In this project, a novel wireless Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology, referred to as ZCNET, where  ZC stands for the Zadoff-Chu sequence, will be designed. LPWAN is a crucial component in Internet of Things (IoT), which will improve everyday life and business efficiency. IoT depends on LPWAN technologies to maintain connections to the devices, which face unprecedented challenges, because the communication range may be long, the number of devices may be very large, and the devices may rely on a single battery for years. ZCNET will offer significant advantages over existing solutions in network capacity, speed, communication range, and power consumption. Preliminary experimental results show that ZCNET outperforms LoRa, a leading LPWAN technology, using similar or less resource. Given its potential benefit, ZCNET will become a very strong contender and may potentially reshape the LPWAN technology landscape. This project will advance the knowledge on fundamental issues in wireless communication and networking in the very low Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) regime. Results obtained in this project will be used in related classes. Undergraduate students and students from underrepresented and minority groups will be actively recruited.

ZCNET is motivated by the excellent properties of the ZC sequence, which have been used and proven in LTE and 5G NR networks. In ZCNET, a transmitted ZC sequence will generate a peak at the receiver, the location and phase of which can be used to modulate data. A number of tasks will be investigated, with the goal of optimizing the design at every layer, and implementing a functional prototype to facilitate the transition to practice. In particular, first, the physical layer will be further optimized with better methods and error correction codes to cope with signal degradation and error caused by practical issues such as synchronization error and carrier frequency offset. Second, a hybrid Medium Access Control (MAC) layer will be designed, which has both a scheduled access method and a random access method, the latter based on a novel scheme called Peak Location Division Multiple Access (PLDMA). Third, core problems in the networking layer will be solved to maximize the overall network capacity, exploiting the low interference among ZC sequences with different roots, which allows nodes to use the same frequency channel without causing significant interference.