Efficient video for wireless broadband standards
Submitting InstitutionLancaster University
Unit of AssessmentComputer Science and Informatics
Summary Impact TypeTechnological
Research Subject Area(s)
Information and Computing Sciences: Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing, Information Systems
Technology: Communications Technologies
Summary of the impact
Our research on cross-layer optimised video distribution over wireless
networks has led to wide- reaching economic and societal impact, via the
- Standardisation: our research results were directly adopted in
WirelessMAN and LTE, the two global standards for the next generation of
wireless broadband networks.
- Collaborative research: the work resulted in a product that has
been commercialised by our collaborators Rinicom Ltd, an SME specialising
in mobile video, and recognised with a Queen's Award for Enterprise
(2013), for achievements to which our research contributed significantly.
- User engagement: the work resulted in the deployment of a WiMAX
network in Slavutych/Chernobyl, Ukraine; contributing to community
regeneration in a UK Government programme to address social and economic
consequences of nuclear power plant closure.
Context. The underpinning research was concerned to
optimise the efficiency of video distribution over wireless networks, as
required by key application areas such as surveillance and tele- medicine:
such areas require solutions that scale to multiple high resolution
streams, and can be handled in real-time and under challenging conditions.
At the time the research was initiated, it was well-established that video
services should negotiate bandwidth at the medium access (MAC) layer, but
the physical (PHY) layer was not considered. We saw this as problematic
because streaming at peak rates leads to PHY-level signal deterioration,
and consequent reduction of available bandwidth.
Description of the research. In our research, this problem
was tackled with a cross-layer application/MAC/PHY approach, and
investigated in the context of IEEE 802.16 ("WiMAX") wireless metropolitan
area networks and OFDM/OFDMA communication systems. The research was
initiated by Markarian (Professor in Communication Systems) in 2007, as a
collaborative project with Rinicom Ltd, an SME specialising in video over
OFDM. The project was sponsored by Rinicom: they funded 5 PhD students in
Markarian's research group.
At the time the project started, the Dept. for Business, Enterprise and
Regulatory Reform (BERR) approached us for assistance with a WiMAX
deployment in Slavutych (a new town in Ukraine, built following the
Chernobyl disaster). We grasped the opportunity to integrate this activity
into the project as a challenging real-world context in which to ground
The overall result of the research was a novel cross-layer solution
for efficient video distribution over IEEE802.16, evaluated in a
substantial real-world deployment. The solution rests on the following
three research contributions at a more fundamental level:
1) MAC support for video splitting. We developed a technique that
significantly increases video throughput and QoS by judicious splitting of
video into sub-streams. These are then assigned to QoS classes [1,2], and
differentially scheduled over the 802.16 MAC .
2) PHY-level relaying for split video. We developed a concept for
optimally relaying split video so that all sub-streams reach their
destination with minimal latency and distortion, taking into account
network architecture, link quality and bandwidth availability .
3) PHY-level pre-distortion algorithm. Continuous streaming over
OFDM/OFDMA leads to signal deterioration and bandwidth reduction because
the signal's peak-to-average-power-ratio (PAPR) is raised (due to
non-linearity). We mitigated this by developing a novel pre-distortion
algorithm that introduces a hybrid approach to model estimation in the
time and frequency domains [5,6].
Research outcomes. In terms of tangible outputs, the
research resulted in:
1) a system solution for video over WiMAX (commercialised by our
2) peer-reviewed publication of the key concepts in venues of
international excellence [1,2,3,4]
3) specification of key techniques for direct adoption in the IEEE
802.16m standard [5,6]
4) doctoral training of 5 students (Ali, Kim, Noordin, Tsitserov,
5) deployment and handover of a WiMAX network for the municipality of
References to the research
 Markarian, G., Tsitserov, D., & Zvikhachevskaya, A. (2010). Novel
technique for efficient video distribution over WiMAX networks. Proc.
IEEE 21st International Symposium on Personal, Indoor and Mobile Radio
Communications (PIMRC), 399-404. DOI: 10.1109/PIMRCW.2010.5670403
PIMRC is one of the IEEE Communication Society's flagship conferences
in telecommunications. The paper presents the video splitting and QoS
mapping technique developed on top of 802.16 MAC.
 Markarian, G., Mihaylova, L., Tsitserov, D., & Zvikhachevskaya,
A. (2012). Video Distribution Techniques over WiMAX Networks for m-Health
Applications. In IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in
Biomedicine, 16(1), 24-30. DOI: 10.1109/TITB.2011.2174157
High-impact IEEE Transactions (IF=1.978 in 2012). The article, first
submitted in 2010, expands on , evaluating the technique for video
traffic scenarios in mobile health / tele-medic applications.
 Noordin, K.A. and Markarian, G. (2011) Providing QoS support through
scheduling in WiMAX systems. International Journal of the Physical
Sciences 6(16): 4070-4081.
International peer-reviewed open access journal. The article
complements  with a description of differential scheduling of split
video streams on top of 802.16 MAC.
 Kim, H., Zein, N., Markarian, G., "Transparent and Non-transparent
relay structure for diversity gain". IEEE802.16m-09_0067. Submitted
Submitted to the WiMAX Forum as a proposal for inclusion in the 802.16m
 Ali, S., Markarian, G. and Arikan, E. (2009) Novel Predistortion
Algorithm for OFDMA. In IEEE 69th Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC
Spring 2009), 1-5. DOI: 10.1109/VETECS.2009.5073716
International peer-reviewed conference on wireless communications,
organised by IEEE's Vehicular Technology Society. Describes the
development of a novel predistortion algorithm.
 Ali, S., Markarian, G., Arikan, E., "Hybrid Predistortion Algorithm
for HPA Non-linearity Mitigation". IEEE802.16m -08/939. Submitted
Submitted to the WiMAX Forum as a proposal for inclusion in the 802.16m
standard. This directly matches the academic publication above .
Details of the impact
Pathways to impact. We employed the following three
- Contribution to standards. Jointly with Rinicom, the University
made specific, significant and traceable contributions to IEEE 802.16m
standardisation, aimed at adoption of research outcomes as a global
- Collaborative research. All of the underpinning research was
conducted in collaboration with Rinicom Ltd, as sponsor and immediate
- Engagement with user communities. The research involved a
real-world network deployment in Slavutych/Chernobyl (population 25,000).
Areas of impact. The impact is wide-reaching and
significant, comprising both economic and societal aspects; and it is
evident at local, international and global scales:
1) Global impact through the adoption of enhanced technical standards.
The ITU (International Telecommunication Union) is the United Nation's
specialized agency responsible for the allocation of the global radio
spectrum and development of technical standards. In Jan. 2012, ITU
determined that WirelessMAN and LTE should be accorded the official
designation of IMT- Advanced, defining next-generation global wireless
broadband communications beyond 3G. Our research had direct impact on both
WirelessMAN and LTE, as detailed in a letter provided by the Certification
Working Group (CWG) of the WiMAX Forum [A]. This includes adoption of the
technical content of the proposals submitted by Markarian and Rinicom
first in the WirelessMAN standard IEEE802.16.1-2012, and subsequently in
the LTE specification (3GPP TS 36.216, "Evolved Universal Terrestrial
Radio Access (E-UTRA); Physical layer for relaying operation") [A].
Reach: The reach is global, benefitting the wireless
broadband business sector (vendors and operators), and ultimately users of
next generation wireless networks on a global scale. Vendors have to
implement techniques that originate from our collaborative research with
Rinicom in order to comply with the standards. Within the REF period, the
techniques have already been implemented in chipsets produced by Comtech
AHA, USA (AHA-4501 ASIC); Runcom, Israel (RNA300 ASIC); and Sequance,
France (SQN1220 SOC). Significance: The significance
of the contribution is evident in its selection for both standards, and is
also highlighted by the CWG in their corroborating statement: "...
presents an important and significant technical advancement to the
mobile broad band technology and systems as it introduces an efficient
method for the operation of transparent and non-transparent Relay
stations to improve capacity and coverage of a serviced cell". [A]
2) Impact on business performance through the improvement of a
product. Rinicom markets RiniMAX as a product for video surveillance
over point-to-multi-point systems that utilise WiMAX compliant radio
access. The cross-layer solution developed by Markarian's research group
led to a new version of the product, "RiniMAX R8000", which launched in
September 2009, replacing previous versions. As a result of the research,
the improved product is able to support simultaneous transmission of
multiple HD video streams over WiMAX. Reach: The
primary beneficiary is Rinicom, i.e. a local SME, but the product has
international reach; it has already been deployed for mobile metropolitan
area wireless video surveillance in the UK, Germany, Malaysia, Russia and
Ukraine. Significance: The impact on Rinicom's
business performance is highly significant, as evidenced by key indicators
(see Table). Turnover on RiniMAX grew by 148% over the three years
following the launch of the improved product. The product accounts for
half of the company's total turnover, which grew by 143% in the same
timeframe. The number of full-time employees rose from 5 to 15 [B].
|Turnover on RiniMAX
|Total turnover of Rinicom
|Full-time UK employees
The research impact on Rinicom's business culminated in further impact in
April 2013, when the company received a Queen's Award for
Enterprise in 2013, one of the most prestigious accolades for
businesses in the UK, in recognition of the company's achievements [C].
3) Impact on community regeneration. The UK Government initiated
the development of a city- wide wireless network for Slavutych/Chernobyl
in a programme to address the "Social and Economic Consequences of
Nuclear Power Plant Closure", and this was delivered by Lancaster.
Our research team developed the network specification, oversaw the
deployment on site and monitored the network in the initial 3 months of
operation, for optimisation and observation to inform the research. The
deployment culminated in delivery of the "Town Information Network" to the
community, formally launched on 26 March 2009. Reach:
The primary beneficiary is the municipality of Slavutych and its
residents (population 25,000), who are provided with reliable Internet
connectivity. The network covers the entire town and has complete reach to
its business sector and residents. Significance: The
network has had a transformative impact on the community, as economic
growth had previously been hampered by a lack of modern and reliable
telecommunications, especially internet connectivity. The Slavutych
Business Development Agency reports that new information services led to
the creation of 40 new jobs, and a 93.4% increase in the number of users
of Internet services [D]. A secondary beneficiary is the UK
Government, as our network deployment led to the completion of the
above-mentioned government programme (see the Government's 2008 report on
Global Threat Reduction activities [E], p.42]). Minister Mike O'Brian
launched the network in a live telecast connecting Whitehall with
Slavutych over the newly-established infrastructure, followed by a live
telecast connecting pupils of the Slavutych Lyceum with pupils of Central
Lancaster High School, highlighting the societal significance of the
project. The Government's press release highlighted the "culmination of
advanced technology transfer collaboration" as well as the "extensive
support from a team spearheaded by Lancaster University" [F].
Sources to corroborate the impact
[A] WiMAX Forum correspondence, Certification Working Group, provided by
the WG chair and received on 22 October 2013. Confirms inclusion of
Markarian's contribution into WirelessMAN and LTE standards, and
corroborates significance of the contribution for mobile broadband.
[B] The Managing Director of Rinicom Ltd can be contacted to corroborate
evidence provided on collaboration with Markarian's research group, and on
impact of the collaborative research on business performance.
[C] Queen's Award for Enterprise (Export) for Rinicom Limited. House of
Commons EDM 1300. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/1300
[D] Letter provided by the Director of Business Development Agency (BDA),
Slavutych. Confirms contribution of Lancaster University to the
development of communication and information services and corroborates
the project's impact on job creation.
[E] Global threat reduction programme: sixth annual report 2008. URN
09/373. UK Government, Department of Energy and Climate Change. http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file49982.pdf
The work on providing the municipality of Slavutych with a broadband
network to attract investment and employment opportunities is reported
on page 42.
[F] Official Press Release of the UK DTI programme in Slavutych. http://investing.org.ua/en/print/news/pres_relis