Focus Area

Massively connected society

Focus Area leaders: Simon Rommel & Alex Alvarado

Image credit: PhD Thesis A. Morales Vicente, 2020

Ultra-high-bandwidth networks will need to merge with low-latency and mission-critical networks, forming a seamless larger-scale heterogeneous network

Communication networks are very diverse. Physically, they can consist of wired links, such as optical fiber or copper lines, or wireless links, such as radio, free-space-optical or satellite, or a combination thereof. They need to address various requirements supporting heterogenous traffic, ranging from massive bandwidth for the internet backbone and beyond-5G, to extremely low-latency or time-sensitive communication between edge computing and sensors, and mission-critical, robust networking, such as required for automotive and other real-time applications. All these networks need to interact seamlessly and secure with each other, and will need to be flexible and programmable. Such heterogeneous networks will enable our future, energy-efficient, and smart connected society.

To realize such heterogeneity and realize energy-efficient networks, we will work on the convergence of wireless and wired networks, at high bandwidths, and aim for programmable components and networks. For example, this will allow us to efficiently converge datacom and telecom in agile networks. We will furthermore work on time-sensitive networking, to enable all the required tasks. This requires timing distribution and synchronization at low jitter, and a challenge is to find the trade-off between accurate timing and the scale of the network. 

This research has a strong foundation in our research on optical components, such as indium phosphide based photonic integration, and interconnects and networks, both using wired and wireless transmission, using, for example, fiber-optic, optical wireless, and microwave photonic links. This includes our signal processing expertise, and is further complemented by strengths in information theory.