Researcher aims to increase rural 5G accessibility, strengthen wireless network security, and help shape 6G

    LAW – Take a close look at any mobile carrier’s map of nationwide 5G coverage and you’ll notice a lot of countries – rural areas – don’t have 5G service.

    A new, 3-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation will support a University of Kansas researcher’s work to improve the design of 5G computing and connectivity for rural areas – communities. communities have special network needs based on community living and working models and agriculture.

    It is one of a trio of new NSF-funded projects led by Taejoon Kim, assistant professor of electrical engineering & computer science and researcher at the Institute of Information Science (I2S) at KU.

    Taejoon Kim, University of KansasKim said: “The 5G network is developed by companies with a profit motive. “Because of this economic incentive, all of these 5G networks have been rolled out in urban areas, but people living in rural areas still need to pay subscriptions for their mobile phones, including 5G services. But they don’t benefit as much as those in urban areas – from the spread of information, the faster speeds, the ability to transmit large amounts of data really take our lives to another level.

    “How can a company solve a problem in a way that allows them to generate more revenue?”

    The KU researcher said a major barrier to deploying 5G to rural communities is the “heterogeneity” in the spatial distribution of people as well as the demand for data on the network over time.

    “In a city, the population is distributed in an almost uniform way, but in rural areas, you have a cluster of populations there, a different population — that’s inequality in terms of population,” says Kim. space,” said Kim.

    Then there is the need of agriculture. Automated machines, like GPS-controlled assemblies, are performing high-level computations and require a lot of communication.

    “A huge amount of data has to go to cell towers and then to the core network,” says Kim.

    “They will also want to collect all that data for statistics,” he said. “But this heavy use of data only happens during harvest time. It’s time heterogeneity.”

    Kim and his team – KU EECS assistant professor Morteza Hashemi and collaborators from Purdue University – plan to streamline rural computing and connectivity design, in partnership with commercial firm Blue Danube based in California to run tests on a giant multi-output multi-output (MIMO) platform – an advanced antenna technology for wireless communications. Kim and his colleagues will use machine learning to understand how 5G can be better deployed to meet rural temporal and spatial needs.

    “What is the approach to key technology or hardware or software that will be different in rural areas compared to urban areas?” Kim said. “Artificial intelligence can learn this complex and heterogeneous behavior.”

    The team will explore the use of AI to learn homogenous and heterogeneous behaviors and will look for approaches tailored to rural areas. One idea, Kim said, is to centralize 5G signals like a beam at specific communities and agricultural activities rather than providing coverage across large, mostly non-residential areas. to get service to one or two towns.

    “Because it’s not uniform, it’s more efficient if we focus the energy in a specific direction,” Kim said.

    In addition to recreating 5G accessibility in rural areas, two additional NSF awards for Kim will enable him to enhance commercial 5G networks for the US government, military and infrastructure operators. Use and technology development for sixth generation (6G) wireless technology.

    Kim is principal investigator for a year-long $750,000 phase one award from NSF’s Convergence Accelerator to assist the Department of Defense in improving end devices and enhancing infrastructure. 5G layer, providing the ability for U.S. military, government, and infrastructure operators to operate through the public 5G network while meeting security and resiliency needs.

    “The main motivation for this project was the pursuit of ‘Zero Trust’ principles (an approach to information technology design that requires all devices on a network to be verified) to combat vulnerabilities. in the design of the 5G network, so we will integrate different security solutions to increase the reliability of 5G,” Kim said.

    The third NSF grant in three years and $285,000 will support Kim’s work, helping to define requirements for 6G wireless communications, using artificial intelligence to design wireless network architectures. Advanced wire for microwave spectrum.

    Kim said 5G can deliver orders of magnitude improvement in speed, connectivity and reduced latency. However, this improvement did not come from work in millimeter waves, a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that has had limited research success in the United States. .

    Instead of using today’s radio access network architecture, which relies heavily on cell phone towers, Kim will explore how to efficiently use large-scale multiple-output multiple-output (CFmMIMO) networks. free.

    “We are still looking at using a neighborhood of about 5 gigahertz – still microwaves, but using a different architectural grid,” says Kim.

    The current cell phone network is based on all cell phone towers designed to serve users in that cell network.

    “There’s a new concept of ‘non-mobile MIMO’ that involves eliminating all cell boundaries, but we will have a very powerful central unit controlling a large number of cells,” says Kim. distributed base station as an access point”.

    He said the work will also include cybersecurity aspects, resiliency enhancement of AI algorithms and architectures, as well as cloud radio access networks.

    Image: The University of Kansas researcher’s work will improve 5G computing and connectivity design for rural areas and communities with special network needs based on community living and working patterns. and agriculture. Credit:

    Image: Taejoon Kim is principal investigator for a year-long $750,000 phase one award from NSF’s Convergence Accelerator to assist the Department of Defense in improving terminals and facility enhancements. 5G infrastructure, providing the ability for infrastructure operators, the U.S. government, and the U.S. military to operate through the public 5G network while meeting security and resiliency needs.

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