The ongoing COVID-19 has, once more, highlighted the importance of public safety communications (PSC) in protecting public safety personnel and ensuring life-saving services. As 5G networks transition to higher frequencies, including the mmWave spectrum, integration of PSC solutions into this new spectrum becomes a challenge. Increased data rates, reduced delays, and improved density would lead to the realization of life-critical PSC use cases such as high-quality real-time video streaming and ultra-low-delay communication. These use cases increase the potential demand for PSC in the mmWave spectrum. Conventional spectrum management solutions, such as allocating dedicated PSC bands, are not sustainable. This project develops dynamic mmWave spectrum sharing solutions for public safety communications (DYNAmmWIC) to allow for novel PSC use cases in the mmWave spectrum and design the mmWave spectrum. This vision requires the coexistence of innovations in the radio, network operation management, and network architecture levels. The developed solutions in this project have the potential to fundamentally transform mmWave spectrum usage and accelerate the readiness of the wireless industry for 6G solutions while saving significant costs.

The project explores four main goals to provide a complete radar-5G-public safety communications (PSC) coexistence solution from radio hardware to the network architecture: (1) A joint-radar communication (JARC) system is developed by using the same waveform for both radar sensing and data transmission in commercial and public safety vehicles. (2) A mmWave spectrum sharing solution is developed to dynamically manage the coexistence of operations for PSC, radar sensing, 5G, and V2V communications, pedestrian access, and backhaul in the mmWave spectrum. (3) A novel mmWave next-generation radio access network (NG-RAN) architecture is developed, allowing higher RAN co-operation and integration through proven orchestration tools for rapid development iterations of solutions on a real testbed. (4) A comprehensive evaluation plan complements the developed techniques. The JARC system, implemented at OSU, will augment iLNK, a city-wide, remotely accessible wireless testbed. iLNK is developed at UNL in collaboration with the City of Lincoln, which has proven to be a valuable remote teaching tool during the COVID-19-related restrictions. PIs will work to roll-out educational modules that can be conducted on the remotely accessible iLNK testbed, lowering the barrier to wireless education. This project will be conducted by a highly diverse team of PIs with a long track record of productive collaboration and impacts on diversity. Proposed solutions are rigorously tested to demonstrate a next-generation PSC model to local and national stakeholders.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln
United States
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