Congratulations to Mohamed Alzenad, Muhammad Zeeshan Shakir, and Professor Halim Yanikomeroglu for receiving the prestigious IEEE Communications Society Fred W. Ellersick Prize for their 2018 IEEE Communications Magazine paper entitled, “FSO-based vertical backhaul/fronthaul framework for 5G+ wireless networks”. Mohamed Alzenad was a PhD student in Department who also won the Senate Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement (Doctoral). Muhammad Zeeshan Shakir was a PDF in the Department who is now an Associate Professor in the University of the West of Scotland, UK.

The prize is announced here.

Paper Abstract:
The presence of a super high rate, but also cost-efficient, easy-to-deploy, and scalable, backhaul/fronthaul framework, is essential in the upcoming 5G wireless networks and beyond. Motivated by the mounting interest in unmanned flying platforms of various types, including UAVs, drones, balloons, and HAPs/MAPs/LAPs, which we refer to as networked flying platforms (NFPs), for providing communications services, and by the recent advances in free space optics (FSO), this article investigates the feasibility of a novel vertical backhaul/fronthaul framework where the NFPs transport the backhaul/fronthaul traffic between the access and core networks via point-to- point FSO links. The performance of the proposed innovative approach is investigated under different weather conditions and a broad range of system parameters. Simulation results demonstrate that the FSO-based vertical backhaul/fronthaul framework can offer data rates higher than the baseline alternatives, and thus can be considered a promising solution to the emerging backhaul/fronthaul requirements of the 5G+ wireless networks, particularly in the presence of ultra-dense heterogeneous small cells. This article also presents the challenges that accompany such a novel framework and provides some key ideas toward overcoming these challenges.