Latest PAWR Testbed to Focus on Rural Broadband

The National Science Foundation’s Advanced Wireless Research Platforms (PAWR) program has added a fourth test space to large-scale wireless research platforms located in the United States. The new PAWR test site will focus on broadband services in rural areas.

The latest test field will include Iowa State University, Ames and other partners, as well as surrounding farms and rural communities in central Iowa, and will focus on low-speed, high-speed broadband connectivity in rural areas. Iowa was named finalist for the test site project last year. The other test beds are: POWDER-RENEW in Salt Lake City, Utah; COSMOS in New York’s West Harlem neighborhood; and AERPAW in the North Carolina Research Triangle area.

The NSF will provide $ 7 million in funding, and the National Department of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (NIFA) will provide another $ 1 million in in-kind contributions from the PAWR industry consortium to match federal investment.

PAWR project for rural broadband

The test site, defined as ARA: Wireless Living Laboratory for Smart and Connected Rural Communities, will focus on a wide range of wireless technologies as well as precision agriculture on both crop and livestock farms.

ARA interactive coverage map Source: ARA

Select ARA partners include the Iowa Communications Network (ICN), the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Iowa State Interoperable Communications System (ISICS), the Iowa Regional Utilities Association (IRUA), the Iowa Communications Alliance, Ames, Story County. , local school districts, the Meskwaki tribal nation, Woodland Farms, US Cellular, Collins Aerospace and John Deere.

The ARA test site will be a “heterogeneous network environment” using a wide range of wireless technologies. For the feedback connection, ARA will use a “multimodal, high-capacity wireless network,” which will include low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite links (FSOC) and long-wavelength (mmWave) satellite connections, and microwave point communication. to the point. In the Radio Access Network (RAN), ARA will use television white spaces and CBRS spectrum, as well as spectrum in several other bands.

The ARA platform will use software-defined radios (SDRs) and programmable ready-made equipment to support research in areas such as band aggregation, channel connectivity and dynamic spectrum sharing – capabilities that are expected to lay the groundwork for more affordable broadband services in rural service.

“Ericsson is excited to contribute our equipment and expertise to this innovative rural innovation platform,” said Paul Schaloner, North America’s vice president of networking solutions, in prepared opinion for the PAWR broadband project. “The ARA will help redefine research capabilities in rural America, together with PAWR and NSF, to develop technologies to address the digital and mobile divisions currently in the United States. The ARA platform will provide the insights and technological advances needed to stimulate and support America’s rural economy. “

Joan Engebretson contributed to this report.