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SBXG: A City-Scale Platform for Advanced Wireless Research

The Notre Dame Wireless Institute (NDWI) and the City of South Bend (CoSB) are creating a city-scale testbed platform for cutting edge wireless research. This testbed is called ‘SBXG - Platform for Advanced Wireless Research’ and will establish South Bend and the Wireless Institute as a global leader for wireless and IoT research and development. Further, SBXG will drive workforce and economic development, help evolve the city’s wireless capabilities and infrastructure and attract research funding and wireless jobs to the city.

SBXG will continue a legacy of successful collaborations between the University of Notre Dame and the City of South Bend. They have been pursuing joint research and economic development projects through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) for 15 years. This has led to technology transfer from Notre Dame into successful startups based in South Bend, such the EmNet Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) network for drainage monitoring and control, as well as startup incubators Innovation Park at Notre Dame and Ignition Park in South Bend. Notre Dame and South Bend are also part of the MetroLab Network, which is a group of more than 35 city-university partnerships focused on bringing data, analytics, and innovation to city governments. Another recent collaboration is the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Laboratory (NDTL) focused on research, testing, and workforce development for a wide range of applications that involve turbomachinery technology.

Advanced Wireless Testbed

NDWI and CoSB are jointly pursuing a funding opportunity NSF - PAWR, the National Science Foundation (NSF) investment to create 4 new city-scale wireless research testbeds called Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR). The SBXG initiative is also pursuing collaborations with other universities, wireless industry leaders, and economic partners, like the IEDC and local/regional foundations.

In July 2016, the White House and NSF announced the PAWR funding of $400M under the Advanced Wireless Research Initiative. The initiative is intended to maintain U.S. leadership in the development of wireless technology and produce the next generation of modern technology. This new program will enable the deployment and use of 4 city-scale testing platforms, each approximately $20M for deployment, towards supporting advanced wireless research over the next decade. An industry consortium of over 20 wireless leaders have committed to an in-kind contribution of $35M. Of the $400M NSF PAWR funding, $50M is for creating the testbeds and $350M is for future years, towards facilities and supporting research on the four platforms.   

The SBXG platform will deploy a city-wide 15-25 antenna site network of software-defined radio city-wide, SDN-NFV and the wireless edge, essentially mimicking a state-of-the-art cellular network. The platform will have a hierarchical HetNet architecture, including macro cells, small cells, WiFi, and indoor cells, allowing academic researchers, entrepreneurs, and wireless companies to test, prove, and refine their technologies and software algorithms in a real-world, at-scale setting. Specific sections of the testbed will support diverse applications such Dynamic Spectrum, Mobility-at-Scale, Agricultural sensors, Drone communications, Internet of Things, mmWave backhaul, Smart City and others. The flexible and adaptable nature of our Base platform will also allow our research customers to integrate their research equipment quickly, as well as work with our Delivery and Planning team to request network changes required for their specific research needs.

Sponsors and Investigators

Currently, the SBXG platform is pursuing various funding opportunities like the NSF PAWR, IEDC and local and regional foundations.

SBXG is a Wireless Institute multi-PI project and is being worked by Notre Dame’s Nicholas Laneman (Lead PI), Richard Billo, Bertrand Hochwald, Jaroslaw Nabrzyski, Aaron Striegel, Jonathan Chisum, Harish Punjabi and many others. Santiago Garces, Chief Innovation Officer, is the lead from the City of South Bend.  

Graduate students involved in this activity include Hamed Pezeshki, Mingming Cai, and Grigoriy Dubrovskiy.

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