Cristian Roman

  • Cristian Roman Cristian Roman was born in Romania but grew up in Paris. After doing a 5-year engineering course at Supinfo in France, he started his research degree at Brookes in September 2012. His thesis title is 'Heterogeneous Parallel Multi-Radio Transmission System in Vehicular Wireless Communications.'

    How did you hear about Oxford Brookes University?

    I heard about Brookes through my former French University, Supinfo. They have an exchange scheme where you can spend your last year of the 5 year engineering course at Oxford Brookes.

    I decided to join the university as a research student for a new international experience and to specialize in the Networks/Telecommunications field.

    What attracted you to Oxford Brookes University to conduct your research?

    After completing my MSc in Broadband Networks at Brookes in 2012 I was offered a scholarship in Wireless Systems for Intelligent Transport Systems from the Brookes ITS group. I was already interested in the field as my MSc dissertation was related to Intelligent Transport Systems.

    The good working relationship I already had with my supervisors, Dr. Peter Ball and Dr. Shumao Ou, was an important factor in my decision to continue, along with being familiar with the working and living environments.

    What were you doing before?

    Before studying for my MSc in Broadband Networks at Brookes, I studied Computer Science for four years at Supinfo International University, on both their Paris and San Francisco Campuses.

    I also completed 18 months of internships across various companies in Europe and the US, working as a Network Administrator or Sales Engineer.

    How easy did you find it to settle into the research environment?

    I had to make the adjustment from having a “taught course” mentality to one where I am an independent researcher. The available resources more than meet my needs, as I can always access information needed for my research, such as journal articles of conference contents.  

    My supervisors are also always open for discussion, and their advice and support has greatly helped in smoothing the transition.

    Tell us about your research.

    My research is based on Heterogeneous Wireless Communications in Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).

    This project is a part of the Faculty’s Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) PhD training programme. The programme uses an electric quad bike as a test vehicle, which is intended to act either as a self-driving vehicle or remotely controlled vehicle. There are a range of projects currently associated with the programme, from both the Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences Department and the Computing and Communication Technologies Department. These include electric motor traction control, computer vision and vehicle design for easy dis-assembly at end of life. The aim of this project is to add a robust and reliable wireless communication link to the vehicle using a technique called heterogeneous wireless communication.

    As the use of wireless systems keeps growing, spectrum is becoming increasingly scarce.  Currently different wireless technologies such as cellular networks, WiFi, Bluetooth and Zigbee are used separately. The aim of heterogeneous wireless communication is to make the best use of the available spectrum regardless of the technology.  Systems will be able to select the best available technology or use different technologies in unity.  This will make better use of the available spectrum and lead to improved and more reliable system performance, as well as providing an answer to the growing demand for capacity without a massive investment in new infrastructure.

    In this project, I am designing an adaptive heterogeneous wireless communication link between the quad bike and its controller. I am considering cellular technologies, such as 3G/4G-LTE (Long Term Evolution), and Wi-Fi technologies. The system will dynamically select the most suitable wireless technology in a given space and time, or it may use the technologies jointly to maximise the throughput or improve the reliability that can be achieved with a single radio technology. The selected approach will depend on the traffic profile, i.e. priority or quantity of the information to be sent/received.

    The challenges in designing such a communication link are to maintain its quality and availability.  I will first design and simulate a new protocol for sending data over a heterogeneous link.  I will then implement and characterise the design between the quad bike and a control station, which will hopefully demonstrate the benefits of the heterogeneous approach.

    What do you enjoy about being a research student?

    As a research student I particularly enjoy building up my skills and knowledge around a subject that I’m interested in. I also enjoy mastering new skills, developing innovative solutions and sharing ideas with other researchers.

    Having a high flexibility in my work schedule is also a pleasant aspect of being a research student, which allows me to get involved with a wide range of supporting activities such as teaching and project supervision in the department and exploring topics around my subject area..  

    What do you think about the research training offered at Oxford Brookes?

    The research training at Brookes provides all the necessary information to be a successful research student. A lot of advice is given on time management, research methods and how to complete a PhD successfully.

    What are your future plans?

    Currently my primary goal is to finish my PhD on time. Following on from that, I will see what opportunities arise in the field of Intelligent Transport Systems at a research level. I hope I will have the opportunity to develop my career by working on a high impact product in the ITS field.