Thomas Kürner , Technische Universität Braunschweig

THz communication and its potential for beyond 5G networks


Already a couple of years ago THz communications have not only become an attractive new research area on channel modeling but also triggered a couple of projects heading to develop appropriate technological solutions to enable the set-up of hardware demonstrators. In parallel discussions and activities in standardization and regulation already took off. In October 2017, IEEE published Std. IEEE 802.15.3d-2017 the worldwide first wireless communications standard operating in the 300 GHz frequency band. In parallel to the standardization process activities at the ITU-R level targeting on the provision of an appropriate regulatory framework at the World Radio Conference 2019 (WRC-2019) via a dedicated agenda item have taken off. The speaker has been actively involved in all those areas. The talk will provide a brief overview on the current status of the development of THz Communication systems focusing on the past and current activities at IEEE 802 and the WRC 2019 preparations as well as on recent results on advanced channel characterization at 300 GHz and hardware demonstrators operating in this frequency range.



THOMAS KÜRNER received his Dipl.-Ing. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1990, and his Dr.-Ing. degree in 1993, both from Univerity of Karlsruhe (Germany). From 1990 to 1994 he was with the Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik und Elektronik (IHE) at the University of Karlsruhe working on wave propagation modelling, radio channel characterisation and radio network planning. From 1994 to 2003, he was with the radio network planning department at the headquarters of the GSM 1800 and UMTS operator E-Plus Mobilfunk GmbH & Co KG, Düsseldorf, where he was team manager radio network planning support responsible for radio network planning tools, algorithms, processes and parameters form 1999 to 2003. Since 2003 he is Full University Professor for Mobile Radio Systems at the Technische Universität Braunschweig. His working areas are indoor channel characterisation and system simulations for high-speed short-range systems including future terahertz communication system, propagation, traffic and mobility models for automatic planning and self-organization of mobile radio networks and vehicle-to-X communications. In 2012 he was a guest lecturer at Dublin City University within the Telecommunications Graduate Initiative in Ireland.

He has been engaged in several international bodies such as ITU-R SG 3, UMTS Forum Spectrum Aspects Group, COST 231/273/259 where he chaired the working group ‘Network Aspects’, COST 2100 and COST IC 1004. Prof. Kürner currently represents Technische Universität Braunschweig at the NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks) alliance as an advisory member. He has actively contributed to the channel modelling document supporting the standardization of IEEE 802.11ad. Currently he is a voting member of IEEE 802.15 and is chairing the IEEE 802.15 IG THz. He was also the chair of IEEE 802.15.3d TG 100G, which developed the worldwide first wireless communications standard operating at 300 GHz.

He participated in the European projects FP-5-IST-MOMENTUM on methods for ‘Automatic Planning of large-scale Radio Networks’, ICT-FP7-SOCRATES on ‘Self-Organisation in Wireless Networks’, FP7-SME-GreenNets on ‘Power consumption and CO2 footprint reduction in mobile networks by advanced automated network management approaches’, FP7-SEMAOUR (‘Self-management for unified heterogeneous radio access networks’), Medea+-Qstream /‘Ultra-high Data Rate Wireless Communication’), H2020-iBroW (‘Innovative ultra-BROadband ubiquitous Wireless communications through terahertz transceivers’) and H2020-TERAPOD (“Terahertz based Ultra High Bandwidth Wireless Access Networks”). He was the project coordinator of the TERAPAN project (“Terahertz communications for future personal area networks”) funded by the German Ministry of Research and Development.

Prof. Kürner is a member of the Board of Directors of the European Association on Antennas and Propagation (EurAAP) and from 2012 to 2017 he was the founding chair of the EurAAP WG Propagation. He served as Vice-Chair Propagation at the European Conference on Antennas and Propagation (EuCAP) in 2007, 2009 and 2014, as TPC-Co Chair at EuCAP 2015, Convened Sessions Co-Chair at EuCAP 2013 and Invited Speakers Co-Chair at EuCAP 2017. He is a founding member and co-organizer of all six editions of the International Workshop on Self-Organizing Networks (IWSON). Since 2008 he is Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology and since 2017 also Associate Editor of IEEE Antennas and Propagation . He is a Senior Member of IEEE and an elected member of URSI Commission F.


Thomas L Marzetta, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, New-York, USA

Massive MIMO: The Ultimate Wireless Technology! Or is There Something Better?


Massive MIMO, operating in the sub-5 GHz spectrum, promises to deliver area spectral efficiency (bits/second/Hz/square-kilometer) improvements over 4G ranging from ten to over one-thousand, depending on the mobility of the terminals. Other benefits include energy efficiency (bits/Joule) gains in excess of one-thousand, and simple and effective power control that yields uniformly great service throughout the cell. Experiments have demonstrated the soundness of the theory: Massive MIMO really works.

While a complete reduction of the Massive MIMO concept to commercial practice is not yet in sight, already a fundamental question has emerged: Does Massive MIMO represent the end of the line for the technological development of the wireless physical layer, or is there some as-yet undiscovered principle of operation that would yield order-of-magnitude improvements beyond Massive MIMO? We address this question in two ways. First, we argue that further breakthroughs beyond Massive MIMO are unlikely to emerge from purely mathematical theories of wireless communications. Second, we point out that wave propagation physics predicts some startling macro-phenomena which, if they could be exploited, might be the basis of revolutionary wireless technology.

A well-defined information-theoretic model for the communication between an array of service antennas and a set of autonomous single-antenna terminals entails a block-fading i.i.d Rayleigh fading model for propagation, time-division duplex operation, and no prior knowledge of the small-scale CSI. The known information theory falls considerably short of elucidating the simultaneous uplink/downlink achievable rates for the terminals. Massive MIMO, itself, provides achievable lower bounds on performance, but there is currently no tight upper bound on performance. We argue that a tight upper bound would be much closer to the Massive MIMO lower bound than to the unrealistic perfect CSI upper bound. Only an unprecedented information-theoretic breakthrough could change this pessimistic picture.

A drastic modification of the propagation model, through the introduction of wave propagation physics, is a possible avenue for a breakthrough. The treatment of wave propagation by means of linear systems theory makes a large body of physical theory accessible to communication theorists in a useful way. We illustrate the power of this approach by treating two topics, largely unfamiliar to communication theorists: super-directive antenna arrays, and resonant evanescent wave coupling.



Thomas Marzetta is Distinguished Industry Professor at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, ECE Department. Born in Washington, DC, he received the PhD and SB in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978 and 1972, and the MS in Systems Engineering from University of Pennsylvania in 1973. Prior to joining NYU, he had three industrial research careers: petroleum exploration at Schlumberger-Doll Research (1978 – 1987), defense at Nichols Research Corporation (1987 – 1995), and telecommunications at Bell Labs (1995 – 2017). At Bell Labs, he directed the Communications and Statistical Sciences Department within the former Mathematical Sciences Research Center, and he was elected a Bell Labs Fellow. He originated Massive MIMO, one of the cornerstones of fifth generation wireless technology. He is the lead author of the book “Fundamentals of Massive MIMO”. Prof. Marzetta was on the Advisory Board of MAMMOET (Massive MIMO for Efficient Transmission), an EU-sponsored FP7 project, and he was Coordinator of the GreenTouch Consortium’s Large Scale Antenna Systems Project. He has received awards including the 2015 IEEE Stephen O. Rice Prize, the 2015 IEEE W. R. G. Baker Award, and the 2013 IEEE Guglielmo Marconi Prize Paper Award. He was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 2003, and he received an Honorary Doctorate from Linköping University in 2015.


David Gesbert, EURECOM Sophia Antipolis, France

Learning from the sky: Autonomous flying access networks for beyond 5G


The use of flying robots (drones) carrying radio transceiver equipment is the new promising frontier in our quest towards ever more flexible, adaptable and spectrally efficient wireless networks. Beyond obvious challenges within regulatory, control, navigation, and operational domains, the deployment of autonomous flying radio access network (Fly-RANs) also come with a number of exciting new research problems such as the issue of autonomous real-time placement of the drones in non-trivial propagation scenarios (i.e. scenarios where the optimal placement is not just dictated by a trivial geometry or statistical argument due to shadowing effects, e.g. in cities). We present several different approaches, lying at the cross-roads between machine learning, signal processing and optimization. Some approaches involve the reconstruction of a city map from sampled radio measurements which can have application beyond the realm of communications.



David Gesbert (IEEE Fellow) is Professor and Head of the Communication Systems Department, EURECOM. He obtained the Ph.D degree from Ecole Nationale Superieure des Telecommunications, France, in 1997. From 1997 to 1999 he has been with the Information Systems Laboratory, Stanford University. He was then a founding engineer of Iospan Wireless Inc, a Stanford spin off pioneering MIMO-OFDM (now Intel). Before joining EURECOM in 2004, he has been with the Department of Informatics, University of Oslo as an adjunct professor. D. Gesbert has published about 270 papers and 25 patents, some of them winning the 20015 IEEE Best Tutorial Paper Award (Communications Society), 2012 SPS Signal Processing Magazine Best Paper Award, 2004 IEEE Best Tutorial Paper Award (Communications Society), 2005 Young Author Best Paper Award for Signal Proc. Society journals, and paper awards at conferences 2011 IEEE SPAWC, 2004 ACM MSWiM. He was a Technical Program Co-chair for ICC2017 in Paris and WSA2017 in Berlin. He was named in the 2014 Thomson-Reuters List of Highly Cited Researchers in Computer Science. Since 2015, he holds the ERC Advanced grant “PERFUME” on the topic of smart device Communications in future wireless networks.

D. Gesbert was a co-editor of several special issues on wireless networks and communications theory, for JSAC (2003, 2007, 2009), EURASIP Journal on Applied Signal Processing (2004, 2007), Wireless Communications Magazine (2006). He served on the IEEE Signal Processing for Communications Technical Committee, 2003-2008. He was an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications and the EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking. He serves on the Scientific Boards of EURECOM and the UCN (User Centric Networking) Laboratory of Excellence (LABEX) in France. He co-authored the book “Space time wireless communications: From parameter stimation to MIMO systems”, Cambridge Press, 2006. He held visiting professor positions in KTH (2014) and TU Munich (2016). Since 2017 he is also a visiting Academic Master within the Program 111 at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications as well as as a member in the Joint BUPT-EURECOM Open5G Lab.