HORIZON 2020 Industrial Leadership ICT 2014 - Information and Communications Technologies Smart optical and wireless network technologies
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Network traffic is expected to keep on showing two-digits annual growth rates in all network segments over the coming years and beyond. The limits of existing technological approaches for both optical and wireless technologies are about to be reached. As far as access networks are concerned, the cost of current solutions also represents a barrier to reaching a (quasi-) universal coverage with ultra-high speed, be it with optical or wireless access. New challenges imposed by major trends in the usage of communications networks are to be taken into account as well as the high projected increase of mobile and ubiquitous broadband access which requires further developments in backhaul networks, for which optical and wireless technologies constitute key enablers.
In the specific wireless domain, spectrum is a scarce public resource whose usage is often strategic for the economy and society, which must be optimised in view of the expected exponential traffic and usages growth as outlined in the Commission Communication on "Promoting the shared use of radio spectrum resources in the internal market". Finally, communication networks represented about 22% of the ICT carbon footprint in 2011. This is expected to grow fast to almost double in 2020 if underlying network technologies are not significantly improved.
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