Project: Low-consumption customized WiFi-standard components to guarantee Quality of Services in indoor/outdoor environments

The WiFi technology was originally oriented toward data applications. But the general availability of WiFi, its low prices, the convenience of not using cables, have extended the use of WiFi to “streaming” applications like voice and video and other bandwidth-intensive usages which require more stringent performance guarantees. Indeed, the standards (std), including the recent 802.11n, have focused much of their work on improving transmission speeds than on performance guarantee: by allowing voice and video services, being much more aggressive in their access to the radio medium, current WiFi solutions can generate instability (disconnections…). That means Wi-Fi must be carefully engineered to ensure a good user experience, i.e. to guarantee Quality of Services (QoS). Whereas operators aim to guarantee QoS and develop new services, the current market of the WiFi components doesn’t offer technological alternatives to achieve QoS. Indeed, the market of baseband WiFi integrated circuits (IC) is dominated by large American companies which address only huge markets with low-cost “mass market” IC. These players don’t offer custom IC implementing advanced baseband for QoS because they favor developments which will not increase the IC cost. Furthermore, the Access Points (AP) COly use basic omnidirectionnal antennas that don’t implement “smart” concepts to focus the downlink signal and to improve uplink reception to achieve QoS. _x000D_Besides QoS, the design of custom components could also achieve low-consumption vs std components._x000D__x000D_FairWiFi++ tackles the current major challenges of WiFi (QoS & Low-consumption): it is a 30 months-project which aims at developing low-consumption high-performance WiFi std (802.11n) solutions for Access Points Indoor/Outdoor to guarantee QoS, especially for bandwidth-intensive applications, while COtaining fair equity between users. The solutions are based on a common custom baseband WiFi System on Chip (SoC) and a set of innovative radio-frequency (RF) solutions and smart antennas to address the different network layouts (Indoor/Outdoor). _x000D__x000D_FairWiFi++ consortium includes:_x000D_- COMSIS, French fabless semiconductor R&D performing SME, leader and initiator of the project_x000D_- ADANT, Italian R&D performing SME specialist in reconfigurable antennas design_x000D_- The Chair for Circuit Design and Network Theory of the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) specialist of innovative analogue front-end IC for wireless and optical communications _x000D_-IMST, German R&D performing SME specialist in tailor-made solutions for wireless radio applications_x000D_- FRANCE TELECOM (FT) which is highly involved in QoS issues and collaborates with COMSIS in R&D projects on QoS._x000D__x000D_To achieve QoS, four new custom dual-band 2,4/5GHz components will be developed: _x000D__x000D_- A new baseband circuit (IC or SoC) providing upgraded WiFi quality at reduced energy consumption in a multi-users context thanks to the implementation of advanced PHY and MAC layers based on COMSIS advanced digital processing technology. The COMSIS technology is already demonstrated with a 2 FPGAs-based MIMO platform which was a European pioneer in obtaining the 802.11n certification. Notably tested by FT, this platform achieves technological superiority vs standard WiFi chipsets and allows users wirelessly accessing voice, data and streaming video throughout a home or office environment with outstanding quality. In FairWiFi++, the IC will be also designed to address indoor and outdoor networks._x000D__x000D_- A custom low profile reconfigurable antennas solution for indoor mobile AP based on ADANT technology to provide mobility, increased throughput, coverage and range by exploiting a directional high gain radiation pattern compared with basic omnidirectional antennas solutions._x000D__x000D_- An adaptive RF solution based on TUD know-how including an advanced MIMO IC exploring spatial diversity at RF, designed for lowest power consumption and maximum integration. Adapted to a flexible number of omnidirectional antennas, this RF solution will be used for indoor CO AP._x000D__x000D_- A directive antenna solution based on IMST know-how with MIMO capabilities for AP in outdoor conditions for short-distance links for applications like WiFi networking (point by point). The solution will be based on advanced RF-frontend with sectorised antennas with high gain. _x000D__x000D_Each component will be fully referenced to ensure an optimal integration and commercial exploitation. _x000D_3 proto-boards integrating the COMSIS IC and the 3 different customized RF solutions will be produced to reference and demonstrate QoS for the indoor CO AP, indoor mobile AP and outdoor AP. _x000D_In close collaboration with FT, tests simulating the usages in Home network and Outdoor will be performed the last 6 months to fully validate the 802.11n compliance and the guarantee of QoS of the 3 AP solutions developed. _x000D__x000D_Thanks to FairWiFi++ custom solutions, the Ps could address the growing market for QoS WiFi solutions and services.

Acronym FairWiFi++ (Reference Number: 6969)
Duration 31/10/2012 - 31/08/2015
Project Topic FairWiFi++ aims at developing high performances WiFi-standard solutions based on a custom WiFi SoC and innovative smart antennas and RF solutions to guarantee QoS in indoor/outdoor environments for bandwith-intensive applications (such as video streaming) while COtaining fair equity between users.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
Three prototyping products have been developed and validated during the FairWiFi++ project: two of them concerning indoor environment applications (an access point and a mobile access point) and the third one associated with the outdoor environment applications (for white spaces coverage). For all of them, COMSIS has designed an enhanced 802.11n IP complaint with the standard, its implementation on a FPGA technology and a prototyping platform (Mimokit II). In collaboration with the Ps, COMSIS has also implemented the three prototypes and has evaluated them. Regarding the indoor applications, the enhancement of WiFi is obtained by a functionality which provides quality of service (fluid multimedia diffusion). For the outdoor application, the FairWiFi++ protocol has been optimized to take into account outdoor propagation conditions.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 7

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
5 IMST GmbH Partner Germany
5 FRANCE TELECOM Partner France
5 COMSIS Coordinator France
5 ADANT Srl Partner Italy
5 Technische Universität Dresden Partner Germany