Ahead of the opening of the AERPAW advanced wireless testbed for general availability, PAWR Industry Consortium partner Ericsson has generously contributed equipment and services for an end-to-end 4G/5G network to support application testing in a real-world environment. The AERPAW platform is designed for experimentation with wireless communications and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Part of that architecture includes a terrestrial network, which the Ericsson equipment will support.
Nearly every industry relies on connectivity today, but most companies don’t have access to network infrastructure to test how connectivity upgrades might impact their business. In agriculture, for example, farms are looking for ways to control systems remotely and automate many of their operations. Innovative new applications will make those functions possible, but only if innovators can test and refine their technology solutions with the advanced wireless networks needed to power them.
Ericsson’s contribution to the AERPAW testbed will create a playground for developers looking to measure and optimize application performance on a live 5G network. Developers will be able to set different parameters for the radio access network (RAN) to determine performance impact, test the effect of a signal handover between network nodes, monitor and correct for environmental interference, and more.
The installation of antennas and base stations is now underway at AERPAW, along with an Ericsson mobile core supporting both 4G and 5G modes, and a general-purpose application server acting as the equivalent of an OSS/BSS system. Ericsson is supplying 4G and 5G radios, antennas, site infrastructure, front-haul infrastructure, 4G and 5G core network, and services to integrate, test, and deploy the network.
Initially researchers will need to work closely with the AERPAW team to set up experiments, but in the future, a remote-access interface will allow testbed users to manage their research efforts with limited AERPAW team involvement. Down the line, researchers will also be able to combine ground-based experiments with tests involving UAV-supported networks.
Ericsson has been a valuable partner in the Industry Consortium since the National Science Foundation started the PAWR program with an initial investment of $50 million. The new Ericsson equipment represents a substantial commitment from one of the world’s leading wireless technology providers, and it combines with contributions from other industry partners to provide significant support from the private sector. Members of the Industry Consortium have committed a total of $50 million worth of funding and in-kind contributions to the PAWR testbeds, with more than $25 million already received by the three PAWR platforms: AERPAW, POWDER, and COSMOS.