PAWR Newsletter – November 2021


November 2021

Welcome to the monthly PAWR update. Each month we deliver a technical summary for the program including updates on: POWDERCOSMOSAERPAW, ARA, and Colosseum.



After coordination with OAX Labs, the POWDER team is pleased to announce the availability of end-to-end 5G Open Air Interface capabilities as part of the platform’s indoor over-the-air wireless lab. POWDER is now offering a profile that includes the container based-OAI 5G core network running on a single host and coupled with a 5G-NR RAN leveraging a software-based OAI gNodeB and multiple user endpoints. The gNodeB and UEs are delivered via software defined radios with associated server-class compute.

This setup targets the POWDER Paired Radio Workbench environment, which features pairs of NI X310 radios directly attached through 30 dB attenuators (see image). Access to the new OAI 5G profile is available on the POWDER portal.

In further OAI news, the POWDER team will support the Fall 2021 OpenAirInterface Workshop coming up December 8-9. This year the workshop will feature hands-on lab sessions as well as technology demos. POWDER will be supporting one of the hands-on RAN sessions and will also showcase various POWDER configurations that support OAI research or development.

POWDER is also involved in the O-RAN Alliance 3rd Global Plugfest. As part of the plugfest POWDER is one of seven venues supporting a total of 77 companies across the globe in testing and proof-of-concept demonstrations. Technical work will be completed by the end of November 2021.

From a RENEW perspective, the POWDER platform now supports both downlink and uplink mMIMO in the platform’s anechoic chamber. The team has installed a reference node that allows the mMIMO base station to perform reciprocity calibration to enable downlink transmissions using training from uplink data. A documented series of basic experiments with the mMIMO platform is available. Descriptions of some of these experiments and performance results are available on the RENEW website.




In response to the NSF Dear Colleague Letter 20-046, three teams recently received a supplement award to conduct advanced wireless experimental research in the NSF PAWR COSMOS testbed. Professor Leandros Tassiulas from Yale University received a supplement to his current NSF project NETS: Small: Optimizing Network Control and Function Virtualization in Internet of Things Architectures. Professor Ahmed S. Ibrahim from Florida International University has been awarded supplemental funding to his current NSF project NETS: Small: Towards mmWave-based Vehicular Communications. Professor Boulat Bash from the University of Arizona has been awarded a supplement to his NSF project FET: Small: Quantum-secure Quantum-enhanced Covert Networks over Generalized Bosonic Channels. More details are available online.

The NGIatlantic 3rd open call funds a collaborative project between Open AR Cloud (OARC) association, COSMOS, and Rutgers/WINLAB. The project is titled “Deployment and Evaluation of a 5G Open Spatial Computing Platform in a Dense Urban Environment.” It will focus on Spatial computing which is a broad term for a suite of technologies that result in users being immersed, engaged, and interacting with spatial and temporal digital information that pertain to the physical space in, around, and near the user. It consists of a superset of technologies required for traditional augmented reality. More details are available online.



The PAWR program officially announced general availability of the AERPAW platform on November 9 in conjunction with the NSF AERPAW Fall 2021 event. The team showcased demos of platform experiments at the event, hosted several panel discussions, and held tutorial sessions on AERPAW testbed use for interested researchers. Congratulations to the team!




ARA has focused on software development and infrastructure deployment planning in the last month and has made major progress in enabling container-based access for remote experimenters. The team now has a minimum viable product that enables container access to compute resources (e.g., base station computers) and associated accessories (e.g., SDRs). The ARA team is making progress in further refining this MVP to incorporate more ARA support.

On the construction front, ARA has also completed site construction designs and detailed line diagrams (showing how the individual components are connected) for the ISU Wilson Hall and Research Park sites, and the team is working with the ISU Procurement Team on the bidding process for the installation of ARA equipment in both locations. ARA is also making progress in the construction design for the two additional Phase-1 sites at ISU Curtiss Farm and ISU Agronomy Farm. (See image of phenotyping cameras at the ISU Curtiss Farm below.)



Northeastern University hosted a Young Gladiators camp in early November to train students from 15 different universities on the use of Colosseum for AI and wireless communications research.

This week the Colosseum team is participating in Open 5G Forum with demos of SRSRAN and OAI-5G in the Colosseum environment.