Wireless Communications

The Research Unit Wireless Communications drives the development of real time communication systems in the area of reliable sensor and actuator communication, in order to level up research in close collaboration with our partners.

Wireless Security on lowest latency and energy budget

Sensor and actuator networks are an inevitable part of machinery, factory floor and complex environmental sensing. The actual challenge is the development of reliable and trustworthy wireless communication to allow industry 4.0 and cyber physical systems heading to more flexibility. The existence and availability of trustworthy wireless real time communication raises innovation potentials for industry partners to strengthen and expand their position on the world markets.


  • Reliable wireless communication networks
  • Security and safety in wireless communication networks
  • Seamless integration of wireless and wired communication networks
  • Direct wireless access to sensors on unconventional substrates and surfaces

Research Competencies

  • Wireless communication in smart factories, in the production cell or cars to reduce cable harness.
  • Seamless integration of wireless sensors and actuators into the wired world.
  • Development of communication and security concepts for industry 4.0 and cyber-physical systems (CPS) for green and versatile production with improved flexibility.
  • CPS for distributed and event-driven computing, closely coupled with high security within a networked smart factory.
  • Standardization of smart sensors and actuators with special focus to energy efficiency.



Focus and More

Dependability and adaptability are twin subjects to be addressed. Multi-user scenarios, channel selection, channel access, data rate and latency will shape the research on use cases and availability of resources. The number of simultaneously operated users with a certain QoS is strongly depending on optimized and flexible resource management. As one result, a standard or other answer have to be flexible enough to cover a high variability to reach adapted solutions to allow optimization in different circumstances.

This network architecture also must support real-time capabilities of the network and uses three primary principles: Functional linkage abstraction, opportunistic wireless links and global QoS decoupling to support the real time requirement. Use-cases for real-time communication can be split into worst case latency for sporadic command messages, minimal jitter for cyclic messages, and max bandwidth for data acquisition tasks.

Future production systems will consist of flexibly combinable mechatronic production modules where the physical setup is constantly changing (i.e., metamorphic production systems). This demands highly flexible communication where interaction patterns are frequently changing based on current production demands and current physical production setup.

Energy efficient communication is also a major research focus which is supported by results of previous topics. With some extensions, it leads to energy harvesting sensor nodes with limited hardware capability. Energy harvesting and sensing is for RFID with wireless power transfer (WPT) and Data transfer will be a mutually profiting task for ultra-low power sensors in hard-to-reach positions or harsh environments.

Safety and Security is supported by distance bounding which allows to define conditions and environments for key exchange. Applications like keyless entry systems rely on improved distance bounding targeted by research on localization for peer to peer or in networks with multi anchor strategies. The use of smart antennas for space diversity adds many degrees of freedom to improve localization and lays base for theoretical an experimental research in demonstrator systems. All these measures can be compressed in trust indicators that measure QoS and consequently produce a useable indicator whether or not we shall trust the system and work as normal. Otherwise, in a fault-case, it must be switched to a fail save rescue mode. In this lab, research on cryptographic protocols supporting the introduction of PHY layer measures (latency, synchronicity….) is planned. To simplify support cryptography, physical properties and precautions will also be investigated (e.g. physical unclonable functions, minimal TPMs etc.) in addition to initialization/lifecycle aspects. All these measures support edge computing security and safety to prevent the nodes or even hubs from backbone problems like connection drop and other connection related attacks.

Your contact person

Dr. Hans-Peter Bernhard

Head of Research Unit Wireless Communications

e-mail: Hans-Peter.Bernhard@silicon-austria.com

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