University at Buffalo, The State University of New York University at Buffalo - The State University of New York

A Millimeter-Wave Multi-Layer WLAN Architecture for Multi-Gigabit, Always-On Connectivity

The project is developing a Millimeter-Wave multi-layer architecture for general purpose multi-Gigabit WLANs that will offer always-on connectivity in the home/enterprise environment but an order of magnitude higher throughput than today's 2.4/5 GHz WLANs. The proposed architecture is developed in a systematic, bottom-up fashion, starting with an understanding of the Millimeter-Wave channel and its impact on higher layer performance and gradually moving up the layers of the network stack. We adopt a practical approach in which measurement studies, protocol prototyping, and testbed-based evaluation play a central role. Our proposed work is divided in three tasks:

  • Task 1: 60 GHz channel measurement and modeling. This task involves the following subtasks: (i) measuring and understanding the impact of location, distance, antenna array orientation, antenna beamwidth, human blockage, and mobility on PHY layer metrics (signal strength, data rate), as well as on higher layer metrics ((TCP/UDP throughput, RTT), (ii) understanding and modeling the interaction between these metrics, and (iii) measuring and modeling the power consumption of 802.11ad transmissions/ receptions.

  • Task 2: Measurement-driven 60 GHz MAC protocol design. In this task, we will use the developed models from Task 1 to design MAC layer algorithms and protocols targeting both performance and power savings. We are interested in the following aspects of MAC design: (i) rate and beam adaptation, (ii) adaptive frame aggregation, (iii) loss diagnosis (human blockage vs. client mobility vs. interference).

  • Task 3: 60 GHz relays. Relays play a central role in our architecture. In this task, we will start with an 802.11ad-compliant relay architecture and study relay placement algorithms for improving connectivity. We will then gradually add more functionality to relays and study algorithms for extending coverage and improving wireless capacity through concurrent transmission scheduling. We will also develop an online measurement framework and design metrics for relay selection.

  • Task 4: Evaluation. We use a combination of standard-compliant COTS devices and proprietary hardware. Our standard-compliant COTS devices include dock stations, routers, and laptops equipped with Wilocity/Qualcomm WiGig/802.11ad radios and phased array antennas. The laptps are controlled by open source drivers (wil6210). Proprietary devices include a pair of HXI radios and a Pasternack/Vubiq 60 GHz development system, equipped with horn antennas of various beamwidths. With colleagues from the EE department at UB, we are in the process of developing X60, the first software defined based 60 GHz testbed that will offer high level of reconfigurability at the PHY, MAC, and network layer but will support channel widths and speeds commensurate to those of the 802.11ad standard. The X60 nodes are based on the NI mmWave Transceiver System from NI and equipped with 12-element phased antenna arrays from SiBeam that can be configured in real-time.



This project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation under a CAREER Award CNS-1553447. Owen Torres is supported by an REU supplemement to this award.