Professor opens fireside chat with US Senator Mark Warner on 5G networks and climate change | VTx | Jobs Reply


“A very important feature of 5G that wasn’t present in previous generations of wireless communications is slicing,” said Mehrizi-Sani. “In this process, a physical network is divided into ‘slices’ of virtual networks. This allows us to allocate network resources to different slices based on exactly what they need. This leads to lower costs, better use of the communication infrastructure and higher security.”

For example, renewable energy sources associated with the power system would require a disk that responds quickly due to the fast-acting power electronics involved. In contrast, a hydroelectric generator is slower but may require higher grid availability. Each disc would be adjusted accordingly.

“The best part is that these disks are isolated from each other,” said Mehrizi-Sani. “This isolation means no data leaks from one slice to another, which inherently helps with the cybersecurity and privacy aspects.”

Of course, there are other ways for cyber intruders to attack the system, which is why Mehrizi-Sani stressed the importance of training future engineers for careers in the industry.

“Approximately 30 percent of engineering positions in the energy sector remain vacant due to the lack of qualified candidates,” said Mehrizi-Sani. “In addition, more than 60 percent of power engineering employees are eligible to retire in the next ten years.”

Mehrizi-Sani and his ECE and CCI research colleagues hope to educate and educate the next generation of engineers through related research projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Defense (DoD), and others.

One of these projects, funded by CCI, includes a testbed that enables the integration of power system simulation and 5G simulation in a microgrid. Mehrizi-Sani and his team will use the testbed to conduct controlled experiments, which can then be analyzed to understand the impact at a larger scale (i.e. the current power grid).

“Our team recently worked on the design of 5G-enabled microgrids for military installations,” said Mehrizi-Sani. “In this work, we discussed the necessary cyber-secure measures to control renewable assets within the assets’ power system to ensure resiliency and continuity of service to these critical facilities.”

Thanks to experts like Mehrizi-Sani and support from the Commonwealth, Virginia Tech continues to push the envelope in research into next-generation wireless systems, the grid and cybersecurity that will have far-reaching benefits and applications. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 69 percent of Americans support taking steps to become carbon neutral by 2050. Virginia Tech remains committed to these efforts; For example, in the Climate Action Commitment, the university commits to using 100 percent renewable electricity on campus by 2030.

“We are at a pivotal moment in the energy system where, after nearly three decades of research, development and demonstration, the vision of small, distributed, renewable, inverter-based energy resources for the majority of power generation is on the verge of becoming a reality,” said Mehrizi Sani.

View a recap of the entire event here.



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