Washington – December 1, 2022 – The Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) Project Office announces $2.8 million in new funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) as it continues its mission to accelerate wireless innovation through the shared resource of advanced network testbeds. The new funding aligns with rising global interest in wireless research facilities and underscores the value of programs that expand researcher access to sophisticated and adaptive network testing environments.
The PAWR Project Office (PPO) is jointly run by team members from US Ignite and Northeastern University. Investment by the NSF extends the initial five-year term of the PPO and supports the PAWR platforms as they drive foundational research in areas such as open radio access networks (Open RAN), spectrum sharing, and drone-based wireless systems. Since the program began, the PPO has helped to establish four PAWR platforms or testbeds–POWDER in Salt Lake City, COSMOS in New York City, AERPAW in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, and ARA, a rural broadband testbed currently under construction in Ames, Iowa.
“The shared infrastructure assets of the PAWR program play a crucial role in advancing wireless research and innovation,” said NSF Assistant Director, Margaret Martonosi. “We are excited by the accomplishments of the PAWR platforms, and by the new research they are enabling across both industry and academia. In particular, we are pleased to see the PAWR program democratizing access to new researchers and expanding the geography of innovation. PAWR helps America by facilitating the expansion of researchers who can now contribute to wireless innovation, and also expanding the reach of America’s benefit from it.”
Success for the PAWR program has come in multiple forms:
- In a joint effort with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD R&E), the PAWR program supported development of a prototype dynamic spectrum allocation system built to radically enhance spectrum sharing capabilities.
- Multiple PAWR platforms have partnered with the O-RAN Alliance to test new Open RAN technologies, including as part of a recent event to assess power reduction strategies for Open RAN infrastructure. Open RAN promises to diversify the telecom supply chain and to promote innovation by enabling new participants in the wireless market.
- The PAWR platforms are also emerging as a critical resource for RF data collection. The diverse network environments available across the platforms provide unique opportunities to produce datasets that will help drive the development of algorithms for optimizing radio performance.
- And new opportunities are now available to support application-level research on the PAWR platforms, with example scenarios ranging from the assessment of street traffic patterns with edge computing to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for remote monitoring of agricultural fields.
In addition to the latest investment from the NSF in the PAWR Project Office, the PAWR program continues to win research-specific grants from multiple government agencies, and to leverage significant contributions from its industry partners across the wireless sector. It has also expanded to include Colosseum among its program assets. Colosseum, housed at Northeastern University, is the world’s largest radio-frequency emulator.
“In building the PAWR program from scratch, we have relied heavily on the support of our partners, not only in the form of financial investment, but also in their contributions of time and expertise,” said Mari Silbey, PAWR Program Director. “There is no single organization that can meet the challenges still ahead in the wireless industry, but we believe that when we can match talented minds with the physical and digital infrastructure needed for complex research and experimentation, we can more quickly realize the enormous benefits that wireless technology still has to offer. That is the ongoing objective of the PAWR program, and we are thrilled to be able to continue the work.”
For more information, visit the PAWR website at www.advancedwireless.org.