Computer Systems and Engineering Seminar Series

mmWave Networking and Beyond

Speaker:Heather Zheng
Department of Computer Science, University of California, Santa Barbara
Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Time: 11:45am - 1:00pm
Location: 330 Gross Hall, Duke
Lunch will be served.


Millimeter wave (mmWave) communications, especially in the 60GHz band, is a promising candidate for high-bandwidth wireless networking. These high-frequency signals enable steerable and highly directional multi-Gbps transmissions that minimize interference, and will be integrated into the next generation of mobile devices. Despite these advantages, 60GHz links today are still poorly understood, and current applications are strictly limited to short-distance indoor communications, e.g. digital cable replacements for TVs and laptops.

In this talk, I will present some key results from my lab on 60GHz networks, including novel applications in mobile imaging and control planes for modern data centers. I'll begin with our work on mobile 60GHz radar imaging, where we address the problem of environmental mapping for autonomous devices such as drones and robots. We propose that a mobile device reuses its 60GHz networking radio to capture signals reflected off surfaces of nearby objects, and moves to emulate a large antenna for high-precision RF imaging. Conventional imaging algorithms like synthetic aperture radar (SAR) provide poor precision results that are highly sensitive to device positioning errors and movement. Instead, we propose a new 60GHz imaging algorithm, RSS Series Analysis, which images an object by applying pattern matching against signal strength measurements recorded along the device's moving trajectory. Our algorithm not only discovers position of nearby objects, but also object surface orientation, curvature, boundaries, and surface material. Our system has been implemented on a 60GHz testbed, and tested on a variety of common household objects with high (cm level) accuracy.

In addition, I will summarize our work in integrating 60GHz wireless links into modern data centers. We started by proposing reflecting 60GHz links off of data center ceilings as a link-layer primitive to address traffic hotspots. Our recent work leverages these links to build a fault-independent control plane for data centers using a 60GHz mesh built using Kautz graphs. This "facilities network" reduces link interference with intelligent rack placement and naming, and uses dynamic algorithms to recover from most link and rack failures.


Heather Zheng received her PhD degree from University of Maryland, College Park in 1999. After spending six years as researcher in industry labs (Bell-Labs, USA, and Microsoft Research Asia), she joined the UC Santa Barbara faculty in 2005, where she is now a Professor. At UCSB, she co-directs the SANDLab ( with a broad research coverage on wireless networking and systems, mobile computing, security, and data mining and modeling. Her research has been featured by a number of media outlets, such as the New York Times, Boston Globe, LA Times, MIT Technology Review, and Computer World. Some of her awards include the IEEE Fellow, the MIT Technology Review's TR-35 Award (Young Innovators Under 35) and the World Technology Network Fellow Award. She recently served as the TPC-cochair of MobiCom '15 and DySPAN '11, and is currently serving on the steering committee of the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing and the editorial board of the IEEE Transactions on Networking.

Hosted by:
Benjamin Lee (ECE)