Research Fellow: SDN Network Architecture & Protocol Design for 5G

University of Hertfordshire - School of Engineering and Technology

Duration of Contract: Fixed term contract for 5 years from October 2017  

Qualifications required:
Applicants should hold a PhD in Electronics and Communications Engineering, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics or similar with a few years’ experience as Post-Doctorate researcher in Communications and Network Engineering or Computer Engineering.

Description of the research activity and area:
The access networks of the future will consist of the combination of centralised processing, mixed macro and small cells deployments as well as new radio and optical fibre technologies in order to support very high data rates and traffic types that are characterised by connectionless and sporadic transmission of short packets such as those employed by machine to machine (M2M) communication devices and tactile internet (TI). Here flexible wireless solutions are required for dynamic backhaul and fronthaul (xhaul) architectures alongside very high capacity optical inter-connects.

The Research Fellow will explore converged optical and wireless network solutions able to flexibly connect heterogeneous cells to the core network. In particular, dynamically programmable, high capacity, low latency, point-to-multipoint millimeter wave transceivers, operating with sub-6-GHz systems will be investigated. In addition, for dense small cell deployments, the information exchange between small cells and microcells, as well as between neighboring small cells will be much more frequent because of issues such as increased number of handovers, interference management and load balancing. These data exchanges can lead to a huge backhaul signaling overhead. Consequently, small cells should be able to dynamically activate/deactivate different transceivers, and adapt according to favourable conditions so that the backhaul signaling overhead can be minimized. The Research Fellow will focus on both the techniques for reducing this signaling overhead together with determining the future integrated optical and wireless network architecture(s) to cost effectively deliver the capacity requirements of the future access network. Largely, Ethernet is being proposed as the solution to meet these requirements. When Ethernet is used, software defined networking (SDN) can also be used to dynamically control data flows to and from the cloud-RAN, as well as provide additional benefits, such as network slicing, allowing multiple cellular operators to use the same xhaul infrastructure.

The Research Fellow will join the Optical Networks Research Group at the University of Hertfordshire, and will be given the opportunity to work in a state-of-the-art lab facility with cutting edge test-beds, high spec components and industrial standard simulators. In recent years the group has won funding in the order of £900K from the European Commission, the European Space Agency, Innovate UK, the UK Knowledge Transfer Network and UK industry. Our most relevant projects include the EU FP7 STREP ACCORDANCE, the industry funded project SDN-based, Low Latency Optical Back-and Front-Hauling for 5G, the European Space Agency ARTES project Sat>IP Multicast WiFi Hotstop and the Innovate UK project SatStream.

Skills and experience needed:
The Research Fellow should have relevant conceptual and methodological knowledge, skills and experience of conducting research in Communication Networks and related disciplines. They will be expected to apply for research grants as the principal investigator, manage successful projects, supervise research students and disseminate their findings at conferences and 3*/4* journals. The Research Fellow should have excellent oral and written communication skills in both spoken and written English. At a personal level the Research Fellow should be an approachable and be an easy going individual, who can establish good working relationships with group members, collaborators, staff and students at the University. Some teaching, not exceeding 20% FTE may be requested by the successful candidate in subject areas relevant to their expertise and previous experience.

Contact: Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Pandelis Kourtessis, Reader (Associate Professor) in Communication Networks, School of Engineering and Technology, email:, tel +44 (0) 1707 284179

We particularly welcome female applicants and those from an ethnic minority, as they are under-represented within UH at these levels.

The University offers a range of benefits including a pension scheme, professional development, family friendly policies, child care vouchers, a fee waiver of 50% for all children of staff under the age of 21 at the start of the course, discounted memberships at the Hertfordshire Sports Village and generous annual leave.

Apply online at