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Research at BBCR Group

The Broadband Communications Research (BBCR) Group is a part of Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Waterloo, and it is closely affiliated with the Centre for Wireless Communications (CWC). We in BBCR strive for research excellence in the following emerging communication areas:

VANET Communications

Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks (VANET) have been envisioned to play an important role in the future wireless communication service market for safety communications as well as for information and entertainment applications. Examples of safety-oriented applications for VANET are the notifications of emergency situations, such as car accidents or bad weather conditions. Applications in VANET can be deployed by using vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications (e.g., the downloading of music and video files), or vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, such as in distributed games played among passengers in neighboring vehicles. Our current research topics in VANET include: MAC protocols and cross-layer design, resource management, clustering and routing overhead in VANET, IP mobility and IPv6 deployment in VANET, capacity and mobility connectivity, mobility models for vehicular networks, data dissemination.

Current Researchers: Nizar H. Alsharif, Sailesh Bharati, Hassan Omar, Ning Zhang, Haibo Zhou, Wenchao Xu, Weisen Shi, Haixia Peng

Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks (VANETs)

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Software Defined Network

Future wireless networks are expected to accommodate a wide range of services/use cases with diverse quality-of-service (QoS) requirements, such as machine-to-machine communication, Internet of Things, vehicular communications, and smart grid. In addition, future wireless networks exhibit great heterogeneity in network entities and resources. Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Netowrk Virtulization (NV) have great potential to support diverse service/use cases by efficiently utilizing heterogeneous network resources in a flexible and agile manner. As an emerging and open paradigm, SDN simplifies network evolution, enables dynamic network management, and supports network programmability. Moreover, facilitated by SDN, network virtualization/network slicing slices common physical infrastructure to create multiple virtual networks. VNs can be customized for different services/use cases to meet specific needs. This research group aims to pave the road towards software defined virtual networks, by investigating the following key issues for SDN and NV: SDN based network architecture design, SDN implementation and prototype, resource management, VN customization, network embedding, protocol customization, and security.

Current Researchers: Ning Zhang, Shan Zhang, Katsuya Suto, Peng Yang, Omar Alhussein, Jiacheng Chen, Weisen Shi, Junling Li, Yu Wagn, Kaige Qu, Wenchao Xu, A-Long Jin, Danyang Wang

Software Defined Network (SDN)

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Smart Grid

Most of the world's existing electricity grids were decades-old. Although they have significantly changed human life, their monitoring and control facilities gradually become out-of-date which may cause low energy efficiency/reliability in a world with ever-growing electricity demands. On the other hand, the information and communication technology has been significantly developed over the last few decades. By marrying the existing power grids with the state-of-art information and communication technology, smart grids can achieve electricity delivery in a more efficient, reliable, economic, and secure way. The smart grid can also facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources, which is critical to secure the global economy towards gradually depleting fossil fuels, increasing energy costs, and worsening environmental conditions. The purpose of the smart grid research group is to promote and encourage smart grid research and innovations. Our current research interests include: smart microgrids, electric vehicle integration, demand response, and security and privacy preserving in smart grid.

Current Researchers: Fadi H. Elghitani, Yujie Tang, Sailesh Bharati, Farid Farmani, Qinghua Shen, Ning Zhang, Qiang Ye, Nan Chen, Jianbing Ni, Kuan Zhang, Mehdi Parvizi Mosaed,

Homepage of Smart Grid Research Group

Bibliography on Secure Smart Grid Communications

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E-Healthcare Systems

Future healthcare systems are anticipated to offer high quality services to patients with low costs through a variety of applications enabled by wireless and information technologies. This is because these wireless-equipped healthcare systems can remotely and continuously monitor the patients' health status in both residential settings and outdoor settings, where patients feel more comfortable and their activities are less restricted. Early detection of patients' emergency situations via wireless communications makes it possible to provide timely first-aid and access to patients' health information in a pervasive manner, thereby improving both system reliability and efficiency. Although huge potential benefits are widely recognized, the application of wireless communication technologies in healthcare systems brings more challenging issues including energy-efficiency, Quality-of-Services (QoS), definition of healthcare policy, design of healthcare architectures, emergency detection and response, security and privacy, and legal issues.

Current Researchers: Qinghua Shen, Kuan Zhang, Jianbing Ni, Xiaoming Yuan

Bibliography on Secure E-Healthcare System

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Cooperative Networks

Cooperation is the process of working or acting together, opposite to working separately in competition. Such a concept has been adopted recently from social sciences and economics to constitute a major research area in wireless communication networks. The idea of employing cooperation in wireless networks has emerged in response to the limited radio resources, which pose challenges in the development of wireless communication networks and services. The concept of cooperation has been studied in different wireless networks such as heterogeneous wireless access network, cognitive radio networks, vehicular ad-hoc networks, and cellular networks. In the BBCR group, we aim to exploit the potential benefits of cooperation and address its challenging issues. Some of the topics addressed by the BBCR group are:  cooperation in heterogeneous wireless access medium, cooperation in cognitive radio networks, cooperation in cellular networks, MAC protocols design for cooperative networks, coding for cooperative networks, and security issues in cooperative networks.

Current Researchers: Ning Zhang, Sailesh Bhartai, Qinghua Shen, Yujie Tang

Homepage of Cooperative Networking Research Group

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Security and Privacy

Mobile wireless technology is experiencing rapid growth. However, one of the major challenges for deployment of this technology with its special characteristics is the security and privacy issues related to users. Typical issues could be how to achieve data confidentiality, integrity, authenticity, non-repudiation, anonymity. The current solutions are the use of cryptographic primitives (such as encryption, signature, and key agreement) or the use of anonymity techniques (such as multiple pseudonyms). However, security and privacy issues considered in a specific network cannot be well solved by directly adopting those techniques. The solutions must take into account the typical characteristics of the network. For example, vehicle users are often with highly and distinct mobility model, where any two users cannot maintain a long-term link. The behaviours of mobile social users are affected by their social relationships. For example, users prefer to help their social friends rather than strangers. Our current research interests are to design secure and privacy-preserving protocols for VANETs, DTNs, e-Healthcare systems, Smart Grid, Cloud Computing, and Mobile Social Networks.

Current Researchers: Kuan Zhang, Jianbing Ni, Ning Zhang, Dajiang Chen, Xiaojie Fang, Yuanyuan He, Wenjuan Tang, Huici Wu, Dongxiao Liu, Cheng Huang, Mohammed Alhasani

Homepage of Security and Privacy Research Group

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Green Networks

The increasing usage of conventional energy sources such as oil and coal poses a wide variety of environmental issues, including climate changes, air pollution, and acid rain. At the same time, the prices of conventional energy sources are soaring while the world’s energy consumption is ever increasing. In order to provide sufficient, environment-friendly, and low cost energy to sustain economic growth and raise living standards across the world, innovation and development of alternative energy sources are required. Green energy, which refers to the eco-friendly renewable energy replenished from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, and geothermal heat, is expected to be a promising alternative to conventional energy sources. We focus on how to optimize the objective function, such as energy efficiency, minimizing cost, maximize throughput, by energy-aware resource management schemes in sustainable power supply wireless networks. Our current research topics include: AP placement, relay node placement, sustainable power model design, and energy-aware routing algorithms design in sustainable wireless networks.

Current Researchers: Shan Zhang, Ning Zhang


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Sensor Networks

Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are collections of micro-sized sensors that are powered by low-energy batteries and equipped with micro-processors, small memory and radio transceivers. Sensors may measure distance, direction, speed, humidity, wind speed, soil makeup, temperature, chemicals, light, vibrations, motion, seismic data, acoustic data, strain, torque, load, pressure, and so on. They are usually deployed at random in unknown or hazardous environments for object monitoring and target tracking. Recently, WSNs have emerged as a promising solution to a wide range of applications from data collection to distributed control in both military and civilian fields. They are expected to establish a ubiquitous computing environment that will pervade society and thus redefine the way in which we live and work. Our current research interests are: coverage, topology control, location service, routing, localization, mobility management, QoS provisioning and security.

Current Researchers: Wenjuan Tang


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Cognitive Radio

Cognitive radio networks (CRN) have attracted an increasing interest in recent years due to the growing user demands for wireless bandwidth. Advanced signal processing techniques that can quickly respond to the varying channel conditions in both time and frequency domains stimulate CRN applications in more rigid atmospheres, from currently TV band applications to other bands spanning over a wider spectrum in a more dynamic environment.Recent studies have shown that the main bottleneck to further improve the CRN performance lies in the intermittent topology formed by secondary links.To fully utilize the detected spectrum opportunity, the channel with a holding time window remaining idle, the study focuses on the physical layer and media access control (MAC) layer sensing issues, intelligent control and user coordination for efficient resource utilization, and routing schemes in a highly dynamic network environment.

Current Researchers: Ning Zhang, Yujie Tang


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