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LTE IoT Network Synchronization

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LTE Applications [2]


Cellular standards and networks have traditionally been optimized for the high throughput requirements of modern smartphones. Recently the Internet of Things (IoT) has emerged as a new application with vastly different requirements. Ericsson predicts, that there will be 15 billion smart devices with Internet connectivity. Potential applications include smart metering, tracking in logistics, environmental sensing, and smart buildings. Two new variants of LTE have been standardized as part of Release 13 in 2016 for this kind of device: LTE Cat-M1 (eMTC) and NB-IoT. They both offer reduced cost and power consumption, as well as improved coverage, but Cat-M1 supports more features and has a higher maximum throughput. As part of our communication platform, we are currently developing a modem, which supports both standards, at IIS.

Project Description

Network synchronization is the first step in the communication between the user equipment (UE) and the base station. It consists of the UE looking for the LTE carrier, correcting for a local time and frequency offset and the acquisition of the most important information about the LTE carrier. The standard provides several signals to aid this process. The increased coverage requirements imply that the noise power is much larger than the signal power (SNR: -12.9dB), making the network synchronization very challenging.

During this project, network synchronization algorithms for LTE Cat-M1 shall be studied, evaluated and implemented. Their performance can be verified in the existing LTE Matlab framework, before they are implemented in hardware and/or software. The hardware implementation can be done in High Level Synthesis (HLS) or VHDL and verified on an FPGA testbed.

Status: Available

Looking for 1-2 Semester/Master students
Contact: Stefan Lippuner


An interest in wireless communication and signal processing
VLSI I and Matlab experience are an advantage


40% Theory, Algorithms and Simulation
40% Hardware/Software Co-Design (C, HLS/VHDL)
20% FPGA Verification


Qiuting Huang

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RF SoCs for the Internet of Things


[1] 3GPP. Release 13., 2016.

[2] Qualcomm. Paving the path to Narrowband 5G with LTE Internet of Things (IoT), 2016

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