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Virginia Tech to Advance Wireless Networks with $2.5 Million Grant

A Virginia Tech research team will use funding from the National Science Foundation, backed by the White House, to create solutions to issues around future wireless communication networks.

Following the recent launch of the White House’s Advanced Wireless Research Initiative led by the National Science Foundation (NSF), a research team at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) announced it is receiving $2.5 million from NSF to fund five research projects that address critical issues around emerging wireless communication networks. Wireless @ Virginia Tech, a cognition and communication center at the university, is conducting the research projects.  

The White House and NSF initiative aims to achieve next-generation wireless communication networks and technology and increase today’s speeds by up to 100 times.

"The five research projects awarded to Virginia Tech are intended to propel the technological revolution of wireless for decades ahead, from spectrum management to the Internet of Things,” said Thyaga Nandagopal, program director at NSF, in a news release.

The research projects are:

  • The largest award of $830,356 will fund a project that researches ways to overcome the limitations of low-quality radio receivers that cause interference or are susceptible to interference.
  • A second award of $600,000 will fund upgrades to Virginia Tech’s Cognitive Radio Network Testbed (CORNET), a collection of 48 software-defined radio nodes. CORNET will be used to test new concepts in wireless access, such as using artificial intelligence to control the radios. The grant will also support educational and outreach efforts to reach students and STEM professionals.
  • The third award for $400,000 will be used to build tomorrow’s cellular systems to support bandwidth-intensive wireless applications, such as HD video streaming on mobile devices. In addition, the award will support underrepresented student groups in research by providing hands-on projects and outreach events.
  • Another $400,000 award will fund a study on how to handle potential interference from the Wireless Internet-of-Things (W-IoT). Project participants will work to create a way for W-IoT devices to automatically apply interference management techniques to resolve any interference.
  • The fifth award of $375,000 is part of $1 million collaborative project with Temple University and the University of Arizona. The project seeks to create solutions that allow unlicensed-LTE, WiFi and dedicated short-range communications to operate together without issues arising.

Faculty members from Wireless @ Virginia Tech and the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering will work together on the five projects.

“Virginia Tech is a world leader in radio spectrum and cognitive radio research,” said Michael Buehrer, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of Wireless @ Virginia Tech, in a news release. “We are pleased NSF has invested in our efforts to drive research to the next level in support of the White House’s initiative.”

Further information about the research projects is available on the Wireless @ Virginia Tech site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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