Vision-Aided 6G Wireless Communications: Blockage Prediction and Proactive Handoff

Gouranga Charan, Muhammad Alrabeiah, Ahmed Alkhateeb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The sensitivity to blockages is a key challenge for millimeter wave and terahertz networks in 5G and beyond. Since these networks mainly rely on line-of-sight (LOS) links, sudden link blockages highly threaten the reliability of the networks. Further, when the LOS link is blocked, the network typically needs to hand off the user to another LOS basestation, which may incur critical time latency, especially if a search over a large codebook of narrow beams is needed. A promising way to tackle the reliability and latency challenges lies in enabling proaction in wireless networks. Proaction allows the network to anticipate future blockages, especially dynamic blockages, and initiate user hand-off beforehand. This article presents a complete machine learning framework for enabling proaction in wireless networks relying on visual data captured, for example, by red-green-blue (RGB) cameras deployed at the base stations. In particular, the article proposes a vision-aided wireless communication solution that utilizes bimodal machine learning to perform proactive blockage prediction and user hand-off. This is mainly achieved via a deep learning algorithm that learns from visual and wireless data how to predict incoming blockages. The predictions of this algorithm are used by the wireless network to proactively initiate hand-off decisions and avoid any unnecessary latency. The algorithm is developed on a vision-wireless dataset generated using the ViWi data-generation framework. Experimental results on two basestations with different cameras indicate that the algorithm is capable of accurately detecting incoming blockages more than ∼ 90% of the time. Such blockage prediction ability is directly reflected in the accuracy of proactive hand-off, which also approaches 87%. This highlights a promising direction for enabling high reliability and low latency in future wireless networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10193-10208
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Volume70
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

Keywords

  • Blockage prediction
  • computer vision.
  • deep learning
  • mmWave
  • proactive hand-off
  • terahertz

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics

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