Worldwide growth in wireless links, navigation, automation, Internet of Things (IoT), and mobile healthcare has challenged spectrum access. In parallel, we are witnessing rapid advances in augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), autonomous driving and vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V). Further, increased adaptation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) may require large swaths of bandwidth and high data rates. Indeed, the diversity of radio spectrum utilization is quickly growing. However, existing wireless networks may no longer be able to keep pace with these technologies, implying a need for new rhythms and targeted innovations. Concurrently, security protocols must be adapted to avoid eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks. Coexistence of active and passive spectrum utilization is another challenge. To address the aforementioned challenges, and to circumvent radio spectrum scarcity, this research brings forward innovations and features to significantly advance next generation wireless networks. Among them: 1) Increased throughput using robust spectrum sensing and slicing of legacy frequency bands by identifying gray and white spaces/gaps across the available electromagnetic spectrum; 2) Frequency independent and high isolation antenna feeds and RF cancellers to enable spectrum co-existence; 3) Wideband autonomous multiple-input-multiple output (MIMO) transceivers using Flex Radio architectures to maximize overall spectral efficiency; 4) Significant hardware reduction via multiplexing; and 5) Resilience against Man-in-the-Middle attacks via artificial intelligence (AI) techniques. This project will also foster workforce development in the rapidly growing area of wireless engineering. Curriculum enhancements are proposed to integrate new technologies on spectrum awareness, wireless security, and cross layer RF transceiver architectures. Further, new degrees and new curricula in wireless and IoT technologies will be leveraged to promote STEM outreach programs and coordinate outreach activities. The latter will be aimed at recruiting larger cohorts of undergraduates and K-12 students from the local Miami-Dade and Broward counties to be trained in wireless engineering. Examples of outreach programs to be leveraged include Engineers on Wheels, Engineering Expo, ENLACE (Engaging Latino Communities for Education), and the Miami PREP (Positive Youth Preparedness) programs.
The proposed research aims to develop next generation flexible and secure wireless networking with adaptive RF front ends and back-end cross-layer algorithms that enable spectrum efficiency and high throughput via novel relay architectures, all with end user protection in mind. Namely, a new class of low cost and low power secure MIMO transceivers with >100 dB transmit/receive isolation are proposed along with Flexible Radio architectures. The following innovations are proposed: 1) AI-based effective spectrum utilization and/or coexistence, 2) Innovative transmitter and receiver technologies through cross-layer design, and 3) Improved security by detecting Man-in-the-Middle attacks and other eavesdroppers. Notably, the transformative nature of the proposed research stems from the introduced novelties to overcome challenges in developing low-power and low-cost Flexible Radio architectures and RF electronics with secure data relays to provide resilience for Man-in-the-Middle attacks. To accomplish the proposed goals, a strong background is required in the following areas: RF front/back-end hardware, mathematical network modeling, propagation, optimization, control, queuing, stochastic analysis, and legacy system operation integrated through the following thrusts: 1) RF reconfigurability and spectrum aggregation to support users with decoupled PHY/MAC protocols, 2) Adaptive FlexRadio wireless networks with increased throughput and protection using high performance PHY/MAC layer algorithm, 3) RF self-interference cancellation for spectrum co-existence, and 4) AI-based models for security and privacy.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.