Wireless traffic demand is currently growing exponentially. This growing demand can only be satisfied by increasing the density of points of access and combining different wireless technologies. Mobile network operators have already started to push for denser, heterogeneous deployments; however, current technology needs to steer towards efficiency, to avoid unsustainable energy consumption and network performance implosion due to interference. While some efforts have already been devoted to evolving the technology, these efforts mostly take a restricted PHY perspective and do not consider higher-layer mechanisms, which are required to fully optimise global performance.
In this context, CROWD promotes a paradigm shift in the future Internet architecture towards global network cooperation, dynamic network functionality configuration and fine, on demand, capacity tuning. The project targets very dense heterogeneous wireless access networks and integrated wireless-wired backhaul networks. In this framework, CROWD pursues four key goals: i) bringing density-proportional capacity where it is needed, ii) optimising MAC mechanisms operating in very dense deployments by explicitly accounting for density as a resource rather than as an impediment, iii) enabling traffic- proportional energy consumption, and iv) guaranteeing mobile user’s quality of experience by designing smarter connectivity management solutions.
The key components of the CROWD architecture are illustrated in the figure.