Communication Technologies Division

Broadly speaking, the aim of the Communications Technologies Division (CTD) research is to address the most endeavoring challenges that 5G and future communications technologies will face: those of energy and bandwidth efficiency. The focus of CTD research is on component (subsystem) level and also on PHY and MAC layers. CTD research has a strong experimental emphasis, achieved through the use of demonstrators and the two CTD testbeds:

 

  • GEDOMIS®: Testbed to develop and validate the PHY-layer of modern wireless communication systems covering the prototyping and verification requirements of advanced solutions.
  • IoTWorld®: End-to-End testbed for the Internet of Things, whose main focus is on wireless communications systems and data analytics.

CTD has four departments:

 

The scope of PHYCOM is the development and experimental testing of computationally intensive DSP algorithms and systems applying high speed digital design techniques, hardware-software co-design practices and cross-layer programming/design solutions. On top of that, PHYCOM encompasses mixed signal techniques applied to Power Amplifiers and design of RF transceivers. Members of the department have also proven expertise in embedded computing and hardware-accelerated processing (FPGA-based) applied to different applications. PHYCOM encapsulates all levels of PHY-layer prototyping:


•    Research on DSP algorithms
•    Conception of system architecture
•    High-level system modelling in Matlab
•    Real-time FPGA design and implementation
•    On-board code integration and interfacing
•    RF/analogue transceiver development
•    System-level testing and validation in close to real-life conditions

The M2M Department is focused on both theoretical and experimental research in the field of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communications for the Internet of Things (IoT). The automated communication between autonomous devices will facilitate unprecedented new applications that will create a revolution in our daily life and in the efficiency and operation of industrial processes. However, many challenges need to be solved in the technical domain before true M2M revolution occurs.
This department conducts research at the lower layers of the protocol stack to facilitate M2M applications with particular focus on Radio Resource Management, Scheduling and Medium Access Control for M2M communications.
The experimental research activities conducted within the M2M Department lie on the capabilities of the IoTWorld Testbed of CTTC. The maintenance and continuous update and evolution of this testbed for the IoT constitute a joint research activity in collaboration with the SMARTECH Department of CTD.

Research activities, both fundamental and experimental, at the SMARTECH Department focus on emerging 5G technologies, including Internet of Things (IoT), wireless powered networks and dense multi-tenant heterogeneous networks. In particular, SMARTECH aims to provide advanced solutions based on mmWave radio access and full-duplex communication, interference and energy harvesting modelling, device-to-device communication protocols, cognitive-aware radio resource management schemes, algorithms for wireless network virtualization in shared environments, network management protocols, network economics and power demand algorithms in order to improve the energy efficiency of the wireless technologies.
Experimental activities include the development, jointly with the M2M Department, of the IoTWorld Testbed, a flexible platform with sensors and actuators for smart environments and a flexible tool for implementing MAC protocols. Key applications focus on Smart Grid, Smart Cities, Video Surveillance and m-Health.

The research activities within the Department of Microwave Systems and Nanotechnology focus on emerging communications and sensing technologies, with expertise covering a broad spectrum of frequencies from RF, microwave and millimeter wave, to sub-THz. The areas of applications address a number of sectors from telecommunications, automotive, space, defense, to health and biomedical, security and monitoring. The focus of our work includes energy harvesting systems and self-powered sensors, radio frequency identification (RFID) and wireless power transfer (WPT), antennas and antenna arrays, flexible electronics, smart textiles, inkjet printing and 3D printing fabrication, carbon nanotube and graphene electronics and sensors, substrate integrated waveguide technology, micromachining technology, RF-MEMS and solid state based reconfigurable microwave/millimeter-wave circuits, power amplifiers, and new electronic materials including multiferroics, superconductors and acoustic devices.

­