Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya


Phd Thesis

7 PhD thesis have been defended during 2013. The main information, together with a short abstract is offered in the following.

G. Cocco, Application of Network Coding in Satellite Broadcast and Multiple Access ChannelsG. Cocco, Application of Network Coding in Satellite Broadcast and Multiple Access Channels

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Christian Ibars, 12 February 2013.

Abstract. The relaying and broadcasting capabilities of satellite platforms enable the deployment of mobile broadcast systems over wide geographical areas, opening large market possibilities for handheld, vehicular and fixed user terminals. Satellite broadcasting capabilities, together with the availability of a return channel, give rise to the possibility of creating an interactive multimedia satellite system, supporting services such as file downloading, messaging and on-demand video streaming virtually available in any point on Earth. Geostationary satellites are particularly suited for such applications. The large radius of the satellite orbit, however, implies low signal-to-noise ratios at the receivers and introduces considerable delays in the network, that prevent the availability of channel state information at the transmitter or the use of acknowledgement-based error control systems in both the forward and the reverse link. The problem is aggravated by the large number of terminals usually served by satellite systems. The issue of packet losses in satellite networks is currently addressed through the deployment of terrestrial gap fillers and the use of physical layer interleavers with a large depth and packet-level forward error correcting codes in the forward link. As for the return channel, collision resolution methods based on proactive retransmissions are envisaged in case a random access is adopted.

In this dissertation we address several communication issues related to the forward and the reverse link of satellite networks. In particular we focus on three scenarios.

First we consider the problem of broadcast transmission in land mobile satellite networks with focus on urban areas, challenging propagation environments characterized by a high packet loss rate. More specifically, we explore the possibility of adopting a cooperative approach in heterogeneous vehicular networks. The second setup we consider is video streaming transmission, a type of traffic particularly sensible to packet losses and delay, which are endogenous in satellite networks. We consider real-time and non-real-time video streaming, and study different encoding schemes for which theoretical and numerical analysis are provided. The third scenario we consider is satellite random multiple access. We develop a collision recovery scheme based on physical layer network coding over extended Galois fields, which shows promising performance in terms of packet recovery capability.

A. Bartoli, PhD Thesis Defense: Security Protocols Suite for Machine-to-Machine SystemsA. Bartoli, PhD Thesis Defense: Security Protocols Suite for Machine-to-Machine Systems

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Mischa Dohler, 18 June 2013.

Abstract. Nowadays, the great diffusion of advanced devices, such as smart phones, has shown that there is a growing trend to rely on new technologies to generate and/or support progress; the society is clearly ready to trust on next-generation communication systems to face today’s concerns on economic and social fields. The reason for this sociological change is represented by the fact that the technologies have been open to all users, even if the latter do not necessarily have a specific knowledge in this field, and therefore the introduction of new user-friendly applications has now appeared as a business opportunity and a key factor to increase the general cohesion among all citizens.

Within the actors of this technological evolution, wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) networks are becoming of great importance. These wireless networks are made up of interconnected low-power devices that are able to provide a great variety of services with little or even no user intervention. Examples of these services can be fleet management, fire detection, utilities consumption (water and energy distribution, etc.) or patients monitoring.

However, since any arising technology goes together with its security threats, which have to be faced, further studies are necessary to secure wireless M2M technology. In this context, main threats are those related to attacks to the services availability and to the privacy of both the subscribers’ and the services providers’ data. Taking into account the often limited resources of the M2M devices at the hardware level, ensuring the availability and privacy requirements in the range of M2M applications while minimizing the waste of valuable resources is even more challenging.

Based on the above facts, this Ph. D. thesis is aimed at providing efficient security solutions for wireless M2M networks that effectively reduce energy consumption of the network while not affecting the overall security services of the system.

With this goal, we first propose a coherent taxonomy of M2M network that allows us to identify which security topics deserve special attention and which entities or specific services are particularly threatened. Second, we define an efficient, secure-data aggregation scheme that is able to increase the network lifetime by optimizing the energy consumption of the devices. Third, we propose a novel physical authenticator or frame checker that minimizes the communication costs in wireless channels and that successfully faces exhaustion attacks. Fourth, we study specific aspects of typical key management schemes to provide a novel protocol which ensures the distribution of secret keys for all the cryptographic methods used in this system. Fifth, we describe the collaboration with the WAVE2M community in order to define a proper frame format actually able to support the necessary security services, including the ones that we have already proposed; WAVE2M was funded to promote the global use of an emerging wireless communication technology for ultra-low and long-range services. And finally sixth, we provide with an accurate analysis of privacy solutions that actually fit M2M-networks services’ requirements. All the analyses along this thesis are corroborated by simulations that confirm significant improvements in terms of efficiency while supporting the necessary security requirements for M2M networks.

L. Berbakov, Collaborative Beamforming Schemes for Wireless Sensor Networks with Energy Harvesting CapabilitiesL. Berbakov, Collaborative Beamforming Schemes for Wireless Sensor Networks with Energy Harvesting Capabilities

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Carles Antón-Haro, 11 July 2013.

Abstract. In recent years, wireless sensor networks have attracted considerable attention in the research community. Their development, induced by technological advances in microelectronics, wireless networking and battery fabrication, is mainly motivated by a large number of possible applications such as environmental monitoring, industrial process control, goods tracking, healthcare applications, to name a few.

This PhD dissertation is focused on the design of collaborative beamforming schemes for wireless sensor networks with energy harvesting capabilities. First, this dissertation addresses the scenario where two sensor nodes (one of them capable of

harvesting ambient energy) collaboratively transmit a common message to a distant base station.

The insights gained by the aforementioned scenario allow us to generalize the analysis to a system with multiple energy harvesting sensors.

Finally, we consider some practical schemes for carrier synchronization, required in order to

implement collaborative beamforming in wireless sensor networks. In this context, we analyze the impact of additive noise on the beamforming gain and algorithm’s convergence properties, and, subsequently, we propose a variation that performs sidelobe control.

A.Acampora, Nonlinear Simulation and Design of Microwave Distributed Multi-Device Autonomous CircuitsA. Acampora, Nonlinear Simulation and Design of Microwave Distributed Multi-Device Autonomous Circuits

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Apostolos Georgiadis, 30 July 2013.

Abstract. The urgency of a new framework in wireless digital transmission which should allow for higher bit rate, lower latency and tighter delay constraints, led us to investigate the fundamental building blocks which, at the circuital/device level, will foster a change towards more efficient communication schemes, delivering a more satisfactory end user experience. Specifically, this work deals with the inherently analog devices, found at the core of each transceiver module and capable of providing the carrier signal; these are the oscillators. In particular, two distinct classes of oscillators are regarded central to our contribution. One class is constituted by N-push oscillators, which thanks to coupling effect of N identical core oscillators allow N-fold harmonic generation (and thus high frequency transmission). The second class is constituted by wideband tunable oscillators, whose topology derives from a feedback distributed amplifier and therefore called distributed oscillators. The introductory part of this work, deals with their operation principles in great detail. Moreover, nonlinear numerical microwave circuit simulation techniques have been thoroughly reviewed.  A triple-push oscillator topology has been initially considered. Provided a certain phase distribution is maintained among the oscillating elements, the output power of the third harmonic increases while the lower order harmonics cancel out, which represents the default operating mode.   A design strategy relying on the Harmonic Balance parametric analysis of the oscillating voltage at a selected node in the coupling network with respect to coupling phase and coupling strength is presented, to the aim of quenching undesired oscillation modes. Moreover the design of a four stage reverse mode distributed voltage controlled oscillator  (DVCO) has been described.  All the design steps have been reported, from a very idealized, purely behavioral design to a very concrete one, involving details derived from electromagnetic simulations. Harmonic Balance techniques were used to evaluate its tuning function, output power and DC current consumption, which have been completely characterized across the tuning bandwidth. Finally, a method for an optimized design with reduced variations in the output power has been presented. An alternative implementation, targeting wider tuning ranges/ higher oscillation frequencies was introduced. The measurements performed on the fabricated prototypes revealed good agreement with the simulation results, confirming the validity of the approach.

O. Font-Bach, Digital design and experimental validation of high-performance real-time OFDM systemsO. Font-Bach, Digital design and experimental validation of high-performance real-time OFDM systems

Thesis Advisors: Dr. Antonio Pascual Iserte -  Dr. Nikolaos Bartzoudis , 22 July 2013.

Abstract. To cope with the ever-growing performance requirements of wireless communications, researchers around the world have introduced sophisticated broadband physical (PHY)-layer communication schemes able to accommodate higher bandwidth, which indicatively include multiple antennas at the transmitter and receiver and are capable of delivering improved spectral efficiency by applying interference management policies. Indicatively, the merging of Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) schemes with the Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) offers a flexible signal processing substrate to implement the PHY-layer of various modern wireless communication systems. This is mainly due to the fact that this technology combination is able to provide increased channel capacity and robustness against multipath fading channels. A prominent scheme proposed to capitalize the benefits of diversity is the closed-loop MIMO communications, where the receiver is providing information to the transmitter related to the current channel conditions by means of a dedicated feedback channel. In the transmitter, the Channel State Information (CSI) is exploited to adapt at run-time the transmission and, thus, take advantage of the capacities provided by MIMO-OFDM.

The increased performance and flexible PHY-layer features of communication systems featuring MIMO-OFDM come at a cost of an increased computational load at baseband. Thus, innovating algorithmic, design and implementation solutions are required to provide the required PHY-layer schemes. Indeed, many levels of innovation are required to pass from a high-level model-based description of the system and its embedded algorithms to their digital realization.

The goal of this Ph.D. dissertation is to address a number of challenges encountered in the digital baseband design of modern and future wireless communication systems. Indeed, the core contribution of this thesis is the simplification and optimization of critical Digital Signal Processing (DSP) baseband building blocks, which are encountered in modern OFDM-based communication systems, by utilizing innovative Register Transfer Level (RTL)-design techniques. This not only allowed to meet the stringent real-time performance requirements, but also enabled the intelligent re-utilization, resource sharing or parallelization of the processing and memory resources available at the target Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) devices. Furthermore, an important aspect of the presented PHY-layer prototyping is the utilization of real-life operating conditions, hardware specifications, constraints and mobile channel propagation conditions.

M. Chochol, Characterization and Design of Coherent Optical OFDM Transmission Systems based on Hartley TransformM. Chochol, Characterization and Design of Coherent Optical OFDM Transmission Systems based on Hartley Transform

Thesis Advisors: Dr. Josep Mª Fabrega, 25 November 2013.

Abstract. Nowadays, due to huge deployment of optical transport networks, a continuous increase towards higher data rates up to 100 Gb/s and beyond is observed. Furthermore, an evolution of the current optical networks is forecasted, acquiring new functionalities, e.g. elastic spectrum assignment for the optical signals. The target for these new challenges in transmission is to find techniques ready to deal with a growth of demand for bandwidth continuously asked by network operators, for whom the standard systems do not meet the new functionalities while higher rates are being set up. A solution for covering all of those needs is to adapt techniques capable to deal with such enormous data rates, and ensuring the same high efficiency for long distances and mitigate the optical impairments accumulated along the transmission path. Additionally, these transmission techniques are expected to provide some degree of flexibility, in order to enhance the network flexibility.

A promising technology that can fully cope with those requires is the coherent optical orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (CO-OFDM). CO-OFDM provides several advantages, namely high sensitivity and spectral efficiency, simple integration and possibility to fully recover a signal in phase, amplitude and polarization. These systems are composed by digital signal processing (DSP) blocks that easily process data and can equalize and compensate the main impairments, providing high tolerance for dispersion effects. However, CO-OFDM systems are not free from drawbacks. Their high peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR) reduce their tolerance to nonlinearities. Furthermore, CO-OFDM systems are sensitive to any frequency shift and phase offset.

Hence, a constant envelope optical OFDM (CE-OFDM) is proposed for significantly reducing the PAPR and solving high sensitivity to nonlinear impairments. It consists in a phase modulated discrete multi-tone signal, which is coherently detected at the receiver side. An alternative transform, the discrete Hartley transform, is proposed to speed up calculations in the DSP and eliminate the need to have a Hermitian symmetry. The optical CE-OFDM by its unique flexibility and rate scalability turns out as a great technology applicable to different configurations, ranging from access to core networks. In case of access solutions, several cases are investigated. First, the optical CE-OFDM is applied for radio access network signals delivery by means of a wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) overlay in deployed access architecture. A decomposed radio access network is deployed over an existing standard passive optical network (PON), capable to avoid interference and cross talks with access signals between network clients. The system exhibited narrow channel spacing, while reducing losses fed into the access equipment path. Next, a full duplex 10 Gb/s bidirectional PON transmission over a single wavelength with RSOA based ONU is investigated. The key point of that system is the upstream transmission, which is achieved re-modulating the phase of a downstream intensity modulated signal after proper saturation. The reported sensitivity performances show a power budget matching the PON standards and an OSNR easy to reach on non-amplified PON. Next, a flexible metropolitan area network of up to 100km with traffic add/drop using WDM is investigated. There the narrowing effect of the optical filters is studied. Finally, an elastic upgrade of the existing Telefonica model of the Spanish national core network is proposed. For that, the transceiver architecture is proposed to be operated featuring polarization multiplexing. Respect to the existing fixed grid, the flexible approach (enabled by the CE-OFDM transceiver) results into reduced bandwidth occupancy and low OSNR requirement.

R. Vilalta, On the resource abstraction, partitioning and composition for virtual GMPLS-controlled multi-layer optical networks , December 2013, PhD DissertationR. Vilalta, On the resource abstraction, partitioning and composition for virtual GMPLS-controlled multi-layer optical networks , December 2013, PhD Dissertation

Thesis Advisors: Dr. Raül Muñoz Bartzoudis , 23 December 2013.

Abstract. Virtual optical networking supports the dynamic provisioning of dedicated networks over the same network infrastructure, which has received a lot of attention by network providers. The stringent network requirements (e.g., Quality of Service -QoS-, Service Level Agreement -SLA-, dynamicity) of the emerging high bandwidth and dynamic applications such as high-definition video streaming (e.g., telepresence, television, remote surgery, etc.), and cloud computing (e.g., real-time data backup, remote desktop, etc.) can be supported by the deployment of dynamic infrastructure services to build ad-hoc Virtual Optical Networks (VON), which is known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Future Internet should support two separate entities: infrastructure providers (who manage the physical infrastructure) and service providers (who deploy network protocols and offer end-to-end services). Thus, network service providers shall request, on a per-need basis, a dedicated and application-specific VON and have full control over it.

Optical network virtualization technologies allow the partitioning/composition of the network infrastructure (i.e., physical optical nodes and links) into independent virtual resources, adopting the same functionality as the physical resource. The composition of these virtual resources (i.e., virtual optical nodes and links) allows the deployment of multiple VONs. A VON must be composed of not only a virtual transport plane but also of a virtual control plane, with the purpose of providing the required independent and full control functionalities (i.e., automated connection provisioning and recovery (protection/restauration), traffic engineering (e.g., QoS, SLA), etc.).

This PhD Thesis focuses on optical network virtualization, with three main objectives. The first objective consists on the design, implementation and evaluation of an architecture and the necessary protocols and interfaces for the virtualization of a Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS) controlled Wavelength Switched Optical Network (WSON) and the introduction of a resource broker for dynamic virtual GMPLS-controlled WSON infrastructure services, whose task is to dynamically deploy VONs from service provider requests. The introduction of a resource broker implies the need for virtual resource management and allocation algorithms for optimal usage of the shared physical infrastructure. Also, the deployment of independent virtual GMPLS control plane on top of each VON shall be performed by the resource broker. This objective also includes the introduction of optical network virtualization for Elastic Optical Networks (EON).

The second objective is to design, implement and experimentally evaluate a system architecture for deploying virtual GMPLS-controlled Multi-Protocol Label Switching Transport Profile (MPLS-TP) networks over a shared WSON. With this purpose, this PhD Thesis also focuses on the design and development of MPLS-TP nodes which are deployed on the WSON of the ADRENALINE Testbed at CTTC premises.

Finally, the third objective is the composition of multiple virtual optical networks with heterogeneous control domains (e.g., GMPLS, OpenFlow). A multi-domain resource broker has been designed, implemented and evaluated.