Rutgers area to become 'test track' for wireless Internet

December 17, 2003

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Ninety years ago during the Marconi radio era, these two towns lining the Raritan River were hotbeds of wireless research. It's happening again, only this time it's wireless Internet.

The Wireless Information Network Laboratory (WINLAB) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has won a $5.45 million, four-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to construct and operate a facility for researchers around the nation to test the next generation of wireless and mobile networks. This wireless networking test bed will include both a large-scale "radio grid emulator" laboratory and a "field trial" system in and around the Rutgers campus and nearby Central New Jersey communities.

Within the next year or so local residents are likely to reap a high-tech benefit: The equipment used in the field trials will create wireless Internet "hot spots" around the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus. Wireless Web surfers with the appropriate hardware and software will be able to sample conventional and advanced wireless Internet access free of charge and may be the first to try out emerging new mobile terminals and applications.

The project is called the Open Access Research Testbed for Next-Generation Wireless Networks. Its nickname "ORBIT" draws an analogy between planetary orbits and the trajectories of mobile devices in a wireless network. Rutgers is managing the project in collaboration with Columbia University, Princeton University, Lucent Bell Labs, IBM Research and Thomson Inc.

Dipankar Raychaudhuri, electrical and computer engineering professor and director of WINLAB, said ORBIT is a way for researchers from Rutgers and other universities to test emerging wireless networking protocols in a standardized setting and nail down their capabilities each step of the way. "It will allow researchers to eliminate guesswork and speed development of new wireless Internet technologies," said Raychaudhuri.

The two-tiered project will include a new wireless system emulation laboratory to be headquartered at the Technology Centre of New Jersey, a 50-acre research park owned by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority on Route 1 in North Brunswick. Here, an indoor radio grid of about 625 stationary and mobile nodes will give researchers throughout the country remote access for testing of future network concepts under a variety of computer-generated topologies and radio conditions.

"Experiments run will be measurable and reproducible," Raychaudhuri said. "They will produce rich feedback for mobile and wireless protocol designers that should enable researchers to sharpen their concepts before proceeding to the real world."

The real world will be the Rutgers campus and the surrounding towns and suburbs of Central New Jersey. "The field test network will include about 50 nodes running a configurable mix of 3G [third generation] high-speed cellular, along with regular wi-fi wireless access (802.11) like many people have at home," said Raychaudhuri. "There will be both short-range and long-range wireless capabilities with an open application interface that will let researchers test a wide range of protocol and software ideas for the next-generation mobile Internet."

Raychaudhuri said that he expects the combination of laboratory and real-world testing to make the Rutgers region a microcosm of advanced wireless technologies that will attract national attention. "ORBIT will be a magnet for wireless researchers to come and try out new ideas. Some of these eventually may lead to new products or ventures, so the test bed may very well have an impact on the economy and jobs."

Rutgers School of Engineering Dean Michael T. Klein lauded WINLAB and the multi-faceted role ORBIT will play in moving wireless technology forward. "WINLAB is one of the School of Engineering's true steeples of excellence. This major NSF award, which will serve as a focal point for cutting-edge government, industry and multi-university collaborative research, provides an excellent foundation for enhancement of wireless technology," he said.

Just developing the two-tiered test bed is an exercise in innovation, said Michael E. Breton, associate vice president for research and sponsored programs. "WINLAB has long been a leader in the research and development of wireless technology," he said. "The ORBIT test bed will be a significant technological achievement that will underscore WINLAB's leadership position as the next generations of the Internet unfold."

Rutgers University

Related Wireless Articles from Brightsurf:

5G wireless may lead to inaccurate weather forecasts
Upcoming 5G wireless networks that will provide faster cell phone service may lead to inaccurate weather forecasts, according to a Rutgers study on a controversial issue that has created anxiety among meteorologists.

Terahertz receiver for 6G wireless communications
Future wireless networks of the 6th generation (6G) will consist of a multitude of small radio cells that need to be connected by broadband communication links.

Faster LEDs for wireless communications from invisible light
Researchers have solved a major problem for optical wireless communications - the process by which light carries information between cell phones and other devices.

A location system to drive future wireless innovation
There are many barriers to innovation in wireless communications. Inadequate documentation; uncooperative chipset manufacturers; widely varying hardware and software specifications; steep learning curves in the experimentation phase and difficulties in prototyping are among the biggest issues that hamper development.

Novel transmitter protects wireless devices from hackers
MIT researchers have developed a novel transmitter that frequency hops each individual 1 or 0 bit of a data packet, every microsecond, which is fast enough to thwart even the quickest hackers.

New algorithm keeps data fresh in wireless networks
Algorithm provides networks with the most current information available while avoiding data congestion.

Want to make your factory wireless? NIST can guide you!
Knowing that it will take reliable wireless communications to make the smart factory of the not-so-distant future a reality, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published the first-ever set of science-based guidelines to help users select the best wireless system for any specific industrial environment, custom-design the setup to make it work, successfully deploy it, and then ensure that the network performs as needed.

The first wireless flying robotic insect takes off
Engineers at the University of Washington have created RoboFly, the first wireless flying robotic insect.

The future of wireless communications is terahertz
Electrical and optical engineers in Australia have designed a novel platform that could tailor telecommunication and optical transmissions.

Advances open new frequency range for wireless communications
The 'internet of things,' which make everything from your toaster to your front door accessible online, has driven an explosion in data traffic and taken up huge amounts of bandwidth.

Read More: Wireless News and Wireless Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to