Engineers reinvent web network

Edinburgh researchers are to help develop broadband technology that can cope with the explosion in internet data.

Engineers will contribute to a £12 million UK project to revolutionise internet networks, to manage the rise in demand for web communications.

Their goal is to meet demand from growing broadband use, data-intensive applications such as video, and the increasing number of network-connected objects and machines - the internet of things.

The project, ‘Towards Ultimate Convergence of All Networks’ (Toucan), will aim to ensure that future generations of internet technology can stay connected.

Lab expertise

Engineers at Edinburgh will lead a multi-technology experimental lab that will validate ongoing research outputs from the project.

This will involve extensive technology evaluation, real-world case studies and user trials.

The lab’s experimental infrastructure will draw upon facilities at the projects’ academic partners - the Universities of Bristol, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, and Lancaster, and the UK’s academic computing network, JANET UK.

Light-enabled web

Li-Fi technology, which enables data to be transmitted over LED lights and which was developed at Edinburgh, will be an essential part of this mix of innovative technologies.

Edinburgh will also host technologies and researchers from other academic and industrial partners during the five-year study.

Industry support

The project’s external partners are Bristol City Council, Broadcom UK, BT, JANET, NEC, Plextek, Samsung, and the Technology Strategy Board.

TOUCAN is funded by £6 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, with additional funds from external partners and participating institutions, including PhD studentships.

The number of network-connected devices is forecast to reach 1,000 times the world’s population by the year 2020. This project aims to meet the formidable challenge of ensuring connectivity for this burgeoning market.

Professor Harald HaasSchool of Engineering