Two Finalists Compete for Developing City-scale Wireless Research Testbed


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The Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program yesterday announced the selection of two finalists in the competition to name a fourth city-scale wireless research testbed aimed at studying novel ways to reduce the cost of broadband delivery to rural communities. 

Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a consortium of 35 leading wireless companies and associations, each finalist will receive $300,000 for further platform development. According to the PAWR, the program’s goal is to find next-generation wireless technology stacks that can deliver less expensive and better bandwidth to rural areas of the country that are not well-served by traditional cable and fiber networks nor current wireless cell tower coverage.

According to PAWR, the finalists are ARA, a Wireless Living Lab for Smart and Connected Rural Communities, led by Iowa State University and the city of Ames, Iowa; and NEXTT, the Nebraska Experimental Testbed of Things, led by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the city of Lincoln, Nebraska. 

“We are pleased to have two finalists with strong technical expertise and multi-stakeholder commitment, particularly given the importance of improving rural broadband and ensuring a foundation of connectivity upon which all Americans can build,” said Joe Kochan, CEO of US Ignite, Inc., and Project Director for the PPO, which spans US Ignite and Northeastern University. “These teams have the potential to support groundbreaking research, and we’re thrilled to be able to fund further development work in a way that will position them well for future opportunities both within and beyond the PAWR program.” 

The final PAWR platform chosen will join three existing testbeds funded by the public-private partnership: POWDER in Salt Lake City, which is focused on software-defined networking and massive MIMO research; COSMOS in the West Harlem neighborhood of New York City, targeting programmable networks and innovation in optical backhaul; and AERPAW in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, focused on wireless communications for unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

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