NMSU engineer works to make next-gen mobile technology a reality

LAS CRUCES – The number of wireless devices connected to mobile networks is estimated to be three times the size of the world’s population by 2020.

Smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic. Global Internet traffic in 2020 is expected to be 95 times the volume of the entire global Internet in 2005. Some 250 million vehicles will be connected to the Internet and there will be 27 billion machines communicating with each other.

But will the technology be there to make this possible?

David Mitchell, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at New Mexico State University, is working to help meet these estimated demands by Cisco Systems Inc. Mitchell’s research is funded by a new three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to develop technologies enabling the next generation of network communication known as 5G.

The success of 5G is seen by some as a catalyst technology that will profoundly change our world, just like the advent of electricity, the steam engine and the telegraph. It is also seen as a source of sustained long-term economic growth, powering the “Internet of Things” – all physical devices and applications that require network connections to enable the collection and exchange of data.

“We have reached the fundamental limits of current technology. We will need to develop new technologies to meet the demands of next-generation communication networks,” Mitchell said. “In addition to the smart phones we have today, we will have smart cars, smart homes, biological sensors used in medicine, and all kinds of machine-to-machine applications that will rely on next-generation network communication. .”

Wireless cellular communication began in the 1980s when 1G provided analog voice, followed by 2G which enabled digital voice; 3G brought mobile data and today’s 4G LTE technology provides mobile Internet. 5G promises to expand mobile networks to support a wider range of devices and services, improve coverage, and is expected to be faster, more efficient, and more reliable. 5G networks are expected to emerge in 2020.

The goal of Mitchell and his colleagues is to develop technologies that can process large amounts of data and transmit it quickly. They focus on new methods for network users to work cooperatively, enabling more efficient connections within and between existing networks.

“The breakthrough outcome would be designing schemes suitable for modern networks that can accommodate more data than ever before, and do it faster and more reliably,” Mitchell said.

Next-generation communication systems are expected to be able to handle 10,000 times more traffic than current 4G systems, with the time between transmission and reception of communication being less than a millisecond.

“Broadband speeds will double. Video traffic is expected to represent 82% of Internet activity,” Mitchell said. “While video streaming is an important aspect, maintaining reliability for all types of applications is essential. For example, healthcare monitoring requires total reliability and must be immediately accessible.”

Not only will Mitchell’s research have a technological impact, but it will engage the next generation of researchers who will base their graduate studies on this project, which will encompass a number of areas including circuitry, signal processing and communications.

Mitchell and his colleagues are part of a huge effort led by academia, government and industry to ensure the expected demands of 5G cellular systems and beyond will be met.

“There are a lot of different types of devices that will require this technology,” Mitchell said, adding, “There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed for this to work.”

“Eye on Research” is provided by New Mexico State University. This week’s article was written by Linda Frescoes from the College of Engineering. Linda Fresques can be reached at [email protected]

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