Democratizing Disruptive Wireless Innovations

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 3:22pm

FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2009
Electrical and Computer Engineering Conference Room, Harold Frank Hall Rm. 4164

Speaker: Ramakrishna Gummadi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Title: Democratizing Disruptive Wireless Innovations

Why are current wireless networks often slow and unreliable? What is the gap between the theoretical wireless capacity and the throughput achieved in practice, and how can an architecture bridge this gap? How can you write new wireless protocols easily, and deploy them in real-world settings quickly?

In this talk, I will answer these three questions. I will first demonstrate that current wireless practice is significantly sub-optimal under RF interference. Then, I will present a new wireless architecture called VWID, which can approximate the theoretical capacity in many common settings.VWID uses variable-width channels to exploit traffic burstiness and to increase concurrency. Thereby, it improves the throughput of 802.11 networks several-fold in real-world deployments.

To enable innovation at the network edges with VWID-like architectures, I will present AirBlue, an FPGA-based high-throughput and low-latency programmable wireless system. AirBlue implements physical and link layer protocols as modular components. Modules are composed using an extensible interface for exchanging data and control. Modules accept strongly-typed functions as parameters, so that a programmer can write new protocols easily with small, local modifications to these functions. These module features allow us to implement VWID with only 200 additional lines of code. The AirBlue hardware consumes low power and mates with cellular phones, making realistic wireless evaluation at scale possible.

VWID is joint work with Rabin Patra, Hari Balakrishnan and Eric Brewer. AirBlue is joint work with Man Cheuk Ng, Kermin Fleming, Hari Balakrishnan and Arvind.

Ramakrishna (Ramki) Gummadi is a post-doc at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratoray. He obtained his B.Tech. from IIT Madras, M.S. from UC Berkeley and Ph.D. from USC. His dissertation developed a reliable and energy-efficient programming language for sensor networks. He enjoys building scalable, reliable and secure systems and networks using new hardware and software description languages. His awards include a UC Regents Graduate Fellowship, a best paper awarded out of all 2001 Journal of Computer Networks papers, a highly cited article in SIGCOMM 2003 on the geometry of Distributed Hash Tables, a best poster/demo award at SenSys 2004, and an award at the ACM Student Research Competition (SRC) held at PLDI 2007.