Smarter connectivity solutions for the Internet of Things

Hi. My name is Ahmed. I hail from Yemen, but I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. I got my bachelor’s degree in Malaysia in the field of Electronics-Computer and Information Engineering. I’m 25 years old and I like sports and exploring new places and things. I joined Ericsson Research to gain exposure to the latest technologies and to experience research life in industry.

Students from many different fields join Ericsson Research for internships or thesis work. You could be next. Follow our blog to learn about the students at Ericsson Research this summer.

After a thrilling year at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden, I’m half-way through the Master program in Internet Technology and Architecture with a special focus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. I’ve been into the Internet of Things (IoT) and its related technologies since the time I was exploring emerging technologies during my Bachelor studies. So, I was really excited to join the Network Architecture and Protocols department at Ericsson Research, and the unit exploring radio networks for machine type communications to work on real, cutting-edge systems.

Name: Ahmed Al-Haddad
Unit: Network Architecture and Protocols
Education: Internet Technology and Architecture at KTH – Royal Institute of Technology
Location: Kista, Stockholm
Age: 25

With the increasing number of IoT devices, experts have been looking into the best options for connectivity solutions. Given that Bluetooth is already available in billions of devices, it’s considered one of the best candidates, especially with its low power mode, excellent range and a mesh networking feature that enables the extension of networks between nodes. Ericsson is devoting a great deal of effort into the standardization and implementation of the newest IoT enabling technologies to provide future-proof technical advances to the world.

The precise field of research I work in is hardware implementations of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for machine type communication, specifically Bluetooth mesh-networking control messages. Ericsson is contributing to the Bluetooth standard by introducing a new feature that allows Bluetooth devices to communicate in a mesh fashion. My work focuses on prototyping and developing the control messages for test purposes. I use Embedded C for the development, and I test my code on special boards (figure 1) that have the BLE software development stack already in place, so that I only need to focus on developing the logic of the new feature itself. Other software tools are also used to analyze and show the details of the messages exchanged between the boards.

Figure 1: Code, test, and repeat.

My team consists of experienced senior researchers working on the different areas of the project. For example, my specific task comes under the prototyping division, where I’m working on the implementation of the standardization materials. My tasks are also closely related with the work of others, especially when it comes to testing and validation. My enthusiastic mentors

Figure 2. A desk with a view

and teammates encourage me to ask questions and learn as much as I can while I’m here at Ericsson. I really appreciate being able to tackle new things every day and combine them with real work experience, which is great for my personal and professional development. I feel valued and I often take part in important meetings where I’m exposed to the progress of the team and the issues we need to tackle. I have everything I need to ensure my productivity, and I have one of the best workstations in the building! (See figure 2)

As my internship is almost over, I’m grateful to Ericsson and my colleagues for making my summer so rewarding! This experience has taught me how it feels to work in an organized, agile environment as part of a large project. More importantly, I not only improved my technical skills during my short stay here, but I also developed my problem-solving skills in a way that allows me to introduce solutions that combine the efficient use of resources with optimized outcomes. It would be an understatement to say the internship has been a life-changing experience for me.

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