Wireless Internet Center for Advanced Technology (WICAT) Proposal #1127960

This proposal seeks funding for the Wireless Internet Center for Advanced Technology (WICAT) sites at the Polytechnic Institute of NYU (lead), Auburn University, the University of Virginia, and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Funding Requests for Fundamental Research are authorized by an NSF approved solicitation, NSF 10-601. The solicitation invites I/UCRCs to submit proposals for support of industry-defined fundamental research.

Increasing demand for video services on handheld and other wireless devices has made efficient exchange of video data using wireless devices a necessity. However the continual changes in user demand, network traffic and hardware of the wireless environment pose significant research challenges to achieving this goal. The proposed research seeks to address these challenges via a three pronged effort to explore wireless technologies able to adapt to changing communication system states. A test bed environment for the conduct of the proposed work that will provide system surveillance and cloud computing infrastructure will be provided by Cisco Systems.

Efficient and seamless use of video on wireless platforms in the emerging cloud computing environment will have major economic impact in virtually all economic sectors. Ubiquitous implementation and widespread adoption of these services will also create societal impact through the degree of communication it will enable. The proposed work has the potential to inform and define approaches to achieving this video content integration. The work has the potential to strengthen collaborative ties and link resources among the four participating center sites to further both research and education in this critical area.

Project Report

According to a recent study by Cisco, data traffic over wireless networks is expected to have a 26-fold increase over year 2010 by 2015. Furthermore, 66% of the increase in future wireless data traffic will be video related, as driven by the compelling need for ubiquitous access to mobile multimedia content for mobile users. Such drastic increase in video traffic will significantly stress the capacity of existing and future wireless networks. Although new wireless architectures and technologies are being explored, it is also important to revisit existing wireless networks, to maximize their potential in carrying real-time video data. This was a collaborative research project spanning the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly), Auburn University (Auburn), Virginia Tech, and the University of Virginia (UVa), which are the four sites of the Wireless Internet Center for Advanced Technology (WICAT), an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) with over 30 members. The proposed fundamental research was also supported by WICAT member Cisco Inc. in the form of a donation of a video collection and cloud computing infrastructure. The objective was to systematically investigate several of the unique technical challenges and open problems that are foundational to the concept of using adaptation to achieve new levels of efficiency and quality in video services. The proposed research had the following three principal thrusts: (i) Power control for VBR video streaming; (ii) Context-aware video coding and adaptation; (iii) Content-based filtering and adaptation at the application layer. The focus of the Auburn Site in this FRP project was on power control for VBR video streaming. In this project, the challenging problem of streaming multiple user videos in the downlink of a cellular network was investigated. This was a highly relevant problem given the wide adoption and deployment of cellular networks for wireless access and the considerable amount of new base stations (BSs) to be deployed every year. Given the exploding wireless data and the quickly depleting spectrum resource, such cellular systems are usually interference limited. The capacity of a specific mobile user depends on the signal to interference-plus-noise ratio (SINR) at the user, which is a function of the power allocation for all the mobile users. Therefore, effective downlink power control is necessary for such a wireless video system to minimize the intracell interference for concurrent video sessions. Moreover, VBR video offers stable and superior quality over constant bit rate (CBR) videos and many stored video contents are coded in the VBR format. It is important to support such stored VBR video over existing wireless networks without the need for transcoding. Effective algorithms based on convex optimization and majorization theory were developed in this project to solve the downlink resource allocation problem for multiuser video streaming in a cellular network. The theoretical and simulation studies validate the efficacy of the proposed approach. The outcomes from this project were disseminated at various international conferences and journals. This project also offered training and research opportunities for graduate students on cutting edge wireless video research and cross-layer optimizations. This work helped to strengthen collaborative ties and link resources among the four participating center sites to further both research and education in this critical area.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)
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Lawrence A. Hornak
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Auburn University
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