SNOB-5G could enable smart city infrastructure and vehicular communications
an interview with Susana Sargento, co-PI of the SNOB-5G project, from IT Aveiro
Susana Sargento is Full Professor in the University of Aveiro and Senior Researcher in the Instituto de Telecomunicações (IT Aveiro) where she’s the Leader of the Networks Architectures and Protocols groups. She’s also the co-Principal Investigator of the SNOB-5G project. Her main research interests are in the areas of new network architectures and protocols for the Future Internet; vehicular communications; network and resources virtualization; as well as cognitive and self-management networks.
Susana is the winner of the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2016, which celebrates the women entrepreneurs behind game-changing innovations. Additionally, she’s a co-founder of an International Startup, Veniam, an intelligent networking platform for connected cars and autonomous vehicles (www.veniam.com).
ABOUT Telecommunications Institute (IT):
IT is a private non-profit associated with Public Utility whose main objective is the creation and dissemination of knowledge in the field of telecommunications. This Institute works in four major areas: Mobile Communications; Optical Communications; Networks and Multimedia Communications; Basic Sciences; and Telecommunications Support Technologies.
Q: Can you describe the role of IT-Aveiro in the SNOB-5G project?
A: 5G networks are currently a hot topic. IT Aveiro has been working on implementing communication networks connected through fiber optics in the city of Aveiro. In that project, we have 44 points with several communications technologies that are able to communicate with people and vehicles. For this, we had to make changes in the city’s infrastructure and install optical fibers, but this is not easy to be performed in a city. We want to give people internet access anywhere in the city or in remote areas in the simplest way possible—that’s when the idea for SNOB-5G came up.
With SNOB-5G, IT Aveiro is responsible for the research and development of a 5G self-organised autonomous mesh network through radio links.
We are working with mmWave-based radio units in a mesh topology that connect with each other through very high-speed radio links to allow for the very best connection at the time, with the current services. These networks are resilient and fault-tolerant, with no single point of failure. They are autonomous, self-organized, and support critical features of 5G.
Q: Which are the next steps?
A: We are focused on developing technologies to make these wireless network communications as efficient as possible. We’re working on use cases about vulnerable road users and high-bandwidth media consumption. Right now, the tests we’re running have very good results. The goal is to have Aveiro citizens using these networks by the end of the year.
Q: What are the implications of SNOB-5G for smart cities?
A: At a city level, this project will allow us to have faster networks without making big changes in the city. These network stations are connected through radio links that don’t require new city infrastructure like fiber optics. With these networks, we can communicate wirelessly. People can access the internet very quickly, and we can provide new services, all with good quality coverage. For the challenge of remote areas, SNOB-5G can provide connectivity by using wireless links (through 5G networks) with very good and long range internet connection, and without the support of fiber infrastructure.
At a city level, this project will allow us to have faster networks without making big changes in the city. This project will allow the expansion of a network with very high quality coverage, with much less investment like fiber optics.
Q: What impact do you believe this project will have in Portugal?
A: This project will allow the expansion of a network with very high quality coverage, with much less investment like fiber optics. We are developing network technologies with less human intervention. Additionally, we are integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) on softwarized networks so they can learn the best way to provide excellent performance for citizens. This means that, every time we need to make changes on networks, we don’t need to change the equipment—we just need to update the software in the network equipment’s. This is a much faster and cheaper solution.