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Implementation and Performance Evaluation of Cooperative Wireless Communications with Beamforming and Software-Defined Radio Techniques

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Liang Hong Tennessee State University

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Dr. Liang Hong received the B.S. and the M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Southeast University, Nanjing, China in 1994 and 1997, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri in 2002. Since August 2003, he has been with the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Tennessee State University where he is now Full Professor. His research interests include cognitive radio, security of communication systems, networked control system, wireless sensor networks, wireless multimedia communications and networks, and engineering education.

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Shiwen Mao Auburn University

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Shiwen Mao received Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, NY in 2004. He was the McWane Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 2012 to 2015, and is the Samuel Ginn Endowed Professor and Director of the Wireless Engineering Research and Education Center (WEREC) since 2015 at Auburn University, Auburn, AL. His research interests include wireless networks and multimedia communications. He is a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society in the Class of 2014, and the Vice Chair—Letters and Member Communications of IEEE Communications Socie-ty Multimedia Communications Technical Committee. He is on the Editorial Board of IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, IEEE Internet of Things Journal, IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials, and IEEE Multimedia, among others, and was Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications from 2010 to 2015. He serves as Steering Committee Member for IEEE ICME and AdhocNets, Area TPC Chair of IEEE INFOCOM 2017 & 2016, and Technical Program Vice Chair for Information Systems of IEEE INFOCOM 2015, symposium co-chairs for many conferences, including IEEE ICC, IEEE GLOBECOM, WCNC, ICCCN, et al. He received the 2015 IEEE ComSoc TC-CSR Distinguished Service Award, the 2013 IEEE ComSoc MMTC Outstanding Leadership Award, and the NSF CAREER Award in 2010. He is a co-recipient of the IEEE GLOBECOM 2015 Best Paper Award, the IEEE WCNC 2015 Best Paper Award, the IEEE ICC 2013 Best Paper Award, and the 2004 IEEE Communications Society Leonard G. Abraham Prize in the Field of Communications Systems.

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With the significant growth in the number of users using various types of portable devices on diverse real and non-real time, high and low data rate applications, future wireless communication systems are expected to operate under the strict constraint of limited spectrum to provide ubiquitous communications in a heterogeneous environment composed of sophisticated digital communication systems, infrastructures, and services.

To meet the future wireless communications requirements, software-defined radio (SDR) and cooperative transmit beamforming have been proposed to be the key techniques that future graduating communication engineers should be capable of designing and implementing. SDR, a flexible platform whose functionality can be changed on the fly by software on a computer or embedded system, can cope with the broad range of wireless standards, frequency bands, and user requirements. Cooperative transmit beamforming, a promising technique for high frequency and power efficiency, enables increased coverage range, increased data rate, or decreased net transmit power for a fixed desired received power. In cooperative transmit beamforming, a number of distributed transmit nodes, each equipped with single antenna, cooperatively organize themselves into a virtual antenna array and focus their transmissions in the direction of the intended receiver, such that, after propagation, the signals combined constructively at the receiver.

Despite the compelling needs of SDR and beamforming expertise in the wireless industry, few schools are offering undergraduate courses on these advanced topics. This paper describes a Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) project that implements and evaluates a cooperative wireless communication system with SDR and beamforming techniques. A hands-on design project for Communication Systems course has been developed based on the experiences and observation from this project. The student learning outcomes and assessment rubrics are also presented in the paper. The cooperative communication system for image transmission is implemented with universal software radio peripherals (USRPs) and the open source GNU radio software development toolkit. A group of single antenna transmitter collaborate together to synchronize their carrier frequencies, phase and time so that the transmitted image packets can reach the desired receiving direction with significant level of power improvement. The performance of the system is evaluated through the received signal power at the desired receiving direction; the interferences towards other directions; and the subjective evaluations of the received images based on different viewers' opinion scores.

Through the proposed design project, the students will not only gain valuable knowledge of the state-of-art beamforming technique, SDR concepts, and the USRP platform, but also improve their creative thinking ability, and hands-on and programming skills. Feedbacks from preliminary evaluations were positive and encouraging. Students were highly interested and excited about learning SDR and beamforming techniques by following the procedures developed in the REU project. The from-research-to-teaching paradigm in this work is expected to blaze a path for integrating other emerging communication systems techniques in undergraduate Electrical Engineering education.

Hong, L., & Mao, S. (2016, June), Implementation and Performance Evaluation of Cooperative Wireless Communications with Beamforming and Software-Defined Radio Techniques Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25568

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