introduction of new technologies.
“In wireless communications, 4G networks are being commercially deployed and research has already started to be carried out towards 5G, while in optical communications, 100 gigabit ethernet local area network systems are already here,” said Dr. Octavia Dobre, associate professor, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial.
Dr. Dobre’s research aims to find solutions to diverse problems posed by the next generation communications systems, and involves using cognitive radio (CR) technology as a viable solution to the efficient spectrum utilization in wireless communications.
“Spectrum has been considered to be a scarce resource, while it is actually underutilized,” said Dr. Dobre. “CR technology aims to support dynamic spectrum access, which would allow the spectrum utilization by secondary users, when primary/incumbent users do not transmit. However, secondary users should sense the environment and ensure transmission without generating unwanted interference to the primary users. There are several aspects that need to be resolved before the CR technology can be fully implemented in practical systems, such as spectrum awareness, resource allocation and routing.”
Dr. Dobre’s work on CR technology is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Communications Research Centre in Ottawa, Ont.
In addition to her research on CR technology, Dr. Dobre and fellow faculty member Dr. Ramachandran Venkatesan have started an ambitious Atlantic Innovation Fund project aiming to provide a technological solution to achieve transmission rates higher than 100 gigabyte per second in the optical transport networks.
The goal is to apply orthogonal frequency division multiplexing, a technique used in wireless communications, to transmit at ultra-high speeds on optical transport networks —the backbone for data transmission.
“While several technical challenges lie before us, as well as the challenge of building an optical communications laboratory for experimental verifications, we hope that we will be successful in providing a commercially viable solution,” said Dr. Dobre.