European Commission funds denser mobile broadband research

The European Commission has launched a project to increase the capacity of mobile broadband infrastructure ten-fold.

The €4.7m Beyond Next-Generation Mobile Broadband (BuNGee) project is being funded under the Commission's Framework Programme 7. The consortium will include European service providers, technology equipment vendors, universities, and research organisations.

The project's objective will be to increase the overall capacity density, or ability of a network to deliver an aggregate bandwidth within a fixed area, to 1Gbit/s per square kilometre. It  will develop new ways of deploying networks that are especially suited to dense urban environments where demand for wireless broadband access is highest.

The project has already defined some key milestones. These include the joint design of access and backhaul over licensed and unlicensed spectrum; unconventional below-rooftop backbone solutions exploiting natural radio isolation; beyond next-generation networked and distributed MIMO and interference techniques; autonomous architectures capitalising on aggressive spatial and spectral reuse; and the development of a protocol suite enabling autonomous ultra-high capacity deployment.

Project members include Alvarion, the WiMAX company; Centre Tecnologic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (Spain); Cobham Antenna Systems, Microwave Antennas (UK); University of York (UK); Thales Communications (France); Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium); Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa (Poland); Siklu Communication Ltd (Israel); and ARTTIC (Belgium).

The project plans a live trial in Barcelona to test BuNGee’s architecture for mobile networks. The idea is to use access base stations set below rooftop level, for example on utility poles, with wireless backhaul. The consortium expects that this approach will cut  capital and operating costs relative to traditional mobile deployment methods.

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