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Next Generation Emergency Networks

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $166,500)

In emergency situations like fires and mass shootings within buildings, it is crucial to communicate effectively with first responders and those at risk. Providing precise location information and audiovisual cues is necessary to develop responsive strategies and ensure everyone's safety. The Federal Communication Comission (FCC) is seeking innovative solutions to the z-axis localization problem, which requires higher precision for positioning along a building's height due to the difficulty in quickly moving between floors. With advancements in cellular networks, 3GPP, responsible for cellular standards, also recognizes the importance of localization and is seeking innovative solutions to overcome challenges. One significant challenge for emergency networks targeting incidents within buildings is the harsh wireless signal propagation environment, known as the Outdoor-to-Indoor (O2I) scenario. Understanding and characterizing this environment, considering both localization and communication needs, is crucial. To address this challenge, a new cellular architecture proposes using UAV-mounted base stations instead of conventional fixed-location base stations. UAV mobility can improve wireless links' quality, enable effective communication, and facilitate new localization techniques. For wireless links between UAVs outside buildings and User Terminals inside, there are propagation paths due to Reflection, Transmission, Diffraction, and Diffusion mechanisms. To study this scenario further, we use asymptotic techniques from Electromagnetic field theory to evaluate the signal propagation mechanisms as a function of UAV position. User terminals that are located within a building can also establish wireless links with each other, enabling the use of collaborative techniques for localization and communication. We can also incorporate prior information about the building, such as floor plan information, to improve our analysis. The insights we seek to develop can be incorporated into new wireless channel models suitable for emergency networks and can lead to new cellular standards that address these networks' specific needs. We plan to validate our ideas and insights in peer-reviewed Wireless Communication journals. Finally, the goal is to implement prototype systems that utilize current 5G technology, such as Time-of-flight, Angle-of-Arrival, and Received power measurements, with our insights aimed specifically at emergency networks. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 14, 2023