Internship | Intelligent Network Management in 6G Hybrid OWC-RF Networks
About this position
A number of enablers are researched for adoption in the targeted 6G mobile network technology, including ultra-massive MIMO beamforming, the use of optical wireless communication (OWC), network ultra-densification and cell-free networking, largely aiming to tackle the looming RF spectrum shortage and fulfil the needs of ever-growing and highly varying mobile traffic. With regard to OWC, the major research efforts in the last years have been focused on enhancing link date rates. With the advent of OWC technology, standard developments such as LiFi (as one form of OWC), released in 2023 by IEEE under the reference number IEEE 802.11bb, the research focus has begun to shift to challenges also covering networking issues (e.g. multiuser access and resource allocation, interference management, handover and load balancing) . In comparison with its RF counterpart, OWC offers both advantages (e.g. higher peak date rate, more secure, the ability to be used in RF-restricted areas) and limitations (e.g. shorter range, being more subject to obstructions). We envisage deployment scenarios where optical wireless and RF communications are integrated, which is expected to achieve a better overall network performance than standalone OWC and RF networks. In a hybrid OWC-RF network, the major challenges of effective network management lie in two aspects: complex network topology, and different wireless channel conditions between optical and RF links (considering ultra small OWC cells, and drastic impact of device orientation to the optical link performance) . Reference  NetworldEurope, ‘Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda 2022: Technical Annex (Section 6.3)’, December 2022.  X. Wu, M.D. Soltani, L. Zhou, M. Safari, H. Haas, ‘Hybrid LiFi and WiFi Networks: A Survey’, IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 1398-1420, 2nd Quarter 2021.
What will be your role?
Key activities of the proposed graduation project are:
- To conduct a thorough literature review concerning hybrid OWC-RF networks and corresponding network management mechanisms, in order to provide a solid research basis, aid in modelling and potentially further sharpen the problem formulation to ensure novelty.
- To define a limited set of challenging scenarios (indoor and/or outdoor) with gradually increasing complexity, which will form the basis for the solution development and assessment. We aim to consider LiFi and mmWave communication in one or more of these scenarios.
- To model all relevant scenario aspects related to e.g. network layout, key BS/UE/traffic characteristics and the propagation environment (for both OWC and RF).
- To develop one or more (potentially AI/ML-based) network management solution (resource allocation, interference management, handover, load balancing). Formulate a baseline for performance comparison.
- To develop a system-level simulator incorporating all model and solution aspects.
- To utilise aforementioned simulator to conduct an extensive quantitative assessment of the proposed (potentially AI/ML-based) solutions for a range of relevant scenarios and possibly distinct optimisation timescales.
- To derive key insights and conclusions w.r.t. deployment scenarios, the optimisation solution, the attainable performance effects, the sensitivity thereof to selected scenario aspects and complexity issues related to the algorithm execution itself and implementational feasibility.
A peer-reviewed conference paper is aimed, in case of good results from the MSc project.
The MSc project will be conducted as part of the large nationally funded research programme ‘Future Network Services’, bringing together 50-60 partners for a targeted period of six years. The proposed MSc project is envisioned to involve collaborations/regular interactions with FNS partners.
What we expect from you
You are a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree, preferably in the direction of Electrical Engineering or Computer Science. You have affinity with / interest in mobile networks, computer simulations, machine learning and have programming experience. You have an enterprising, flexible and cooperative nature. You are also communicative, creative and innovative. The duration of the graduation project is about nine months.
What you'll get in return
You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.
TNO as an employer
At TNO, we innovate for a healthier, safer and more sustainable life. And for a strong economy. Since 1932, we have been making knowledge and technology available for the common good. We find each other in wonder and ingenuity. We are driven to push boundaries. There is all the space and support for your talent and ambition. You work with people who will challenge you: who inspire you and want to learn from you. Our state-of-the-art facilities are there to realize your vision. What you do at TNO matters: impact makes the difference. Because with every innovation you contribute to tomorrow’s world. Read more about TNO as an employer.
At TNO we encourage an inclusive work environment, where you can be yourself. Whatever your story and whatever unique qualities you bring to the table. It is by combining our unique strengths and perspectives that we are able to develop innovations that make a real difference in society. Want to know more? Read what steps we are taking in the area of diversity and inclusion.
The selection process
After the first CV selection, the application process will be conducted by the concerning department. TNO will provide a suitable internship agreement. If you have any questions about this vacancy, you can contact the contact person mentioned below.
Students must reside in the Netherlands before the start and also throughout the internship or graduation project at TNO.
Has this job opening sparked your interest?
Then we’d like to hear from you! Please contact us for more information about the job or the selection process. To apply, please upload your CV and covering letter using the ‘apply now’ button.