4th-Generation Wireless Infrastructures: Scenarios and Research Challenges
Journal article, 2001
A "fourth generation" of wireless systems. likely to appear after the successful deployment of the current third-generation systems, is frequently debated these days. This article presents some of the results of the Fourth Generation Wireless project (4GW) of the Personal Computing and Communications program (PCC), the major Swedish academic research effort on future communications systems, launched in late 1997. In the 4GW project, scenarios have been used as tools for formulating relevant research topics related to future wireless systems. By working with scenarios the project group has been able to challenge some of the assumptions commonly made in the field of wireless research. Since the project group is multidisciplinary, the work has also helped the members of the project group to understand the differences between the research traditions to which they belong. The scenarios, as well as the ensuing research into various wireless related topics, point to a vision of fourth-generation systems where "low-hierarchy" user-deployed infrastructures are the prime candidate. Fourth-generation systems will offer short- to moderate-range communications with very high data rates (> 100 Mb/s). They are likely to employ array signal processing and ad hoc operation to provide the required coverage. A key aspect of their design will be the fact that they will be deployed in environments where large-scale wireless, and wired, infrastructures are already in operation.