The National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent federal agency focused on funding science and engineering research, will soon be breaking ground on two Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) "living laboratories" in Salt Lake City and New York City to serve as city-wide next-generation wireless testbeds for 5G.
With help from 28 other companies, including all four major US wireless operators, NSF says it will conduct early-stage research around wireless devices, techniques, protocols and services. The group's goal is to expedite the market for 5G technology, provide practical training for students and future workers and help the US maintain its wireless leadership position.
In Salt Lake City, the site will focus its research on dynamic spectrum sharing and advanced wireless antenna technologies. In New York City, NSF is focusing on ultra-high-bandwidth and low-latency wireless communications coupled with edge computing. It's also looking at testing the bandwidth and latency limits of 4G in addition to new 5G technologies. The trial will use a program license for mmWave spectrum that the FCC has provided.
The two PAWR sites will be overseen by the PAWR Project Office, which was funded by NSF last year and is run through US Ignite and Northeastern University. NSF says it will spend $50 million on the research platforms over the next seven years, and other members of the public-private partnership will also commit $50 million in cash and in-kind contributions for the sites' equipment, expertise and human resources.
"These research platforms will help to shape the future of wireless networks that will serve as the foundation for critical applications and services in our nation's neighborhoods and municipalities," NSF said in announcing the platforms, which it says are designed to support smart cities.
Some of the specific goals it hopes to achieve include enabling first-responders and surgeons to share real-time data during emergencies, training entry-level workers via immersive, virtual reality systems, and providing seamless communication between vehicles and roadway infrastructure to reduce traffic congestion.
— Sarah Thomas, Contributing Editor, Telco Transformation