US Ignite's Silbey: Wireless testbed research can help smash tech silos

AUSTIN – Big 5G Event – Mari Silbey, the program director for the Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program at US Ignite, reminds us that there are some significant resources available for companies and public agencies to research and test hardware and software components in the radio access network. The public-private partnership offers testbeds that have radio, compute, storage and cloud resources that can help folks, for example, work on network performance improvements or come up with optimal ways to share spectrum across multiple stakeholders in an open RAN network.

The PAWR program isn't focused on any particular generation of wireless tech, Silbey said, but they are looking at how to use network data to better inform AI and machine data sets, which will have several practical applications in 5G and 6G networks. As drone technology advances, she notes that there's a need for autonomous vehicle operations without as much human intervention, especially for visual line-of-sight. To make that happen, AI and ML engines need to be fed lots of data about how networks behave in various conditions. One of the PAWR test sites provides the hardware, software and flight capabilities for experiments like that to happen.

US Ignite's PAWR program and organizations like the National Spectrum Coalition – which Light Reading also covered this week – are public-private partnerships that can help keep technologists, researchers, and for-profit companies from working in silos – and speed up the pace of innovation, Silbey said. The assets in the PAWR program "are meant to be shared national infrastructure assets, that that's what we want them to be," she said.

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Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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