Wireless Community networks and 5G: the7-­Billion-­user challenge

Monday, 18 June 2018, 09:00-13:00, M4 hall
  • Merkourios Karaliopoulos (Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece)
  • Iordanis Koutsopoulos (Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece)
  • Renato Lo Cigno (University of Trento, Italy)
  • Leonardo Maccari (University of Trento, Italy)
  • Leandro Navarro (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain)


Motivation and Context

As the 5G vision gets unfolded and the requirements of its ambitious key performance indicators are better understood, it also becomes clearer that there will not be a single realization path for this vision. Large parts of the worldwide population, including those living in rural areas of developed countries and those in developing regions will probably not be served by ultra-­dense networks and super-­fast radio links. This tutorial aims to delineate the role that community networks emerging out of citizens’ grassroots activities could play in the realization of the 5G vision. It summarizes state-­of-­the-art practices and experience with their use, and it outlines technical research problems and outstanding challenges for their adoption. Thus, it essentially lays out elements of a complementary research agenda that so far has not attracted the proper attention from the research community. The main motivations for this tutorial are:

  • Recent advances in community networks, both on the technological but also their strategic and organizational form
  • Ongoing discussions and research efforts on realizing the ambitious 5G vision so that will not further amplify the digital divide worldwide
  • The equally ambitious EU agendas (EU2020, EU2025) for broadband connectivity across Europe and the therein identified potential role of grassroots- and locally-­driven network infrastructures.

The objectives are summarized as follows:

  • Review recent advances and trends in the multifaceted area of Community Networks, in terms of technologies and strategies, as these emerge throughout the world
  • Summarize the difficulties that stand on the way to delivering the 5G vision to several areas across the world and detail how Community Networking initiatives could contribute to coping with them
  • Identify the research challenges that need to be tackled so that Community Networks can play an active role to this end
  • Outline actions to be taken at policy-­making and regulatory level to enable this role


Structure and Content

The proposed tutorial is structured into three sessions, each one covering a particular theme. The three sessions (S1-­S3) and their content are:
S1. 5G implementation paths and Community Networks: a review of current state of affairs
This session reviews the evolution of the 5G vision, dominant approaches to its implementation, and concerns about them. It then proceeds to give an overview of the advances in Community Networks (CNs) over the last 15 years on the technological and organizational fronts. Finally, it describes how these networks could support or constitute sustainable paths towards the next generation of wireless connectivity in many areas around the globe. The session includes:

  • A discussion of the 5G vision, the dominant approaches proposed for its implementation, and main challenges faced by them>/li>
  • A review of CNs across the globe: technologies, organizational models, financing, together with case studies such as guifi.net, Sarantaporo.gr, and others
  • CNs as alternative paths to realizing network access visions

S2.Edge computing in CNs
Some of the research challenges in CNs are similar to what 5G networks face, in particular, distributing data processing, computation, and storage in the edge of the network in order to have smaller delays and reduce the load on the backhaul. This session will treat two research threads that try to tackle these issues with a P2P approach, relying on the openness of the network and without sacrificing Network Neutrality. These threads are,

  • Distributed cloud platforms in CNs and service placement issues,
  • P2P streaming in CNs

S3.Economic sustainability in CNs and incentives for participation
This session will focus on the ways CNs pursue their sustainability so far, and new approaches that have recently emerged to this end, involving synergies with commercial service providers. It will review game-theoretic tools that help analyze and optimize these sustainability models. The session covers:

  • Basic elements of behavioral economics and game theory and its use in CNs
  • Economics of Infrastructure sharing: cost sharing and pricing models, and related research issues in CNs
  • Incentive mechanisms for different stakeholders in CNs: theory, models and research issues in CNs: incentives for users, service providers, infrastructure providers etc
    • Use of blockchaining technologies–the case of AMMBR
  • Synergistic models with commercial service providers

The estimated sessions’ durations and the names of instructors in each session are:

  • S1: Dr. Leandro Navarro (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain) – 45mins
  • S2: Dr. Leonardo Maccari and Dr. Renato Lo Cigno (University of Trento, Italy) – 45mins
  • S3: Dr. Merkouris Karaliopoulos and Dr. Iordanis Koutsopoulos (Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece) – 90mins

a) The assumption in the schedule is that the overall duration of the tutorial is 3hrs (2 parts of 1.5 hr each, 9-­10.30, 10.45-12.15) with a 15-min break between them. Hence, the first two sessions will occupy the first part of the tutorial (9-10.30) and the third part will take place in the 2nd part.
b)All five instructors are collaborating in the content of the EU R&D project netCommons (https://www.netcommons.eu). Most of the tutorial’s material is the outcome of their research collaboration in the context of this project.



Merkouris Karaliopoulos (http://cgi.di.uoa.gr/~mkaralio/) is a Senior Research Associate at the Athens University of Economics and Business, in Greece. He obtained the Diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1998, and the Ph.D. degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Surrey, UK, in 2004. He has been a Postdoctoral researcher at Computer Science Department of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2005-2006), and a Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, in ETH Zurich (2007-2010). Prior to joining AUEB, he was a Marie-Curie Fellow at the Department of Informatics and Telecommunications, University of
Athens from 2010-2012 and a Researcher with the Center of Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) from 2013-2015. His research interests lie in the broader area of wireless and mobile social networks, focusing, among others, on mobile crowdsensing and collective awareness platforms. He has worked in several EC collaborative R&D projects holding both research and technical coordination roles.

Iordanis Koutsopoulos (http://www2.cs.aueb.gr/~jordan/) is an Associate Professor at the Department of Informatics of Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB). He obtained the Diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) in 1997, and the M.Sc.and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Maryland, College Park in 1999 and 2002. He has been Assistant Professor at AUEB (2013-2016) and Assistant Professor (2010-2013), Lecturer (2005-2010) with University of Thessaly. During his sabbatical in 2012 he was visiting Research Scientist with Yahoo! Research Labs, Barcelona. During 2005 he held a visiting scientist position with University of Washington, Seattle, USA. He was awarded a European Research Council (ERC) H2020-ICT-09-2017 Research and Innovation Actions competition runner-up award (co-funded by Greece and the European Union) for the project “RECITAL: Resource Management for Self-­coordinated Autonomic Wireless Networks”, €690K (single investigator), for the period 2012-­2015. His research interests are in the broader area of network control and optimization, with applications to wireless networks, social networks, smart grid control, sensor networks and cloud computing systems.

Renato Lo Cigno (http://disi.unitn.it/locigno/ ) is currently a Professor at the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science of the University of Trento, Italy. During 1998–1999, he was with the Computer Science Department, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA, as a Visiting Scholar. He was with the Politecnico di Torino until 2002. He is currently an Associate Professor with the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science (DISI), University of Trento, Trento, Italy, where he leads the Advanced Networking Systems Group in computer and communication networks. He has coauthored more than 150 papers in international peer-­reviewed journals and conferences. His current research interests are in the performance evaluation of wired and wireless networks, modeling and simulation techniques, congestion control, peer-­to-peer networks, and networked systems in general, with specific attention toward applications and sustainable solutions.

Leonardo Maccari (http://disi.unitn.it/maccari) is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science of the University of Trento, Italy. He received a Master from the Faculty of Computer Science Engineering from the University of Florence in November 2004 and a Ph.D. from the same institution in 2010. He has been involved in several research projects financed by the Italian Ministry of research (PROFILES Project), the EU FP6/7 programme (CRUISE NoE, NI2S3 Strep) the European Defense Department (ESSOR project) and private companies (Telecom Italia, Selex Communications, Siemens). He received a Marie Curie COFUND grant for the PAF-FPE project for the period 2011-­2014. He is the Technical Coordinator of the netCommons H2020 project on behalf of the University of Trento. He is an IEEE member and co-authored about 40 publications in refereed conferences, journals and book chapters, he participated in the TPC of several conferences (IEEE Globecom, IEEE ICC, IFIP Networking among them). He has extensive experience in research and development of techniques for wireless mesh networks, and their direct application to real networks, he is also among the authors of three patents.

Leandro Navarro (http://people.ac.upc.edu/leandro/ ) is an Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Architecture of Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Barcelona, Spain, which he joined in 1988, after receiving his graduate degree on Telecommunication Engineering from UPC and his Ph.D. from UPC in 1992. His research interests include the design of scalable and cooperative Internet services and applications. He coordinates the CNDS (Computer Networks and Distributed Systems) and the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate in Distributed Computing. He has participated and managed the participation of UPC, in several EC funded projects such as Catnet (FET), Catnets, SORMA, Grid4All FP6 EU projects. He is member of the IRTF Global Access to the Internet for All (GAIA) WG and the IEEE Internet Inclusion initiative. He is vice-chair of the executive board of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC.org). He has coordinated the CONFINE FIRE IP project (2011-­2015) that developed Community-­Lab.net a European-­wide tested for Community Networks.



The proposed tutorial is intended for a broad audience including:

  • Graduate students and researchers in the area of wireless networks and network economics
  • Practitioners in the area of mobile cellular networks
  • Members of community networking initiatives
  • Interested relevant stakeholders such as Telecom operators, Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) and Service Providers (SPs)

Session 1 does not require any technical background, while session 2 requires a basic understanding of distributed systems, and session 3 requires basics of calculus and some optimization theory. However, since the researchers and practitioners that work in the field of Wireless Community Networks have diverse profiles, the aim of the tutorial is to introduce the field and its technical challenges from first principles to a broader audience.