Radio Technology: Realising the future

Brought to you by The Academic & Industry Group, The Radio Technology Group

In radio communications, the laws of physics clash with the best laid plans of product designers.

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About the event

Maybe the two sides should get together? Industry could talk about their "wouldn't it be nice if's"... (we could travel faster than light? we could make an efficient omnidirectional antenna covering dc to light and the size of a penny?); while researchers could talk about new possibilities in materials, circuit design, electro-magnetics, that could change the ground rules. That's a process we want to start at the CW joint Academic & Industry and Radio Technology SIGs event on 4th July, at Queen Mary College, London.

The event will be structured as a "challenge/response" programme, Industry challenging Academia with the big issues still to be solved in making radios - not just mobile phones but any application of RF technology for communications; and Academia talking about the new possibilities opened up by research. Expect an interesting, mind-stretching day.

To follow this SIG on Twitter, @cambwireless, please use #CWAcademic and #CWRadioTech

Hosted by School of EE&CS Queen Mary (University of London)

Established in 1968 the Antennas & Electromagnetics Research Group undertakes a wide range of research covering the very broad range of Frequencies from 10MHz to 5THz.

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Sponsored by Rohde and Schwarz

Rohde & Schwarz is one of the world's leading manufacturers of information and communications technology products for professional users.

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Registration and networking with refreshments


Introduction to Academic & Industry and Radio Technology SIGs


Welcome from event host, Clive Parini, Queen Mary University of London


Welcome from event sponsor, Rohde & Schwarz


Dr Sajad Haq, QinetiQ


Directional Antennas in MANET Radio Networks; Steve Fitz, Director of Technology, Plextek

This short talk will outline the ACTI collaborative research programme which explores the implications of using directional antennas in MANET radio networks. This topic is of current interest partly because of the growing use of mmWave bands where directional antennas are both essential for link budget and of reasonable size. Adapting beam directions in a mobile topology has far-reaching implications for the MANET stack including radio resource management and routing.


Huawei Research University partnerships; Michael Hill-King, Collaboration Director, Huawei

There are many challenges facing the ICT industry over the next decade arising at the device level, network connectivity, and in intelligent operation. Many of these challenges can be addressed collaboratively. The talk will introduce the foci for Huawei R&D and how Huawei works with universities to address these challenges that face us all.


Leonardo in the UK – technology challenges give research opportunities; John Griffin, Innovation & Technology Director, Electronic & Defence Systems Sector, Leonardo

This short talk will provide an overview of the activities in Leonardo in the UK illustrating the importance of RF technology, some of the key performance drivers and current challenges. This will link to the identification of some research areas of interest to Leonardo in the future.


Panel session - the industry perspective


Lunch and networking


Antenna Innovation Driven by Advanced Materials; Yang Hao, Professor of Antennas & Electromagnetics, Queen Mary University of London

Over recent years, Queen Mary University of London has developed several innovative antenna solutions based on the novel materials ranging from metamaterials to graphene. In this talk, I will discuss some antenna solutions pushing the conceptual boundaries whilst at the same time exploring the practical problems of design and manufacturability.


Joint Academic and Industry Research on Indoor Wireless Coverage; Dr. Tongyun Li, Research Associate, Engineering Department, University of Cambridge

This talk will present a collaborative work between Cambridge University and China Aerospace for development of a novel cloud based in-building wireless (IBW) solution which addresses the issues of high cabling and installation costs as well as difficulty in service convergence onto single network infrastructure in traditional systems. Industrial applications include mobile and IoT service coverage within stadiums, shopping malls, large building blocks and high-speed trains. A lab prototype has already been built and passed industrial-level tests. The first-generation product is expected to be launched in China later this year.


Fronthauling for Cloud-RAN and distributed antenna systems; Alister Burr, Professor of Communications, Dept of Electronics, University of York

Next generation wireless access networks are expected to make much wider use of distributed antenna systems, in which the antennas are physically separated from the baseband and higher layer processing: the "Cloud-RAN" concept is perhaps the ultimate example of this. This can reduce complexity of the access point and can also significantly improve network performance, but requires signals to be relayed across what is then known as the "front-haul" network, which can require these networks to provide very high capacity, typically several times the total user throughput. The talk will review the issues, and some potential solutions, some involving the applications of pure number theory.


Balanced wave-impedance substrates for antenna miniaturisation: efficient or not?; Oliver James, Centre for Doctoral Training in Communications, University of Bristol

In this talk, Oliver James introduces balanced wave-impedance materials for use in antennas. Certain hexagonal ferrites fall into this class of materials, exhibiting the property of equal electric permittivity and magnetic permeability, giving the material the same wave impedance as free space. Such materials are claimed to give efficient impedance matching between the antenna substrate and the transmission medium, but is this effect more important than conventional antenna substrate performance characteristics such as material loss tangent? Oliver discusses a radiatively characterised antenna built on such a substrate and considers the impact of the choice of material on antenna miniaturisation as well as the potential for frequency tuning.


Panel session - the academic perspective


Panel session with all speakers


Tours of QMUL Laboratories


Event closes


Alister Burr - Professor of Communications, University of York (Communication Technologies Research Group)

Alister Burr is Professor of Communications in the Dept of Electronic Engineering at the University of York. His research interests are in the physical layer of wireless communications, especially as it is implemented in large scale radio access networks. He has published more than 230 papers on these topics in international journals and conferences, and has received more than £3 million in funding for his research: the bulk of the projects funded involved industrial partners or industrial support. He has given more than 15 invited or keynote presentations, and has been UK representative and working group chair for the series of European COST Actions on radio communications.

Steve Fitz - Director of Technology, Plextek

Steve Fitz has over 30 years’ experience in developing innovative engineering solutions. Having worked as a senior technologist for SME’s, large defence companies and in academia, he has a broad view across the industry and is an unashamed technology enthusiast and thought leader. He is currently Technology Director at Plextek.

John Griffin - Director of Innovation, Leonardo

John Griffin is the Innovation and Technology Director for Leonardo’s Electronic and Defence Systems Sector leading a team with transnational responsibility for initiating company-wide Innovation programmes and technology scouting for innovative and disruptive technologies. With approaching 40 years industrial experience, he has a background in antennas and electromagnetics research, R&D management and senior CTO level appointments.

Yang Hao - School of EE&CS Queen Mary (University of London)

Yang Hao is a Professor of Antennas and Electromagnetics at Queen Mary University of London. He also serves in the management team of Cambridge Graphene Centre. Prof. Hao was an Editor-in-Chief for the IEEE ANTENNAS AND WIRELESS PROPAGATION LETTERS between 2014-2017. He won the IET AF Harvey Research Prize in 2015 and was a co-recipient of BAE Chairman’s Silver Award in 2014. He currently holds the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. Prof. Hao is an elected Fellow of the ERA Foundation, IET and IEEE.

Sajad Haq - QinetiQ

Prof. Sajad Haq Ph.D MBA. FIET is currently Chief Scientist Advanced Services and Products QinetiQ. His research interests span electromagnetic and functional materials for commercial, defence and security applications, and he is actively involved in the development of novel technologies in collaboration with a range of national and international collaborators.

Michael Hill-King - Collaboration Director, Huawei Technologies R&D UK Ltd

Michael Hill-King joined Huawei Technologies in June 2015 as Collaboration Director, UK R&D Centre. His role is to drive and support all research projects between Huawei and UK universities and to support interactions with the UK based technology suppliers. Important aspects of this role are building and maintaining strong relationships with UK partners and communicating the strengths of the UK research base to Huawei’s R&D team.

Prior to joining Huawei, Michael served as Director of Partnerships at King’s College London. There, he led a portfolio of functions for the university including major commercial partnerships, and knowledge transfer and entrepreneurial schemes. Michael joined King’s in September 2009 from Imperial College London where he led the College’s business development activities in Engineering and Technology, having joined the College in 2003 to manage major research bids and projects.

His areas of expertise are in business growth and technology development, knowledge transfer, collaborative research, intellectual property and industry-academic relations. Previously, Michael spent over fifteen years in business, primarily in sales and marketing roles with industrial and scientific equipment companies. Michael read Physics at the University of Sheffield and holds an MBA with distinction.

Oliver James - PhD Student, University of Bristol

Oliver graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2011, with a master's degree in physics. He subsequently spent two years working as a graduate physicist on various RF technologies. During this time, Oliver also undertook a secondment as a research officer with the Department of Informatics and Systems Engineering of Cranfield University. Today, Oliver is studying for a PhD at the University of Bristol Centre for Doctoral Training in Communications. His research examines compact antennas and tuneable antennas for wireless communications in the frequency range 300 MHz – 3 GHz (UHF band).

Tongyun Li - Researcher, University of Cambridge

Dr. Tongyun Li is currently a research associate at the Engineering Department, University of Cambridge. He obtained his first degree from the University of Aberdeen in 2007 and a PhD degree from Cambridge in 2011. His research has been focusing on radio over fibre based indoor wireless communication system. Since 2012, he has been a technical leader for EPSRC Digital Distributed Antenna System (DDAS) and the smart in-building wireless system using flexible transmission technology (SWIFT) project which is an academic-industrial collaborative project aiming to build commercially available in-building wireless system. He is also actively involved in business development and commercialisation of innovative ideas. He was a scholar of the Cambridge Overseas Trust (COT) and won a Cambridge University Entrepreneurs (CUE) 'Vision to Succeed' award in 2010-2011. Tongyun is a co-founder of eComm and ZiFiSense.

SIG Champions

Antonio Di Buono - Research Technologist, National Nuclear Laboratory

Antonio is a Research Technologist in the Instrumentation and In-situ Analysis team. He is working on several aspects of instrumentation development, focusing on wireless communications for nuclear decommissioning environments and the use of digital technologies. During his PhD project on Wireless Communications in Nuclear Decommissioning Environments he gained essential digital skills for the deployment of wireless technologies in nuclear environments. He focused on the radio frequency propagation and data transmission through reinforced concrete wall structures and the radiation tolerance of electronic components. Antonio joined NNL after completing his PhD project at the Centre for Innovative Nuclear Decommissioning (CINDe) in 2020. His research involved the design, prototyping and experimental evaluation of wireless sensing systems to support decommissioning activities and to provide remote sensing capability in nuclear material storage facilities. Antonio is an active member of the Nuclear Institute and European Nuclear Society Young Generation Network (ENS-YGN). He is a member of the European Nuclear Society - High Scientific Council and University Liaison for the North West Branch - Nuclear Institute.

John Haine - Visiting Professor, University of Bristol (Communication Systems & Networks Research Group)

John Haine has spent his career in the electronics and communications industry, working for large corporations and with four Cambridge start-ups. His technical background includes R&D in radio circuitry and microwave circuit theory; and the design of novel radio systems for cordless telephony, mobile data, fixed wireless access and IoT communications. He has led standardisation activities in mobile data and FWA in ETSI, and contributed to WiMax in IEEE. At various times he has been involved in and led fund-raising and M&A activities. In 1999 he joined TTP Communications working on research, technology strategy and M&A; and after the company’s acquisition by Motorola became Director of Technology Strategy in Motorola Mobile Devices. After leaving Motorola he was CTO Enterprise Systems with ip.access, a manufacturer of GSM picocells and 3G femtocells. In early 2010 he joined Cognovo, which was acquired by u-blox AG in 2012. He led u-blox' involvement in 3GPP NB-IoT standardisation and the company's initial development of the first modules for trials and demonstrations. Now retired from u-blox he is an Honorary Professor in Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Bristol University, where he chairs the SWAN Prosperity Partnership Project external advisory board . He was founder chair and is Board Member Emeritus of the IoT Security Foundation. He served on the CW Board chaired the Editorial Board of the CW Journal.  John has a first degree from Birmingham (1971) and a PhD from Leeds (1977) universities, and is a Life Member of the IEEE.

Kevin Morris - Professor of Radio Frequency Engineering, University of Leeds, Head of School, University of Leeds - School of Electronic & Electrical Engineering

Kevin Morris received the B.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in electronics and communications engineering from the University of Bristol, Bristol, U.K., in 1995 and 2000, respectively. He is currently a Professor of Radio Frequency engineering and Head of the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Leeds. He has authored or co-authored over 130 academic papers, and he holds five patents. His research principally concerns looking at methods of reducing power consumption in communications systems with specific interest in the design of efficient frequency flexible transceivers. He is currently involved with several industrial and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) research projects. He was the Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Bristol from 2014 to 2018.

Ian Wassell - Associate Professor, Digital Technology Group, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge

Dr Ian Wassell joined the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory as a Senior Lecturer in January 2006. Prior to this, he was with the Department of Engineering for six years. He received the PhD degree from the University of Southampton in 1990 and the BSc., BEng. (Honours) Degrees (First Class) from the University of Loughborough in 1983. He has in excess of 25 years experience in radio communication systems gained via positions in industry and academia and has published more than 200 papers. His research interests include broadband wireless networks, wireless sensor networks, radio propagation, coding, communication signal processing, compressive sampling, and image processing and classification.

Mark Beach - Professor of Radio Systems Engineering, University of Bristol (Communication Systems & Networks Research Group)

Mark Beach received his PhD for research addressing the application of Smart Antenna techniques to GPS from the University of Bristol in 1989, where he subsequently joined as a member of academic staff. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1996, Reader in 1998 and Professor in 2003. He was Head of the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering from 2006 to 2010, then spearheaded Bristol’s hosting of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Communications. He is the Co-Director of this centre. He leads research in the field of enabling technologies for the delivery of 5G and beyond wireless connectivity; which includes the recent award of an EPSRC Prosperity Partnership in the field of Secure Wireless Agile Networks (SWAN). Mark’s current research activities are delivered through the Communication Systems and Networks Group, forming a key component within Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab. He has over 30 years of physical layer wireless research embracing the application of Spread Spectrum technology for cellular systems, adaptive or smart antenna for capacity and range extension in wireless networks, MIMO aided connectivity for through-put enhancement, experimental evaluation and optimization of Massive MIMO, Millimetre Wave technologies as well as flexible RF technologies for SDR modems. With a strong industrially focused research portfolio, he is also the School Research Impact Director.

Brian Collins - Managing Consultant, BSC Associates

Brian has designed antennas for applications including radio and TV broadcasting, base stations, handsets and consumer products, and has operated his own consultancy firm for the last 12 years. He has published more than 70 papers on antenna topics and contributed chapters to several recent textbooks. He operates a small consultancy company, chairs the Antenna Interface Standards Group and is an Honorary Visiting Professor in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London.

Paul Harris - Principal Wireless Architect, VIAVI Solutions

Paul is a wireless technology expert with experience across a range of areas including research, design, implementation and standardisation. He received his PhD from the University of Bristol for evaluating the performance of massive MIMO technology in the lead-up to 5G and is currently a Principal Wireless Architect within the CTO Office at VIAVI Solutions providing thought leadership on new and emerging technologies for 5G, 6G and beyond. In line with this he represents VIAVI within a range of bodies and fora including 3GPP, the O-RAN Alliance, ETSI, the Next G Alliance, the 6G-IA and the UKTIN. His experience prior to joining VIAVI includes representing Vodafone within 3GPP for radio performance aspects, contributing to the development of massive MIMO channel estimation solutions at Cohere Technologies, and working with customers as a domain expert at National Instruments to establish effective research solutions using software-defined radio. He is also a Chartered Engineer, Senior Member of the IEEE, Fellow of the ITP, and an Honorary Industrial Fellow at the University of Bristol.

Peter Kibutu - 5G NTN Market lead, TTP plc

Peter has been working in the cellular industry for over 15 years, specialising in modem system architecture and physical layer development. Before joining TTP, Peter worked in the development of 2G/3G/4G wireless modem products and small-cell base station projects for a number of leading cellular equipment vendors. At TTP Peter has worked with a wide range of clients in the satellite and cellular communication domains, specialising in end-to-end system engineering, modem system development and advising on commercial aspects. Currently Peter is the TTP technical lead for 5G/6G activities and represents the company in range of industry bodies including 3GPP and UKTIN.

Peter Topham - Principal Engineer, Qualcomm Technologies International

Peter has more than 30 years experience of RF and high-speed circuit design, taking chips into production ranging from FM Band II through cellular, Bluetooth and on to UWB at 10GHz. He has been with Qualcomm for 7 years, specialising in low-power RF design for portable and wearable products.

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Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS

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