Blockchain technology and smart contracts in 5G and beyond networks

Tuesday, 18 June 2019, 08:30-13:00, room R3
  • Hamed Ahmadi (University of Essex, UK)
  • Irene Macaluso (CONNECT, Ireland)
  • Marco Ruffini (CONNECT, Ireland)
  • Nima Afraz (CONNECT, Ireland)


Motivation and Context

Blockchain is a revolutionary technology which has found its way to several domains outside of finance industry. The venture capitalist and software developer Marc Andreesen considers blockchain to be as important and revolutionary as the Internet. It is therefore reasonable to expect that aspects of this technology have the potential to underpin concepts, frameworks, regulations, and economics in the world of mobile communication and networking. Blockchain has numerous applications in these areas and will play a significant role in 5G and beyond networks. By enabling automatic and trusted transactions, smart contracts facilitate infrastructure and spectrum sharing among infrastructure providers, service providers, and virtual network operators. Blockchain also creates new business models for ephemeral networks and/or operator partnerships for better coverage and service. In a step forward, mobile operators can offer “Blockchain-as-a-service” ecosystem for content providers who could store their offerings throughout the mobile network and use the blockchain infrastructure for access control and monetization. In IoT networks blockchain can be applied to enhance privacy and security, data and identity management, and monetization of the service.

Since the first comm’s related blockchain workshop in IEEE DySPAN2017, there has been a raise in the number of blockchain related publications in communication society, and there has been at least four workshops on this topic in major conferences which are showing the significant interest in this topic among members of communication society.

This tutorial will provide an introduction to blockchain technology and smart contracts to EUCNC participants. We will review its applications communication, networking and IoT in the first half of the tutorial. In the second half we will demonstrate hands-on Blockchain/smart contract programming which will be a unique opportunity especially for early career researchers and making our tutorial different from conventional conference tutorials.


Structure and Content

We are aiming at a half-day tutorial (two sessions of 100 mins) which will have two main parts. Introduction and application, and hands-on experience.

Session one:

  1. Blockchain Concept:
    • Distributed ledger: How blockchain is different from an online (Google) spreadsheet
    • Public vs. Private/Permissioned vs. Permisionless
    • Smart contracts
    • Is blockchain right for my application? (Blockchain decision tree test)
    • Hyperledger Fabric introduction
  2. Applications of Blockchain
    • Networking use cases
    • IoT use cases


Session two:

  1. Hands-on experience on Solidity  • Ethereum structures and operations
    • Ethereum remix
    • Solidity – data types and statements, structures, time elements, client applications
  2. Hyperledger DeepDive:  • Organization
    • Peer
    • Ordering Service
    • Channel
    • Certificate authority
    • Consensus (Endorsement)
  3. Hands-On Composer Playground live application development 
  4. Cloud Platforms: • IBM Blockchain Platform Starter Plan
    • AWS Amazon Managed Blockchain


Hamed Ahmadi

Dr. Hamed Ahmadi is an assistant professor in the school of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at University of Essex, UK. He received his Ph.D. from National University of Singapore in 2012 where he was funded PhD student at Institute for Infocomm Research, A-STAR. Since then till August 2015, he worked as a research fellow at CONNECT centre, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He joined University of Essex, in August 2018 to as an Assistant Professor. Between 2015 and 2018 he was a lecture and senior lecturer at University College Dublin, and Sheffield Hallam University, respectively. Dr. Ahmadi has published more than 40 peer reviewed book chapters, journal and conference papers. He is a member of editorial board of IEEE Access and Springer Wireless Networks. He is a senior member of IEEE, and a management committee member and Networks working group co-chair of COST Action 15104 (IRACON). His current research interests include design, analysis, and optimization of wireless communications networks, wireless network virtualization, blockchain, Internet-of-Things, cognitive radio networks, and the application of machine learning in small cell and self-organizing networks.

Irene Macaluso

Dr. Irene Macaluso is a Senior Research Fellow at CONNECT, Ireland’s research centre for Future Networks and Communications, based at Trinity College, Dublin. Dr. Macaluso received her Ph.D. in Robotics from the University of Palermo in 2007. Dr. Macaluso’s current research interests are in the area of adaptive wireless resource allocation, with particular focus on the design and analysis of market-based mechanisms in the management and operation of reconfigurable wireless networks and the application of machine learning to radio resource sharing. She has published more than 60 papers in internationally peer reviewed journals and conferences. She is Executive Editor of Transactions on Emerging Telecommunication Technologies (ETT) since 2016.

Marco Ruffini

Prof. Marco Ruffini received his M.Eng. in telecommunications in 2002 from Polytechnic University of Marche, Italy. After working as a research scientist for Philips in Germany, he joined Trinity College Dublin in 2005, where he received his Ph.D. in 2007.
Since 2010, he has been Assistant Professor (tenured 2014) at TCD. He is Principal Investigator (PI) of both the CONNECT Telecommunications Research Centre at TCD, and the IPIC photonics integration centre headquartered at the national Tyndall institute. Prof. Ruffini is currently involved in several Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and H2020 projects, and leads the Optical Network Architecture group at Trinity College Dublin.
His main research is in the area of 5G optical networks, where he carries out pioneering work on the convergence of fixed-mobile and access-metro networks, and on the virtualisation of next generation networks, and has been invited to share his vision through several keynote and talks at major international conferences across the world.
He has authored over 120 international publications, over 10 patents and contributed to the BroadBand Forum standardisation body.

Nima Afraz

Mr. Nima Afraz is a doctoral candidate in the CONNECT Centre, Trinity College Dublin. His research focuses on multi-tenant/service optical access networks enabled by virtualisation techniques. Nima has developed an interest for interdisciplinary approaches to solving the economic incentives in optical network infrastructure sharing.