Due to the enormous progress in this field over the last 20 years wireless multimedia is now a reality. Smart phones and tablet computers have become part of the every-day life. However, this development has not ended yet. Wireless communication offers an enormous potential to tackle the challenges of the future society:
The demand for high data rate communication in urban scenarios will further increase. Transition of our society to a dense urban information society, where new applications like virtual and augmented reality are ubiquitous, will increase the access to information enormously.
Growing cities demand smart solutions for an intelligent management of traffic and energy supply requiring a suitable infrastructure which will heavily depend on wireless communication. Cooperative wireless V2X systems can predict traffic jams and improve the safety of drivers and enable an autonomous driving or assisted driving with reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
A high-tech industry, especially in Germany, demands smart production methods and factories. Already today an increasing number of products are produced on-demand and decisions inside factories are made in real-time. Machines can now be controlled by wireless closed loop control. These trends will continue in the near future. Therefore, machines inside factories require real time and reliable wireless communication.
With wireless communication technology we can also tackle environmental problems. Ultra dense wireless sensor networks are able to collect a large amount of environmental data. Furthermore, with these technologies, a more efficient exploitation of resources is possible. Finally, wireless sensor devices can also help to solve health problems of an aging society by wireless body sensors or wireless components in ambient assisted living. Regarding all these challenges, in future wireless systems, three main fields of requirements can be identified.
The first field is driven by further progress in human-to-machine communication and leads to very high data rates in very dense networks with many users. The second filed is driven by a dense machine-to-machine communication in different scenarios. Here very low latency, very low energy costs and a massive number of devices have to be supported. In the next 20 years, the total number of connected devices will increase to more than 50 billion connected devices. This will be an enormous challenge for the wireless communication industry. The third area is driven by high mobility, which is still a big challenge in wireless communication.
The requirements on future wireless networks are, therefore, very heterogeneous. A single standardized solution cannot solve these problems. With the interdisciplinary UMIC research cluster, the RWTH Aachen has the perfect qualification to tackle the main research questions for future wireless communication systems:
- How can we keep latency constraints in, e.g., wireless closed loop control?
- How can we guarantee robustness and reliability, also at high velocities?
- How can we improve the safety in wireless networks?
- How can we further reduce the energy consumption, especially in sensor networks?
- How can we tackle the challenges of very dense networks?