Why Now?

Over the last decade, the use of wireless, Internet-connected devices (e.g., smartphones, connected tablets, and wearables) in the United States has nearly doubled. As the momentum of this exponential growth continues, the transfer of ever-increasing amounts of data intensifies Internet traffic, and the need for increased capacity grows. In addition: 

  • Increases in Internet traffic place never-before-imagined demands on conventional 4G LTE networks and public WiFi networks, which may not be able to keep pace with the growing demand.
  • Wireless carriers, device and equipment vendors, and researchers around the world are looking toward the next generation of wireless technologies (popularly called ‘5G’) and beyond to support this unparalleled growth in devices and traffic.
  • Over the past two years, a new Industry Consortium comprising 30 leading networking vendors, device manufacturers, and wireless carriers has been established to support the PAWR effort, contributing $50 million in cash and in-kind contributions.
  • In the past few years, the United States became the first country in the world to make vast quantities of high-frequency millimeter wave spectrum – frequencies that have the ability to send large amounts of data quickly but that don’t travel as far as the lower-frequency waves used today in 4G networks – available for both licensed and unlicensed use.
  • This newly available millimeter wave spectrum, in combination with other spectrum already available, promises to enable faster speeds and increased capacity in future wireless networks.
  • Research conducted on PAWR platforms will advance robust new wireless devices, communication techniques, networks, systems, and services that will revolutionize the Nation’s wireless ecosystem.
  • PAWR will enable rapid commercialization of promising technologies, provide hands-on practical training to a new generation of graduate students, increase job opportunities, and support overall economic vitality.
  • The results from this effort will sustain US leadership and economic competitiveness in wireless communications and technology for the next decade and beyond.