Communications technology LABORATORIES

POLIMI currently hosts some labs devoted to the communications technologies. They  offer to the students the opportunity and the tools to improve their hand-on skills, fundamental for completing their professional preparation. The labs are also places where the academic and industrial worlds meet for collaboration on specific research topics and for cross-fertilization. All our labs produce innovative contributions to research in different disciplines that are very well recognized by the international research community.


The Advanced Network Technology Lab (ANTLab) is a research laboratory composed of 4 faculty members and average number of about 10 among PhD students, post-docs, and research associates. Moreover, 15-20 master students per year carry out their final thesis in the lab. The research staff has a solid and recognized expertise on packet networks and in the last decade has focused on different issues of: Wireless Internet, Internet of Things, Internet of Energy.
Research methodologies are based on mathematical models for the performance evaluations and optimization, ad hoc simulation tools and prototype implementations on networked embedded devices. The lab has strong and active collaborations with many companies and international research centers, and is funded by industry research contracts as well as by public grants related to local, national and European research projects. The quality of the research carried out is testified by a large number of scientific publications in International journals and conference proceedings.

In the BONSAI Laboratory there are research and testing activities related to three main strands:

Broadband Optical Switching: The lab studies various issues related to optical networks and optical switching. In particular, the activity on optical networking covers the following topics: modeling, network design and simulation, system interoperability, optical transparency, control plane, synchronization and time distribution. The activity on switching covers the following topics: optical switching architectures, optical Giga-Ethernet synchronous-switching systems for core and metro applications, optical-switch synchronization subsystems, optical backplane and optical interconnections. Lab facilities supporting the networking activity include personal computers mainly dedicated to simulation activities. The optical-switching activity is supported by a hardware testbed equipped by prototypes of optoelectronic switches and synchronous IP routers.

Protocol recognition: We generate and measure traffic flows through the real applications (for example p2p streaming video, web browsing, attacks) that we want to be able to recognize. We train machine-learning real-time recognition algorithms. We evaluate the performance of recognition algorithms in terms of true and false positive rates and other relevant metrics. We enhance the existing algorithms by adding new features. We design and implement system architectures for the real-time classification of flows.

Transport with Quality of Service of multimedia contents: We study the transport of multimedia content through the Internet, both wired and wireless. We propose and analyze new methods for resource planning, admission control, traffic policing, shaping and scheduling to guarantee end-to-end QoS. We study complex multimedia traffic such as MPEG-coded video, which exhibits long-range dependence and self-similarity, particularly difficult to account for while provisioning resources for guaranteeing the end-to-end QoS. We analyze p2p video streaming systems with the objective of defining new rewarding mechanisms for users with powerful CPU resources and high-capacity Internet connections, in such a way to provide better throughput and end-to-end QoS to video streams.

The CE.S.A.R.E. Laboratory (CEntro Studi Applicazioni Radio Elettriche) was created to support Italian SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to face the challenge of Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC). The main missions of the Lab are: to help SMEs to solve EMC-related problems with their products; to evaluate the exposure of population to electromagnetic fields; to offer training courses for technical personnel.
As far as electromagnetic compatibility is concerned, the laboratory can carry out measurements and tests in both full-compliance or pre-compliance regime; moreover, its personnel can support SMEs in the design phase and/or during prototype characterization, exploiting the large knowledge base available at DEI.
The CE.S.A.R.E. lab has a semianechoic chamber, whose dimensions are 7x4x3.5 m and has been qualified in the range 26 MHz to 18 GHz; ancillary instrumentation needed for conducted and radiated immunity and emissions testing is also available.

The experimental station at Spino d’Adda represents one of the most important experimental facilities in Italy (and in the world) as for radio wave propagation on Earth-satellite links. It hosts valuable instruments, property of Politecnico di Milano, of ASI (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana) and of IEIIT-CNR (Istituto di Elettronica e di Ingegneria dell'Informazione delle Telecomunicazioni-Sezione di Milano – Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche).
The most important instruments are: Meteorological S-Band Doppler radar, High gain receiving and transmitting stations (antenna with 3.5- and 5-meter diameter) working in the 12-50 GHz frequency range, Radiometers (single channel at 13 GHz, double channel at 20-30 GHz, triple channel at 20-30-50 GHz), Rain gauge and meteorological station.

GEOSAR labs develop advanced remote sensing techniques for sounding the earth with acoustic radars, electromagnetic radars and sonars.
Geophysical data processing produces images of the subsurface bodies, for oil exploration, non destructive analysis of man made constructions, location of buried objects, passive monitoring of seismic sources, identification of geological boundaries.
Such long experience in geophysical processing, has been applied in the last 20 years in the exploitation of spaceborne and ground based Synthetic Aperture Radars.
GEOSAR labs work in leading SARs applications, like the generation of high resolution microwave images, the monitoring of ground deformations, landslides and subsidences, the design of new modes for the next generation of spaceborne SARs.

The ISPLab (Image and Sound Processing Lab) has developed a strong expertise in multi-view analysis for 3D reconstruction (objects, faces, environments) and behavioural analysis (gesture classification and recognition): in particular, a large room, named "smart-space" is devoted to human action classification. A set of cameras is present at its walls, in a controlled environment, allowing real-time 3D reconstruction of a body model; gesture classification is performed through advanced pattern recognition techniques on these models, providing profitable tools to analyse real contexts like crowded places, remote assistance to old people and disabled persons or suspicious behaviours in sensible areas.
3D reconstruction techniques are also studied for face modelling and for developing recognition engines robust to different poses and illuminations. Further research topic in biometric field is iris segmentation and recognition from single image. Other topics studied at the ISPLab are: video coding (Scalable Video Coding, Distributed Source Coding); pattern recognition for video-surveillance (2D and 3D face recognition, object localization, tracking and classification for security applications); sound analysis (localization, separation, tracking and classification of sound sources); sound production (musical sound synthesis/processing) and processing (sound propagation modelling, real-time environmental acoustic rendering); in-solid vibrational analysis (touch localization/tracking for computer-human interaction).

POLICOM (POLItecnico Optical Communications Milan) Lab ( )is focused in exceeding the transmission limits of very-high capacity modern optical communication systems: from the long-haul transport network to the metro-regional and access networks, to datacom links and to the backplane. PoliCom group carries on the long tradition on optical communication research started in 1995 by CoreCom activities. PoliCom inherited CoreCom enormous theoretical and experimental skills and is exploiting the experience in short/medium term research committed by important industrial partners, such as Pirelli Cables and Systems, Alcatel-Lucent and Prysmian Group. PoliCom Lab is equipped with state-of-art instruments and equipments (e.g. arbitrary waveform generators, real-time oscilloscopes, BER testers, transmission link test beds) for very high-speed system experimentation. The system behavior is also modeled by means of dedicated software tools. 

 Main relevant research area:

  • Access networks and PONs: cost-effective and colorless solutions for PON applications based on the exploitation of RSOAs at the ONU side; multicarrier solutions (OFDM and FDM based) compliant to NG-PON2 standard; RSOA-based architectures for WDM-PON; innovative solutions for LTE and 5G fronthaul applications.
  • Mode-division multiplexing networks: novel multiplexing/routing layer based on optical modes; passive and all-optical modes multiplexer/demultiplexer development for LP and OAM modes; low-complexity MIMO solutions for few-mode fiber links.
  • Very-high throughput transmission for metro networks: innovative solutions for multi-Tb transmission; exploitation of the capabilities of novel components and devices (such as VCSELs) to achieve low-cost, reduced footprint and energy-efficient performance; exploitation of multicarrier modulation formats.
  • Backplane-based interconnections: fiber-based optical backplane development; full-mesh interconnection solutions; optical backplane transparency.

Moreover, Policom research is focused also in the development of novel fiber optics sensors for:

  • monitoring of vibrations and pressure,
  • distributed measure of temperature,
  • measure of electrical current and voltage.

POLICOM research group is one of the founders of the interdepartmental “Laboratory on Fibre Optic Sensors” (LAFOS) of Politecnico di Milano. The LAFOS laboratory was born in 2014 from a joint idea of 4 research groups belonging to 4 departments (DMEC, DAER, DEIB, DICA), each working on very different application with the same technology: optical fiber sensors. Joining the technical competences was thus a natural and positive consequence. This laboratory is revealing fundamental in accelerating and facilitating the development of actual and new activities, thanks not only to the coagulation of the competences, but also thanks to the new instrumentation purchased by the laboratory.

Finally, in 2014, some team members have founded Cohaerentia, an innovative start-up which aims to develop commercial products based on fiber optic sensors. For further information please refer to the official website:

Located in Como, the Sound and Music Computing Lab was founded in 2006 by the Image and Sound Processing Group (ISPG) of the Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, with the help and support of the Polo Regionale di Como.
The laboratory collects expertise from the ISPG Lab in the areas of audio and acoustics and focuses on various research projects in these areas. The laboratory also supports some of the didactic activities of the curriculum on “Sound Engineering and Design”, of the Computer Science and Engineering Degree program.
The SMC laboratory includes the following facilities:

Experimental recording studio – 120 sqm of acoustically-controlled environment that accommodates traditional musical instruments (including a grand piano and a drum set), electronic and virtual musical instruments. The control room is equipped with a digital multichannel recording system that includes a 48-channel digital mixer (Yamaha 02R96), a storage system (Alesis HA24, 24 channels at 96 KHz and 24 bit), and a high-performance mainframe that accommodates high-end sound acquisition cards (32 full-duplex channels at 192 KHz, 24 bit). The studio also includes various multi-effects, MIDI patch bays, and MIDI controllers.

Rendering room – a quiet and “dry” room (almost anechoic), used for experiments of acoustic and audio-visual rendering. The room is completely lined with heavily absorbing material and its acoustics can be freely modified by properly positioning diffusive panels. The almost anechoic behavior of the room enables experiments of holophonic rendering based on loudspeaker arrays.

Open space lab multi-purpose lab equipped with numerous PC workstations, MIDI keyboards and multichannel soundcards. This lab focuses on a wide range of applications that require PC-intensive work. It currently focuses on space-time processing techniques based on arrays of microphones (such as source localization, tracking and separation), arrays of speakers (acoustic beamforming, geometric wavefield synthesis, etc.), sound synthesis and sound/voice analysis.

HCI Lab – The Human-Computer Interaction Lab was set up in collaboration with Como’s Conservatory of Music, for research and didactic experiments of HCI in musical applications. In this lab it is possible to develop novel HCI mechanisms and conduct experiments with them, using specialized sensors and motion tracking systems for multimodal applications. In addition to the workstations with multichannel sound cards, microphones and MIDI keyboard, the laboratory is equipped with a Theremin Etherwave, two firewire cameras, a projector, a multitouch surface control Lemur/Jazzmutant, two Wacom graphic tablets, control devices used for gaming applications such as joystick, gamepad and Wii. The laboratory also enables the handling of other types of sensors (Arduino, Wiring, Eobody, I-CubeX) for the development of novel HW and SW prototypes.

The Wireless System Lab (WisyLab) is dedicated to link-level simulation, DSP and FPGA design and implementation of physical layer (PHY) of wireless communication systems (GSM, UMTS, WiMax, LTE) using SDR (Software defined Radio) techniques.

Design packages, available at WisyLab, include complete DSP IDE tools from Texas Instruments, for C/C++/ASM programming and debugging, and FPGA EDA tools, for VHDL programming, simulation and implementation, from Xilinx, National Instruments MathWorks and Mentor Graphics. Over 30 DSP Starter-Kit TMS320C5402 boards are used for class teaching and fast prototyping. In addition, PXI virtual instrumentation devices (100 Msps arbitrary waveform generators and 64 Msps acquisition boards) from National Instruments PXI are employed for signal acquisition, generation and off-line processing. A 2x2 MIMO test-bed (scalable up to 4x4 nodes) with RF up/down converters and generators/analyzers has been developed in cooperation with WisyTech, spin-off of the Politecnico di Milano and the National Research Council (CNR).