Invited Talk

Wednesday, 7 July12:00 – 13:00 BST

Integrated Access and Backhaul for 5G and Beyond

Dr. Mohamed-Slim Alouini
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi-Arabia
Dr. Behrooz Makki
Ericsson AB, Sweden


To cope with the exponential growth of demand on wireless communications, 5G and beyond will densify the network with many base stations (BSs) of different types. The BSs, however, need to be connected to the operators’ core network via a transport network. On a global scale, fiber and wireless microwave technology are dominating media for backhauling. Fiber offers reliable connection with demonstrated Tbps data rates. However, fiber deployment may take long installation time, requires noteworthy initial investment, and may even be not allowed in, e.g., metropolitan areas. Wireless backhaul, on the other hand, comes with significantly lower cost and time-to-market as well as higher flexibility.

Traditionally, wireless backhaul hasbeen mainly based on proprietary technology operating in millimeter wave (mmw) spectrum and constrained to line-of-sight (LoS) propagation conditions. However, with 5G NR, cellular technology is extending into mmw spectrum; the spectrum historically used for backhauling. Also, with small-cells deployed on street level, the backhaul links need to operate also under NLoS (N:non) conditions. These, along with reducing the time-to-market/operation cost, are the main motivations for the integrated access and backhaul (IAB) concept. The aim of IAB is to provide flexible wireless backhaul using 3GPP NR technology, providing not only backhaul but also the existing cellular services in the same node.

The objective of the talk is to bring new insights to the analysis, design and standardization of IAB networks. Such networks guarantee the communication requirements in future smart cities and solve the ubiquitous connectivity problems in many challenging network environments, e.g., coverage/capacity enhancements in rural areas. The talk will 1) go through the recently finished Release 16 and ongoing Release 17 IAB work-items of 3GPP, as the world’s biggest 5G research program, 2) present proof-of-concept results for the usefulness of IAB, and 3) provide a vision for IAB-related research towards 6G.

About Speakers:

Mohamed-Slim Alouini (IEEE Fellow and OSA Fellow) was born in Tunis, Tunisia. He received the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, CA, USA, in 1998. He served as a faculty member in the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA, then in the Texas A&M University at Qatar, Education City, Doha, Qatar before joining King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Makkah Province, Saudi Arabia as a Professor of Electrical Engineering in 2009. His current research interests include modeling, design, and performance analysis of wireless communication systems.

Behrooz Makki [M’19, SM’19] received his PhD degree in Communication Engineering from Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. In 2013-2017, he was a Postdoc researcher at Chalmers University. Currently, he works as Senior Researcher in Ericsson Research, Gothenburg, Sweden. Behrooz is the recipient of the VR Research Link grant, Sweden, 2014, the Ericsson’s Research grant, Sweden, 2013, 2014 and 2015, the ICT SEED grant, Sweden, 2017, as well as the Wallenbergs research grant, Sweden, 2018. Also, Behrooz is the recipient of the IEEE best reviewer award, IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, 2018. Currently, he works as an Editor in IEEE Wireless Communications Letters, IEEE Communications Letters, the journal of Communications and Information Networks, as well as the Associate Editor in Frontiers in Communications and Networks. He was a member of European Commission projects “mm-Wave based Mobile Radio Access Network for 5G Integrated Communications” and “ARTIST4G” as well as various national and international research collaborations. His current research interests include integrated access and backhaul, Green communications, millimeter wave communications, finite block-length analysis and backhauling. He has co-authored 67 journal papers, 46 conference papers and 70 patent applications.