Tyrone Burke, October 19, 2020

Carleton University a Leader in Telecommunications and ICT Research Excellence

With a long history of collaborating with industry leaders, Carleton ranks among the world’s best universities in telecommunication and ICT engineering

“Imagine that you have hundreds of thousands of sensors and gateways – and all of them are collecting data for different parties that have different security protocols,” says Dr. Mohamed Ibnkahla, a Professor of Systems and Computer Engineering at Carleton University and the NSERC/Cisco Industrial Research Chair in Sensor Networks for the Internet of Things.

Mohamed Ibnkahla, Professor of Systems and Computer Engineering at Carleton University and the NSERC/Cisco Industrial Research Chair in Sensor Networks for the Internet of Things.

“It’s a huge amount of data, and a lot of stress on the network. Companies that own the network need to collaborate to make sure that the data is balanced, and doesn’t overwhelm the infrastructure. Each one will have multiple objectives and needs, and they will all need the data to flow in a smooth way,”

Using the Carleton/Cisco IoT test bed, Carleton’s research partners are able to test their devices, networks, protocols and algorithms in a system that anticipates future levels of device connectivity and data processing. It’s just one of the ways that researchers at the university are able to help companies overcome the technical challenges of next generation networks.

“No one knows exactly how it all will behave, but at Carleton, we can provide real IoT data, and not just simulated data, in order to address future network challenges” says Professor Ibnkahla.

“We work in IoT at every level. We work on the physical level – with sensors, devices, and actuators. Technologies that could be deployed in a vehicle, a smart building or a smart city. We work with the network edge, the core network and the cloud. This allows us to process data locally, at the edge or in the cloud. Because we collect real IoT data, we can work with the data of the past to predict the future.”

Carleton is one of the top universities in the world for telecommunication engineering. The 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities, formerly the Shanghai Ranking, placed Carleton among the world’s top institutions in the field. Carleton was ranked 27th globally and 3rd in Canada.

“For more than 40 years, Carleton has been working with the best. We have longstanding research partnerships with key players in the Center of Excellence for Next Generation Networks (CENGN), including Nokia, Mitel, and Telus,” says Dr. Rafik Goubran, Carleton’s Vice-President (Research and International) and a member of CENGN’s Board of Directors.

“Over and over, when companies evaluate universities in Canada, they choose to work with Carleton. We have partnerships with every major player in telecommunications and ICT, and the quantitative data that shows that we are on top — in terms of number of students that are studying information and communication technology, the research dollars, the partnerships, and our international ranking.”

There are more than 300 researchers working in telecommunications and ICT at Carleton, including over 80 faculty members. And things are trending up. In 2019, Carleton recorded 29.3% growth in its research income, more than any other comprehensive or medical university in Canada.

Carleton’s top researchers are also earning prestigious global awards. Nokia Bell Labs recently awarded Dr. Halim Yanikomeroglu 50,000 euros through its highly competitive University Donation program.

Halim Yanikomeroglu, Professor of Systems and Computer Engineering

Yanikomeroglu is a Professor of Systems and Computer Engineering who made significant contributions to 4G and 5G networks, and he is already exploring promising technologies that could further accelerate wireless communications when 6G networks launch in the 2030s. Yanikomeroglu is one of just 18 researchers in the world who received the Nokia Bell Labs, and he’s using it to develop a machine learning-based transceiver that uses Faster-than Nyquist (FTN) signaling.

“There has been research on FTN signaling since 1970s — in a rather on-and-off manner,” says Professor Yanikomeroglu, whose collaborations with industry have so far resulted in more than three dozen granted patents.

“However, the progress toward the minimization of the self-interference at the receiver side has not been very promising. This is due to the huge complexity of signal processing. But there has been progress in silicon technology, advances in signal processing techniques, and the emergence of artificial intelligence & machine learning as powerful tools in decision making. With 6G networks need for need for ultra-high transmission rates, I wonder whether the time has finally come for FTN signaling technology.”

Other research happening at Carleton aims to make a much more immediate impact.

“We have collaborated with CENGN on IoT-related use cases, including a project where we contributed to the allocation and sharing of available resources between different stakeholders and internet providers in the Smart City,” says Dr. Zied Bouida, a senior researcher and technical manager at the sensor systems and Internet of Things Lab.

“In the future, we see potential for collaborations on IoT-related use cases including the use of Carleton-Cisco IoT testbed for data collection, analytics, and IoT system design.”

The test bed hosts both Canadian and international IoT applications.  Depending on the level of security that’s needed, we can host applications in our testbed, either fully or partially.”

Carleton has more than 8,000 students are studying in ICT-related programs, and they’ve been contributing to CENGN. So far, Carleton students have completed more than 75 internships at CENGN.

“At CENGN, I was treated less like a student, and more like a professional. I got industry-relevant, hands-on experience,” says Kyler Manseau, a graduate of Carleton’s Bachelor of Information Technology in Network Technology program. Manseau completed multiple work terms at CENGN, and won its 2019 Student of the Year Award. He has since been hired on full-time as a Cloud Infrastructure Engineer.

“I worked with next generation technologies like Docker, Kubernetes, and OpenStack, and contributed to a project that used Python to communicate with Cisco’s Redfish API, in order to ease and automate the process of gathering information from the new servers that CENGN had ordered.”

From student placements to the Board of Directors, Carleton works with CENGN at every level, and it been there since the beginning.

“Carleton University has long been a strong advocate and player in the advancement of innovation in the network technology sector,” Jean-Charles Fahmy, President and CEO of CENGN.

“The institution’s specialized engineering programs in information technology and networking and its faculty of telecommunication researchers continue to contribute actively to Canada’s ICT ecosystem. Carleton was a founding academic partner for the company and has held a position on CENGN’s Board of Directors since our inception.  This support has been instrumental to the development of CENGN, and our ties to the institution’s faculty and student programs continues to strengthen with our company’s growing impact on the Canadian innovation and technology ecosystem.”

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