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Developing Hands-On Courseware in Advanced Wireless Technologies for Congested and Interference-Limited Environments


Three faculty affiliated with Notre Dame’s Wireless Institute and Department of Electrical Engineering, led by Professor, J. Nicholas Laneman, were recently awarded a grant from the US Office of Naval Research (ONR) to enhance education and training pathways for engineers interested in advanced wireless technologies for sensing, communication, and electronic warfare. The project is titled “Improving STEM Retention through Hands-On Implementation and Red Teaming: A Pilot Curriculum for Congested Communications and Electronic Warfare.”

Over the next several years, the team will help address the increasing demand for students trained in areas that are inadequately addressed, or completely unaddressed, by most academic curricula across the country. Congested or interference-limited wireless environments arise in commercial-commercial settings, e.g., sharing spectrum between cellular LTE and computer WiFi networks, commercial-government scenarios, e.g., sharing spectrum between cellular CBRS networks and Navy radars, and military operations, e.g., sharing spectrum between radar and communications equipment in the presence of intentional interference or jammers. To address these issues broadly, the team will incorporate realistic scenarios, hands-on implementation with software-defined radios, and peer review via red-teaming into an existing third- and fourth-year communication systems course. Courses materials and laboratory software will be disseminated within academic and government labs to promote wider adoption.

The Notre Dame team will collaborate on this project with the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane as well as other industry and government partners. These collaborators will serve as subject matter experts to ensure the course has relevance. They will also allow the team to transfer the course materials from academia for training purposes, particularly throughout the Department of the Navy. Finally, Notre Dame engineering students will benefit from interaction with these experts and potential career development opportunities with their respective organizations.