Abu Dhabi-United Arab Emirates, Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), today announced that its Secure Systems Research Centre (SSRC) has partnered with three prestigious universities on secure mesh communications research projects.
Mesh Network is a network topology in which the infrastructure nodes connect directly, dynamically, and non-hierarchically to as many other nodes as possible, and cooperate with one another to efficiently route data to and from third parties. The project is set to strengthen the security of the Mesh network technology that TII is currently developing for machine to machine and human to human communications.
The three partner universities include the UAE’s Khalifa University of Science and Technology, a world-class research institution that nurtures critical thinkers in applied science and engineering, University of Turku in Turku, Finland, and Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Styria, Austria. The Khalifa University project is titled ‘A Secure and Resilient Chat/VoIP Application over Private Mesh Networks’. Meanwhile, the University of Turku project focuses on ‘R3Swarms: Robust, Resilient and Reconfigurable Swarms’, and the project with TU Graz is titled ‘SPiDR: Secure, Performant, Dependable, and Resilient Wireless Mesh Networks’.
Speaking on the significance of this development for the UAE and the wider region, Dr Shreekant (Ticky) Thakkar, Chief Researcher at SSRC, said: “In the UAE we conduct research to provide technology that improves life through making systems and communications safer. This is of the utmost importance when technologies combine human, physical systems, and software interactions. Mesh Network Research conducted with our partners in Turku University, TU Graz, and Khalifa University will accelerate the deployment of safe communication for the benefit of people living in the UAE and the wider region.”
Dr Thakkar said the collaborations with Turku University and TU Graz will span the domain of communication resilience improvement through exploring, among other aspects, UWB (Ultra-wideband) transmissions, while the partnership with Khalifa University focuses on PHY (Physical layer) security and secure routing. A total of four research programmes are getting underway to provide a significant improvement in the ability of Mesh networks to resist eavesdropping, scanning, malware propagation and jamming, among other threats. As a direct application, these benefits are critical for cyber physical system swarm communications to become credible and resilient when operating autonomously, Dr Thakkar added.
He noted that dependable and secure Mesh networks are an integral part of overall communication infrastructure and will enable secure autonomous systems.
Dr Carlo Boano, Associate Professor, Institute of Technical Informatics, TU Graz, said: “The technologies developed within SPiDR will empower off-the-shelf drones and smartphones with the ability to autonomously detect and mitigate malicious attacks and coexistence problems, thereby increasing their availability and functionality without adding to the costs of operating them.”
Dr Tomi Westerlund, Associate Professor, Smart Systems at University of Turku, said: “The project with SSRC focuses on exploiting and advancing state-of-the-art technologies including, but not limited to, DL, DLT, UWB, as the basis to design and build more secure, flexible, robust, resilient, and reconfigurable swarms.”
For his part, Dr Hadi Otrok, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Khalifa University, said: “Through this project, we aim to build efficiencies and address earlier shortcomings by developing efficient chat and VoIP applications within secure and resilient mesh networks.”