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White House pledges $400m for 5G wireless research

Super-fast, ultra-low latency, high-capacity networks will enable breakthrough applications for consumers, smart cities and the Internet of Things

 

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The White House says applications that cannot “be imagined” today will be possible
The White House says applications that cannot “be imagined” today will be possible

The US federal government has announced a major funding programme to upgrade the country’s mobile technology infrastructure.

 

The $400m Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, led by the National Science Foundation (NSF), aims to accelerate the deployment of a new generation of wireless networks that will be up to 100 times faster than today. Since 2010, wireless operators have already invested nearly $150bn in 4G LTE technology in the US.

 

This latest initiative will enable the deployment and use of four city-scale testing platforms for advanced wireless research over the next decade.

 

“[Development of] these super-fast, ultra-low latency, high-capacity networks will enable breakthrough applications for consumers, smart cities, and the Internet of Things that cannot even be imagined today,” the White House said in a press statement.

 

The Advanced Wireless Research Initiative involves an $85m investment in advanced wireless testing platforms via a public-private effort, including NSF and more than 20 technology companies and associations.

 

NSF also plans to invest an additional $350m over the next seven years in academic research that can utilise these testing platform alongside complementary efforts from other federal agencies.

 

“These platforms, and the fundamental research supported on them, will allow academics, entrepreneurs, and the wireless industry to test and develop advanced wireless technology ideas, some of which may translate into key future innovations for 5G and beyond,” the White House added.

 

As part of the program, NSF unveiled a $5m solicitation for a project office to manage the design, development, deployment, and operations of the testing platforms, in collaboration with NSF and industry entities.

 

Each platform will deploy a network of software-defined radio antennas city-wide, essentially mimicking the existing cellular network, allowing academic researchers, entrepreneurs, and wireless companies to test, prove, and refine their technologies and software algorithms in a real-world setting.

 

These platforms will allow researchers to conduct at-scale experiments of laboratory-or-campus-based proofs-of-concept, and will also allow four US cities, which will be selected based on open competition, to establish themselves as global destinations for wireless research and development.

 

According to the White House statement possible advances its 5G initiative could bring within the next decade include:

 

  • Mobile phones and tablets that can download full length HD movies in less than five seconds, 100 times faster than 4G (six minutes)
  • Widespread availability of Gigabit-speed wireless broadband in businesses, transportation stations, stadiums, campuses, schools and other spaces
  • Factories equipped with always-connected smart manufacturing equipment that self-diagnose and repair themselves before they break
  • Virtual reality training environments and simulators that allow entry-level workers to develop and demonstrate skills in high-demand fields like solar energy installation—anytime, from anywhere.

 

 

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