Fight for radiowaves, or why we need 5G

Fight for radiowaves, or why we need 5G
Photo: Photo by the Mayor and Moscow Government Press Service. Yevgeny Samarin
Irina Gudkova, the recipient of the Moscow Government prize for young scientists, talks about the Internet of Things (IoT), shortage of radiowaves and a 5G-lab at the People’s Friendship University of Russia.

Irina Gudkova, associate professor of the People’s Friendship University of Russia Department of Applied Computer Science and Probability Theory, recipient of the Moscow Government prize for young scientists

Imagine your fridge ordering food from a shop on its own as you turn on the washing machine with your smartphone. It is no science fiction, it is 5G. The wireless next-generation networks bring us all the joys of the Internet of things. There is just one problem: the technical wonders need the radio frequencies that are already being used for phone communications, radio and television broadcasting. Irina Gudkova, associate professor at the People’s Friendship University Department of Applied Computer Science and Probability Theory, talked to mos.ru about possible solutions. Gudkova won the Moscow Government prize for young scientists for developing a set of probability models for priority radio resource management in next-generation wireless networks.

- Why did you start analysing priority radio resource management for wireless networks?

- It is of practical use today. Fifth generation (5G) wireless networks will have been certified and deployed by 2020 bringing us higher quality communication, high speed data transfer, the IoT and other new services.  This will require more unoccupied radio frequencies, which are currently limited. One of the possible solutions lies in priority management of radio resources. There are algorithms and schemes that determine the procedure for a higher priority request. In layman’s terms, one user may want to make a call while another may need to take a photo at one and the same time, while there is only one free frequency to do both. Since making a call is more important, the photo upload transfer speed can be decreased.

My research provides an insight into the quality of customer service after the transition to 5G

- What exactly did you study and what are the practical applications of your research?

- I analysed how access management schemes affect service quality. Consumers care whether they can make a call, how fast it will take to download a file, what the quality of the video broadcast will be, and so on. I looked into random factors as well as priority management schemes, and into licensed share access. The result was a complex of probability models. I relied on the probability theory and the mathematical theory of teletraffic.

There is certainly a practical use as my research will help find optimal parameters for priority management of radio resources. My research also provides an insight into the quality of customer service after the transition to 5G. I think invention patents will be lodged in the coming years.

With the advent of the Internet of Things, material objects will be able to interact without humans

-What is the licensed shares access?

- The joint use of radio frequencies, or the Licenced Shared Access, LSA, as they call it in English, is another solution for the limited band. In this case, there are two parties with access to the frequencies, the owner, who has the priority access, and a temporary user. The owner may be a small airport that services four to six flights a day using frequencies for telemetry. The user may be a mobile operator that expands its frequency band through the shared use when there are no flights.

-Which new services will become available when the 5G networks come around?

- First of all, it is the Internet of Things, when material objects will be able to interact without humans. For example, a smartphone will be able to turn on the washing machine in accordance with a pre-set schedule. Or a fridge will be able to scan its contents and send a list of products that need to be delivered to a shop or a delivery service.

The industrial internet, a useful component of the 4.0 industry, will become available as well. We will be able to send a remotely controlled robot to a production site that is hazardous or difficult to access. We will be using a joystick to direct the robot, while seeing everything it can see in the virtual reality headset.

Unlike the existing networks, 5G will ensure a robot’s instantaneous response to the surgeon’s move

- Will we be able to use 5G for remote surgeries?

- Yes, definitely. We are talking about the tactile internet that can remotely transmit our movements and the sense of touch. A surgeon in Moscow will be able to perform a surgery in, say, Africa. To do this, he or she will put on a sensory glove that transmits every movement to the on-site robot. The information transfer speed is especially important, since even small latency can cost the patient their life. Unlike the existing networks, 5G will ensure a robot’s instantaneous response to the surgeon’s movement. We are talking about superfast networks with latencies of 1 millisecond.

- Why did you decide to study applied mathematics and computer science, which is perhaps not the career choice most young women make?

- It was my grandmother and grandfather who instilled in me a love for mathematics. They were mineral surveyors, mining engineers, and my grandfather used probability theory in his studies, while grandmother taught descriptive geometry. When I was in my 8th year at school, she suggested that I join a correspondence mathematics school at Lomonosov Moscow State University. At the mathematics school, they gave us unorthodox problems that were difficult to solve but very fascinating. When I was thinking of applying to the People’s Friendship University, I chose applied mathematics because there were interesting applied studies and projects. In my graduation paper, I used methods for calculating probabilities and Markov processes.

This autumn, People’s Friendship University of Russia will open a lab for advanced research of the IoT 5G networks

-What would you suggest school students should go for? What professions are in demand?

- There is still great demand for programmers, without a doubt. But I would suggest that you should not just follow the known algorithms but go a step further and develop your own solutions.

Besides, our field is very important for our country. For example, IT is among the priority development areas of science, technology and engineering in Russia. Technology that ensures access to broadband multimedia services is critical (meaning it safeguards Russia’s interests in the areas of national security, economic and social development - mos.ru). One of Russia’s strategic development areas is related to IT as well.

-Which research do you plan to focus on next?

- This autumn, the People’s Friendship University will open a lab for advanced research of the 5G wireless networks used in the Internet of Things. It will be headed by the person who taught me, Professor Konstantin Samuylov. They will launch a high-speed data transfer network, including the radio segment. This June, we will hold Russia’s first 5G summit on research at the university. We want to use the new lab to test the algorithms we develop. There will also be typical 5G demonstrators, for instance of the tactile internet and augmented reality.

-Why did you decide to apply for the prize?

- My chief goal was to systemise and describe what has already been done in the previous years. I was happy to win, of course.

Prize for young scientists

The Moscow Government prize for young scientists has been presented since 2013 to scientists or research teams of up to three members. In the past four years, nearly 2,000 young specialists have taken part in the contest, while the size of the award has doubled from 500,000 to one million roubles.

The number of awards grew in 2016 from 31 to 33. A total of 575 people applied that year, a 50 percent increase from 2015, and 65 of them won. The nominees are active in a variety of areas of research ranging from the production of welding units, electron accelerators and anti-cancer drugs to the study of Old Russian chronicles, financial stability and the use of intellectual potential.