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We at NWSL conduct research studies on the cutting-edge networking technologies supported by our very kind funding agencies such as National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST), Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), NASA, AT&T, and many more. NWSLians study both theoretical and experimental aspects of networked systems. NWSL always supports and hosts inter-disciplinary research activities. Our ongoing collaborations with experts from economics, management, math, policy making, and physics is an example. Following are some of the key projects, we are currently involved in:

  • 3D RF/FSO Mesh Networking with Challenged Infrastructure: As Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are becoming part of civilian life, there is a significant opportunity in their effective utilization for improving the general wireless experience of people and provisioning better wireless access. With no cellular infrastructure support, at low altitudes, managing dense deployment of devices on the ground over the scarce radio spectrum is not trivial. UAV-based coverage and aid of device-to-device (D2D) communications on the ground has the potential to be marketed and deployed across the nation for first responder teams operating under challenged infrastructure during disaster response and mitigation, and other commercial applications. UAVs can enable better altitude reuse by forming a 3D mesh network if they can utilize both radio frequency (RF) and free-space optical (FSO) communication and offer super-linear increases in the usage efficiency of the scarce wireless spectrum. To realize such hybrid RF/FSO 3D mesh networking and wireless access provisioning under challenged infrastructure, this project investigates UAV-guided D2D communications, employing UAVs equipped with mechanically and electronically steered directional FSO communication modules for spatial reuse, and designing 3D mesh network protocols of RF/FSO communication links for smart altitude reuse. This project is supported by NSF award 2115215.
  • DSDR: Directional Software-Defined Radio: The increasing density of IoT devices in civilian life imposes more stringent efficiency requirements on the use of radio frequencies, also called spectrum. The wireless community has made excellent spectrum efficiency innovations by solving interference challenges of omni-directional radios that propagate in every direction. It is questionable if these innovations alone will suffice as cost-effective and secure solutions for future wireless needs. As a promising solution, by transmitting in certain directions, directional radios offer high-speed wireless access, as well as wireless transmissions with lower energy consumption and probability of being intercepted by intruders. However, radio directionality has disadvantages in terms of tolerance to mobility and antenna size; and requires transmitter and receiver to be facing each other, a.k.a. line-of-sight (LOS) alignment, and larger antenna size. This project adapts Software-Defined Radio (SDR), i.e., radio components implemented in software that enable dynamic programmability, to handle the challenges in mobility and LOS alignment of directional transceivers, and to attain practical antenna sizes. The project takes the first steps in making directionality of transceivers a programmable element of SDR platforms. Broader impacts include technical contributions to the 5G-and-beyond vision, the radio infrastructure needed for future smart cities and connected communities, and further proliferation of wireless technology into civilian life. This project is supported by NSF award 2006683.
  • Stable and Efficient Peering Through Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) (w/ RPI): Towards fostering stable and economically beneficial inter-ISP peering relationships, this project will investigate the following important questions. Firstly, it will explore how the IXP services for traffic exchange should be shared (in the non-profit model) or be priced (in the for-profit model) so that economic efficiency is attained at equilibrium. Secondly, it will investigate the potential benefits of paid peering at an IXP, when there is significant asymmetry between the traffic flows. Finally, it will explore how IXP providers (which typically operate at different co-location centers) can facilitate formation of groups between ISPs at different co-location centers to maximize overall efficiency of traffic flows across an entire geographical region. This project is expected to enhance the understanding on how IXPs should operate in the near future to cope with the increased rate and asymmetry in traffic exchanges, and streamline the peering process and make it value-driven. It aims to improve traffic flows in the Internet, and bring the content closer to users, resulting in higher traffic rates, lower costs, and lower delays in content delivery to end users.

Some of the earlier projects include the followings:

  • Modeling and Development of Resilient Communication for First Responders in Disaster Management (with UC Riverside, UIC, and Rutgers)
  • US Ignite: Rapid and Resilient Critical Data Sourcing for Public Safety and Emergency Response (with VCU): This project enhances the current systems by integrating a cloud-based rapid processing of collected data and augmenting the system by device-to-device (D2D) communications and network slicing. The project's integrated research and education plan investigates (i) large-scale critical data collection via a mobile app and management process to be used in the investigation of an emergency incident, (ii) near-real-time processing of the gathered heterogeneous data in a cloud computing environment for critical information extraction such as faces of people in the videos and photos, (iii) adoption of D2D-based communication as a complementary component to improve system resilience in case of congestion's and failures in network infrastructure, and (iv) utilization of Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) network slices as dedicated bandwidth for time-sensitive communication in emergency response as well as to enhance wide area resilience of the system. The project paves the way towards emergency preparedness which is a national priority and supports progress toward smart and connected communities. The anticipated enhancements expedite the response to emergency cases, save people's lives and reduce public safety operation costs.
  • Multi-Element Illuminication for Mobile Free-Space-Optical Networks (with FIU, NCSU): This project is developing a framework to design, optimize and test illumination-communication technologies considering needs and requirements for both functionalities. To attain mobile illuminication with high spatial reuse and throughput, and uniformly high illuminance; the project designs (i) multi-element illuminication modules which uses spherical structures for spatial reuse and uniform illumination, (ii) adaptive intensity control for energy saving and chromaticity control over red-green-blue LEDs, (iii) transceivers with varying field-of-view and divergence angle, (iv) automatic realignment protocols using electronic steering and focusing for mobility, (v) cognitive algorithms for transceiver selection, and (vi) optical wireless localization with high accuracy. This project is supported by National Science Foundation awards CNS-1422354 and CNS-1422062.
  • Pervasive Spectrum Sharing for Public Safety Communications (with NCSU and VTech): The overarching scientific merit of this research is to initiate the much-needed leap towards a more open, highly participatory, and pervasive sharing of the wireless spectrum for PSC. This project offers an array of spectrum sharing innovations: 1) new economic approaches and PSC mechanisms that provide incentives for government agencies, providers, and end-users, to effectively subsidize the scarce radio spectrum and facilitate novel public safety and spectrum allocation policies; 2) a foundational framework that tightly integrates tools from game theory and auction theory for enabling a dynamic operation of co-existing spectrum sharing markets with multi-hop capabilities; 3) novel realistic models for characterizing wireless channels, traffic, topology, user behavior, and mobility in PSC; and 4) effective and accelerated transition of theoretical results to practice via a new PSC testbed for extensive validation and close collaboration with several major industry partners and local public safety agencies. In a nutshell, the project provides a new generation of PSC systems and protocols that expedite the response to disasters, save lives, and reduce economic costs.
  • OMEGA: Online Management, Experimentation, and GAme of Large-Scale Networks: The project develops tools for automated management of a running network by framing heuristic optimization, empirical learning, experimental design, and network management with a “game” interface. The project will develop an online management and experimentation system for large-scale networks in a game-like environment for trainee administrators to play with and explore what-if scenarios, without having to risk the network operation. The project will also develop algorithms for empirical characterization of network dynamics, and tools for quick and close-to-optimal configuration of numerous network parameters in response to failures or customer traffic trends. Such a framework will automate the process of configuring a large-scale network, and thus reduce the dependency of ISPs to human network operators.The project integrates behavioral scientific concepts into the practice of operational network management. The automated management using online optimization may establish a foundation for managing multi-owner systems, e.g., power grid, transportation, and water infrastructure networks. The project’s heuristic optimization and experiment design methods, as well as the game-based approach to operator training, are applicable to training in safety and mission critical industries where mistakes of ill-trained administrators are intolerable, e.g., airline pilot and nuclear reactor administrator training.
  • FSO-MANETs: Free-Space-Optical Mobile Ad-hoc Networks (with RPI)
  • Contract-Switching: Value Flows and Risk Management Architecture for Future Internet (with RPI)
  • PIM Reconfiguration in Backbone Video Networks (with AT&T Labs)
  • Value of Class-of-Service (CoS) Support in the Internet Backbone (with AT&T Labs)
  • DTONs: Towards Disconnection Tolerant, Opportunistic Internet (with RPI)