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Ambient Networks (AN) is an integrated project (IP) co-sponsored by the European Commission under the Information Society Technology (IST) priority under the 6th Framework Programme. The project addresses the strategic objective of "Mobile and Wireless Systems Beyond 3G". The Ambient Networks project will create the network solutions for mobile and wireless systems beyond 3G. It will enable scalable and affordable wireless networking while providing rich and easy to use communication services for all. It is geared towards increasing competition and cooperation in an environment populated by a multitude of user devices, wireless technologies, network operators and business actors. Ambient Networks offers a fundamentally new vision based on the dynamic composition of networks to avoid adding to the growing patchwork of extensions to existing architectures. This will provide access to any network, including mobile personal networks, through instant establishment of inter-network agreements. The project adopts the design paradigm of horizontally structured mobile systems that offer common control functions to a wide range of different applications and air interface technologies. Such a radical change requires the definition of new interfaces and a multitude of standards in key areas of future media- and context-aware, multi-domain mobile networks. The project's results comprise a complete, coherent wireless network solution; an architecture for self-configuring network components that reduces deployment and operational costs and a complete protocol suite for network composition evolved from IPv6. The results will facilitate incremental market introduction of new services, and will stimulate sustainable growth in the European mobile communications sector.

Ambient Networks brings together a strong industry led consortium of the leading operators, vendors, SMEs, and research organizations, with the determination, skills and critical mass to create cross-industry consensus and to drive standardization. The project is defined over 3 phases. The first will establish the overall approach and will prove its feasibility. The planned effort of more than 2000 person months reflects the strategic and technical ambitions of Ambient Networks in the first 2 years. The Ambient Networks project consortium consists of 45 partners from all over Europe and also outside of Europe.

The role of the Telecommunications Group at the University of Ferrara (which participates through Consorzio Ferrara Ricerche) is to participate to the research activities in the areas of (i) multi-radio access resource management (WP2), (ii) ad hoc networks and mobility (WP4), and (iii) low-mobility ambient networks case study (WP1).
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