Campus: PADOVA

Language: English

Teaching period: First Semester


Number of ECTS credits allocated: 9

Prerequisites: The student should have a good knowledge of basic probability theory, including random processes, random variables, their expectation, etc. Note that no previous courses are required as mandatory as the instructor will go through the needed preliminary theory at the beginning of each topic.

Nevertheless, for some of the mathematical analyses that will be presented in the course, some prior knowledge on stochastic processes and in particular on Markov processed is helpful. Hence, the prospective student may also want to attend:


In addition, some basic knowledge on computer networks, including their basic tools for performance analysis (queueing theory) and some knowledge on networking protocols (in particular link layer and transport) is also beneficial. Hence, the prospective student may also want to attend:

Examination methods: To pass the exam, a student needs to pass a written examination. An additional oral test is optional and decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on the performance attained for the written exam and on whether the student aims at obtaining extra-credit, so as to improve his/her final grade.

WRITTEN EXAM: the written exam usually contains one exercise and two theory questions. The exercise is about dimensioning a wireless networking system, involving the transmission of some data flow through a network of terminals, where some of the links are wireless. Different exercises and their solution will be amply discussed by the instructor throughout the course. The two theory questions are either about deriving equations to characterize the performance of a certain protocol that has been presented in the course or discussing the pros and cons of a certain technology or protocol. Past exams can be found in the Internet site of the course, most of them include the solution to the technical exercise:


WHEN TAKING A NEW WRITTEN EXAM. If a student has been assigned a sufficient grade from a past written examination, he/she has the right of taking a new written exam to improve his/her grade. In the case he/she decides to do so, the student will have 15 minutes to check the exercises and questions of the new written exam and decide as to whether he wants to continue with this new exam or maintain the old grade (from the last written examination he/she has passed). In the former case, the grade from the new written exam will replace that of the last written exam he/she has passed.
Course unit contents: The course aims at providing some advanced knowledge on protocol stacks for wireless communications, including the analysis of distributed wireless networks, state of the art wireless technologies and current trends. The topics that will be covered will range from link layer technology to routing over ad hoc wireless networks and application layer / network coding. Selected topics will be presented using recent research papers from the literature as a source of reference. In the first part of the course, the student will be introduced to the technology used in modern ISO/OSI stacks, characterizing the performance of the single layers and then of the protocol stack as a whole. In the second half of the course, the focus will be on distributed ad hoc network architectures, with particular emphasis on distributed Wi-Fi networks (IEEE802.11 a/g/h/n) and wireless sensor networks. The corresponding technologies will be introduced in detail (PHY/MAC/routing), characterizing their performance through suitable mathematical tools. The course will be research oriented and, at the end of it, the student will have a clear view on modern protocol technology, and will be able to carry out its performance evaluation through tractable mathematical tools.

The main topics that will be discussed in the course are:

- Wireless channel:
* Simulation-based introduction to wireless channel models: path loss, shadowing, fading and frequency selectivity

- Link layer:
* Link layer algorithms based on FEC: applications
* Hybrid ARQ systems: mathematical analysis and performance evaluation
* Fountain codes: theoretical foundations, optimal and suboptimal (practical) decoders

- Protocol stack analysis:
* Performance evaluation of protocol stacks over correlated fading channels. This analysis will cover all layers from the physical layer up to the transport, accounting for Markov channel models, ARQ system models and transpor protocol performance

- IEEE 802.11 a/g/h/n:
* Physical layer technology. Introduction to the OFDM technology, diversity and MIMO techniques, multi-antenna systems (beamforming and multiplexing)
* Channel access technology (Medium Access Control, MAC)
* Mathematical analysis and performance evaluation of dynamic rate control algorithms (adaptive modulation and coding)

- Routing over "ad hoc" multi-hop wireless networks:
* Performance analysis of data dissemination in multi-hop mobile wireless networks
* Description and performance evaluation of selected routing algorithms for ad hoc wireless networks

- Wireless sensor networks (WSN):
* Relevant channel access and routing algorithms, analytical models and their performance analysis
* Study of WSN systems powered by energy harvesting sources

- Course seminars on ongoing research topics