Open API, Unbundled, Open Source, and Testbeds

Open API, Unbundled, Open Source, and Testbeds Topical Session

This track will continue the work from the past successful IEEE 5G Testbed Workshop focusing on Open source, Open API, unbundled software and experimental testbeds for 4G, 5G and Beyond Telecom networks. Specifically, we have included examples of wireless private-public partnerships from Europe, US, Canada, South Africa, India and Silicon Valley.

In addition to demonstrations in the Exhibit Hall throughout the IEEE 5G World Forum, we have planned a 5G Lab tour on Monday night, an opportunity to see, touch and feel cutting-edge 5G testbeds and to network with others in this arena through a social event including food and beverages to those that sign up in advance. Details to follow shortly.

The objective of this track is to bring together developers, practitioners, technical experts and researchers to share experiences and advance the state of the art in all aspects of 5G systems prototyping, evaluation, and testing that use Open source, Open API and unbundled Radio Access and edge core Telecom networks – RAN, EPC and higher levels.

The track also aims to solicit contributions and promote discussion on the novel methodological studies and experimental paradigms for future 5G testbeds and co-development and co-deployment of experimental platforms. Of particular interest are ideas on extending publicly available testbeds with 5G related technologies as they become available and how they can be used to address common technological and scientific problems that are related to advanced wireless systems.




Time Name Affiliation Topic
11:00 Upkar Dhaliwal Future Wireless Technologies Session Introduction
11:10 Tom Sawanobori CTIA Keynote: The Global Race to 5G – what spectrum and policies are needed to ensure the US is a leader
Status of Global efforts towards 5G era of Private Public Partnerships
11:40 Serdar Vural University of Surrey EU SoftFIRE Federated and Orchestrated Virtualisation Testbed
12:00 Charles Despins École de Technologie Supérieure Canada P-P-P
12:20 Abhay Karandikar IIT Challenges in Broadband Connectivity in India: Frugal 5G
12:40 Fisseha Mekuria CSIR, Africa South Africa P-P-P Opportunities in 5G for Open and Affordable Broadband Networks: Addressing the Next Billion Unconnected
1:00 Lunch
2:00 Abhimanyu Gosain US-Ignite, Northeastern University Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research
2:30 Q&A to Panel of P-P-P speakers SCV Testbeds Developing and Deploying Programmable 5G White Boxes in the Edge Clouds
2:55 Shashi Mariputtana Intel Open Equipment
3:15 Tom Tofigh AT&T Open Equipment
3:30 Sassan Ahmadi Xilinx Open FPGA
3:45 Vinay Gupta Polaris Networks Open Equipment
4:00 Coffee Break
Specific Examples of Technologies and Implementations in Open/Public Networks
4:30 David Witkowski Joint Venture Silicon Valley Keynote
4:50 Natasha Greer City of Sacramento Panel: 5G Public-Private Partnerships
J. Guevara City of San José
5:20 Luis Mirabal Ex-Qualcomm Open mmWave
5:40 Tom Bilotta Assured Wireless Assured Wireless
6:00 Jari Vikstedt ETS Lindgren 5G and mmWave Device Measurement Challenges
6:20 Upkar Dhaliwal Future Wireless Technologies Session Closeout



Tom Tofigh, AT&T

Tom is currently a Principal Member of Technical Staff in the AT&T’s Domain 2.0 architecture and planning Labs at AT&T. Tom has been responsible for planning and implementation of large-scale telecommunications equipment He has extensive experience that spans across many disciplines including 5G networks. Tom is currently representing AT&T at Open Networking Foundation working on Open Source CORD.  Tom previously was chair of application working group for 5 years, and held software management positions at various switching companies. He was an adjunct at GWU teaching advanced networking courses.   He is co-editor of couple of books on 4G networking and QOS Architecture for wireless networking.  He holds over 50 patents awarded and many more pending.

Sassan Ahmadi, Xilinx Inc.

Dr. Sassan Ahmadi is the Director of 5G Wireless Systems and Standards with Xilinx Inc., and a Lecturer at Stanford University with over 30 years of experience in signal processing and communication system design as well as cellular systems standards development. Previously, he held senior positions at Apple, Intel and Nokia. He has authored two recent books on wireless communications, “LTE-Advanced, A Practical Systems Approach to Understanding 3GPP LTE Releases 10 and 11 Radio Access Technologies”, Academic Press, 2013 and “Mobile WiMAX, A Systems Approach to Understanding IEEE 802.16m Radio Access Technology”, Academic Press, 2010 and over 80 patents/patent applications on various aspects of 4G and 5G radio access networks. He is the co-author of six other books as well as and the author of more than 20 refereed journal and conference papers. He has taught graduate courses at Stanford University since 2014 and University of California, San Diego between 2000 and 2003.

Tom Bilotta, Assured Wireless

Principal, founder, consultant, you name it, and Tom Bilotta’s done it.

Tom clings to his serial entrepreneurial roots, bridging the gap between business strategy and technology.

Tom served in high-level positions at eight high-tech startups and coordinated three successful exits, with cumulative valuations in excess of $170 million. The high-performance teams he led developed many of the world’s firsts in communications and electronics technologies.

As a key player in multiple tech organizations –TurboNet Communications, Malibu Networks, Rainbow Network Systems, and Nextivity – Tom upped the value of new companies 15-30 times their initial worth in one to three years.

Tom has always been fascinated by connectivity solutions from the product and business development side, and has publicized his works in multiple wireless and entrepreneurship journals.

Tom has established himself as an expert as evidenced by the six communications-related patents he wrote and the significant IP analysis he conducted for leading telecommunications companies. He holds an MBA in entrepreneurship from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.


Charles Despins, École de Technologie Supérieure

Charles Despins’ career has spanned more than 30 years in both the academic and industry segments of the information and communications technologies (ICT) sector. Following academic work as a faculty member of the Institut National de Recherche Scientifique (Université du Québec), he held various posts in the private sector, namely at Bell Nordiq Group as vice-president and chief technology officer, as a consultant for wireless network deployments in India and China and for 13 years, as President and CEO of Prompt inc., an ICT research and development consortium.

In 2016, he returned to academia and is currently Vice-president – research, partnerships and faculty affairs as well as Professor of Electrical Engineering at École de Technologie Supérieure (Université du Québec) in Montreal, Canada. His research interests focus on wireless communications. Dr. Despins is a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada and a recipient (2006) of the Outstanding Engineer award from IEEE Canada. He is a former recipient of the “Best Paper of the Year” award in IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology. He is currently a frequent advocate on issues regarding the opportunities ICT offer to achieve sustainability in the 21st century.

Abhimanyu (Manu) Gosain, Northeastern University

Abhimanyu (Manu) Gosain is a Technical Program Director at Northeastern University. In this role, he is in charge of setting strategic goals and the research agenda of a $100 million public-private partnership; Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR). His numerous professional publications and experience exemplify use-inspired basic research in the field of networking technologies such as LTE, Dispersed computing, Edge computing and Internet of Things.  He has organized and participated in technical program committees, workshops and panels at premier venues such as IEEE InfoCom, ACM SIGCOMM, ACM MobiCom and IEEE VTC. He was formerly the lead wireless engineer for the NSF GENI program at Raytheon BBN Technologies. He is an IEEE Senior Member. He received his M.S. degree from Tufts University and M.B.A. from Boston University with High Honors.

Talk Title: Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research 

Vinay Gupta, Polaris Networks

Vinay Gupta, Chief Technology Officer and a Co-Founder of Polaris Networks (, is a technologist with over twenty years in the telecommunications and networking industry. He has steered the company’s R&D in protocol software and test tools in technologies such as Wireless LAN, WiMAX, RFID. LTE, IoT and now 5G. Previously, he was the head of the Agilent Technologies R&D center in Kolkata. Vinay has a BS in Computer Science from IIT Mumbai, and an MS in Computer Science from UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


Abhay Karandikar, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur

Professor Abhay Karandikar is currently the Director, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. Dr Karandikar is also a Member (part-time) of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Before joining IIT Kanpur as the Director in April 2018, he served as Institute Chair Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. He also served as Dean (Faculty Affairs) at IIT Bombay from February 2017 to April 2018 and Head of the Electrical Engineering Department from January 2012 to January 2015. He was the coordinator of Tata Teleservices IIT Bombay Center for Excellence in Telecom (TICET), National Center of Excellence in Technology for Internal Security. He spearheaded a national effort in setting up Telecom Standards Development Society of India (TSDSI), India’s standards body for telecom with participation of all stakeholders. Prof Karandikar is the founding member and Chairman of TSDSI. Currently, he is working as a consultant to provide technical expertise in design and implementation of BharatNet, Government of India’s flagship initiative under Digital India program. Dr Karandikar has several patents issued and pending, contributions to IEEE, 3GPP standards, contributed chapters in books and large number of papers in international journals and conferences to his credit.

Dr. Karandikar was awarded with IEEE SA’s Standards Medallion in December 2016 in New Jersey. His team also won Mozilla Open Innovation challenge prize in March 2017. He is a two time recipient of award for excellence in teaching at IIT Bombay- in 2006 and 2011. He is co-author of papers which won the Best paper awards in ACM MobiHoc 2009, Workshop on Indoor and Outdoor Small Cells WiOpt2014 and finalist for the best paper award in IEEE LCN 2012 and IEEE NCC 2014 conferences.

Talk title: Challenges in Broadband Connectivity in India: Frugal 5G 

Joe Kochan, Co-founder and COO of US Ignite and Project Director, PAWR Project Office

Joe Kochan serves as the COO of US Ignite, responsible for day-to-day operations, finance, and program management for the national non-profit organization, which is based in DC. Joe also serves as the director of the Project Office for the Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research, a $100M program funded by NSF and over 25 leading wireless and telecom companies. Prior to US Ignite, Joe worked as part of the Department of Commerce’s BTOP grant program, as well as having also been a founder and Vice President–Operations of DigitalBridge Communications (DBC), a Virginia-based startup backed by over $40M in venture funding. Previously, he was with Verizon, with responsibility for strategic planning and strategic project management, specifically focusing on the military housing market and the implementation of the first Verizon FiOS networks at military bases across the country.

Dr. F. Mekuria, CSIR Meraka ICT Institute, South Africa

Dr. F. Mekuria is a Chief Research Scientist at the CSIR Meraka ICT Institute, South Africa. He leads the 5G and Affordable Broadband Networks research at the CSIR. He is the proponent of a 4th leg for the 5G standards aimed at technologies for addressing the next billion underserved population in emerging economies. He has a PhD from Linköping University, in Sweden, and has worked for 10 years as senior research Engineer at Ericsson Mobile Communications R&D lab in Sweden, where he developed over 12 US/EPO patents. He has been working with the mobile and internet service industry in developing countries: Setting up next generation network labs in Africa, Development of mobile applications programming courses, Network resource sharing for affordable broadband connectivity, and development of telecom regulatory frameworks and capacity building for telecom regulators in emerging markets. He is at present leading the disruptive network technology research in smart spectrum sharing and affordable network technologies, with an aim to establish industry and public research partnerships, to enable relevant emerging market use cases which are crucial for the success of 5G ICT eco-system services in emerging economies.  Dr Mekuria is also involved in postgraduate research development in wireless communications and artificial intelligence in communications, with a number of universities through his engagement as Adj. Professor at the University of Johannesburg, Faculty of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Science, South Africa.

Talk title: Opportunities in 5G for Open and Affordable Broadband Networks: Addressing the Next Billion Unconnected 

Luis Mirabal, Director of Technology Valuation at Qualcomm, Inc

Luis is a technology and product innovator.  He leads the Technology Valuation team at Qualcomm and is responsible for engaging with service providers around the world in understanding the implications of new technologies into new markets and verticals.  He has breadth and depth knowledge of digital technologies, services, applications, and industries.  Previously, Luis worked with the broadband ecosystem players in Latin America to evaluate their businesses, assess market trends, and implement business plans regarding broadband services.  Luis holds a Master degree on Political International Economics from UCSD and an MBA from Vanderbilt University.  He graduated top of his class as Electronic Engineer at Universidad Simón Bolívar in Venezuela.  When he is not working on transformational projects, he enjoys surfing or skiing in California.


Tom Sawanobori, CTIA

Thomas (Tom) Sawanobori is CTIA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. He is responsible for technology and technical matters concerning spectrum, network evolution, cybersecurity and device certification to benefit CTIA’s members and to serve as a technical resource to policymakers. He has 22 years of technology planning, network engineering and operational experience for Verizon, including lead planner for Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network.

He was Vice President of Network Planning at Verizon, where he was responsible for technology planning and capital budget management. He led the technology evolution of the network including spectrum planning, 3G/4G technology, LTE and LTE-Advanced, and core network evolution. In addition to his career at Verizon, Mr. Sawanobori worked at Hughes Electronics on Navy Communications and Combat Systems. He served 5 years in the US Navy as a Submarine Warfare Officer and went on to complete 20 years total, retiring as a Commander in the Naval Reserve.

Mr. Sawanobori holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University and a Master of Engineering from California State University-Fullerton.

Talk title: Race to 5G Report 

Jari Vikstedt, ETS-Lindgren

Mr. Jari Vikstedt is the Manager, Wireless Solutions for ETS-Lindgren in Cedar Park, Texas.  He has over 20 years of experience with ETS-Lindgren in developing and testing RF test solutions for EMC and Wireless applications.  Mr. Vikstedt and the other engineers at ETS-Lindgren are active technical contributors to the leading wireless industry organizations, including the CTIA, 3GPP, IEEE and the Wi-Fi Alliance®.  Recently, Mr. Vikstedt has devoted his expertise to the development of CTIA and 3GPP Over-The-Air (OTA) testing solutions as well as developing innovative 5G OTA test solutions. He holds a BSEE degree in RF Engineering from the Turku University of Technology, Finland.

Talk title: 5G and mmWave Device Measurement Challenges


Serdar Vural, University of Surrey, UK

Serdar Vural received his MS and PhD degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2005 and 2007, respectively, from The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA. His BS Degree is in Electrical and Electronics Engineering in 2003 from Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey. Dr. Vural is currently a Technical Architect at the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), Institute for Communication Systems (ICS) University of Surrey, UK, and is the team leader for software-defined networking (SDN) activities, and co-leading 5G system deployment and development initiatives. Dr Vural’s research interests are in SDN, network functions virtualisation (NFV), wireless sensor and ad hoc networks, Internet-of-Things (IoT), Future Internet, and Next Generation Mobile Networks.

David Witkowski, Executive Director, Civic Technology Initiatives, Joint Venture Silicon Valley, Co-Chair GCTC Wireless SuperCluster, NIST

David Witkowski is a wireless and telecommunications industry veteran. After serving in the U.S. Coast Guard and earning his B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from University of California @ Davis, he held managerial and leadership roles for companies ranging from Fortune 500 multi-nationals to early-stage startups. David is the Founder & CEO of Oku Solutions LLC and serves as the Executive Director of Civic Technology Initiatives at Joint Venture Silicon Valley. He serves as Co-Chair of the GCTC Wireless SuperCluster at NIST, on the Board of Expert Advisors for the California Emerging Technology Fund, as a Member of the Connected City Advisory Board, and is a Senior Member in both the IEEE and the Radio Club of America.

David is the author of “Bridging the Gap : 21st Century Wireless Telecommunications” (Joint Venture Silicon Valley – 2016), co-editor of “Public Wi-Fi Blueprint” (GCTC/NIST – 2017), lead co-author of “Evaluation of RF Network Testing” (Anritsu, Bird Technologies, CommScope, & Motorola – 2013), co-author of “Carrier & Public Wi-Fi” (Mobile Experts LLC – 2015), and co-author of “The HayWired Scenario – Telecommunications and Information Communication Technology” (U.S. Geological Survey, planned release October 2018). He has written feature articles for CQ Magazine, CIO Review, EETimes, IEEE Microwaves Magazine, Make:Magazine, MissionCritical Communications, QST, RCR Wireless, and Urgent Communications. David has presented and moderated panels at Alberta Wireless Connections, APCO, Broadband Live, CDX Global Forum, CTIA, DAS & Small Cells Congress, IEEE International Microwave Symposium, IWCE, League of California Cities Conference, Mobile World Congress – Americas, RCA Technical Symposium, SCWS Americas, State Of  The Valley, TC3, and Wireless West.



The Global Race to 5G – what spectrum and policies are needed to ensure the US is a leader:   CTIA commissioned studies from leading telecommunications research firms Analysys Mason and Recon Analytics. These studies measure the global race to 5G and quantify the benefits of leading a generation of wireless development, respectively.

Analysys Mason conducted a comparative assessment of ten nations and derived a 5G Readiness Index, an indicator of which countries are currently leading the race to 5G. The index measures each government’s progress in moving toward conducive 5G spectrum and infrastructure policies, and each country’s industry investment. Recon Analytics conducted a historical analysis of the economic benefits nations derived from leading the world in prior generations of wireless, as well as the costs associated with losing leadership. These analyses quantify the stakes of winning or losing the 5G race.

Key findings:

  • China, South Korea, and the United States are currently leading the race to 5G, with China holding a narrow lead.
  • America’s 4G leadership resulted in economic and job growth that would have otherwise gone to other countries.
  • Losing wireless leadership in 3G and 4G had significant, long-term, negative effects on the Japanese and European telecommunications industries.
  • America’s wireless industry is a global leader in making the commercial investments and preparations necessary for 5G deployment.

EU SoftFIRE Federated and Orchestrated Virtualisation Testbed: In this talk, the federated and orchestrated virtualisation testbed built by the EU SoftFIRE project is presented. The testbed was designed and has been deployed for 5G experimentation, and spans a number of countries across Europe, consisting of multiple component testbeds, each running OpenStack as its virtual infrastructure manager. These component testbeds are orchestrated by the open-source and ETSI MANO-compliant orchestrator Open Baton. SoftFIRE has also developed an experimentation middleware, which provides the capability to easily deploy virtualisation experiments. The middleware enables platform users to pick multiple virtual resource types, such as NFV, SDN, security, NFV monitoring, and physical devices. Experimenters can define their experiments following TOSCA resource templates, and upload them as cloud archive (CSAR) files. The talk will explain SoftFIRE’s testbed and its middleware, and also present its Waves of Experiments that have accommodated more than 30 NFV/SDN experiments, each designed for innovative 5G applications and solutions.

Challenges in Broadband Connectivity in India: Frugal 5G: In this talk,  I will identify the challenges and requirements of providing broadband connectivity in India, specially Rural India. These challenges require a re-thinking on developing next generation wireless system for connecting the unconnected world. Mobility is not a major driver for designing such systems, rather fixed primary broadband access is the most important requirement.  A simplified IP based network architecture with dynamic spectrum sharing and a low cost wireless backhaul can set the vision of what we call “Frugal” 5G for connecting the unconnected. We will share experiences for Frugal 5G test-bed. The reference architecture for Frugal 5G may have the following elements- a Software Defined Network (SDN) controller, a wireless middle-mile network and an access network. We will also outline the recent IEEE standards activity in defining a reference architecture for Frugal 5G.

Opportunities in 5G for Open and Affordable Broadband Networks: Addressing the Next Billion Unconnected:  The standards for the 5th generation ICT-ecosystem are being touted as the most transformative technology standard in the history of mankind. Emerging market countries are looking for answers from on how the upcoming 5th Generation ICT eco-system standards support the digital inclusion of underserved communities, through affordable broadband connectivity and addressing relevant use cases? The 5G ICT-eco system standards are composed of three distinct pillars that aim to address; (a) enhanced mobile broadband enabling gigabit ICT services such as video-on-demand, (b) Low network latency enabling critical infrastructure and control services for industrial applications; (c) Energy efficiency and network coverage to enable the 50 billion sensing devices, machine-2-machine (M2M) communications and Internet of Things devices and services. The three pillars of the 5G ICT eco-system will have a more significant impact in the high economic urban areas throughout the world. Underserved and digitally excluded rural communities in emerging economies need to be supported by 5G based innovations in network technology, policy and regulatory frameworks, so that digital inclusion is achieved. Can 5G enable affordable broadband internet connectivity of underserved communities while meeting the three pillars mentioned above? Can we define a 4th leg of the 5G standard in order to achieve inclusive digital transformation and a better future for all? The talk will address research in disruptive technologies including co-existent heterogeneous networks, spectrum flexibility in 5G, innovative regulatory and policy frameworks that will enhance the benefit from the upcoming 5G wireless ICT eco-system standards, and help us address the next billion unconnected in a synergetic manner.

Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research:  This talk introduces PAWR, a $100M US public-private research partnership program to support creation of four city-scale experimental platforms for advancing fundamental wireless research. This program plans to blend cutting-edge wireless and network innovations with a large scale geographical community. We share our vision of creating a platform architecture, which is extremely agile, dynamic, cost-effective, adaptable, sliceable and extensible, giving unprecedented programmability and control to a broad set of researchers. The talk also details the first two Platforms addressing mmWave and Massive MIMO radio technologies and an emerging edge computing paradigm supported by PAWR, where heterogeneous edge devices, new air interfaces and multi-tier cloud architectures collaborate to sense, process, analyze data and create many novel applications.


Developing and Deploying Programmable 5G White Boxes in the Edge Clouds

Open Edge Cloud Reference Platforms are enabling the deployment of SDN-controlled/NFV-based 5G networks with a set of new and emerging services that are highly dependent on mobile edge computing and smart radio access platforms. This talk will reference M-CORD  as an example of open platform for demonstrating that 5G networks are not just about connectivity, rather providing fully-configurable platform for emerging services. Relying on standardized [mobile network] data planes including  control over RRH configuration parameters from an SDN controller, M-CORD provides a platform for innovation in emerging versatile 5G services such as  AR/VR, V2X, transportation, manufacturing, health and education.  Some of these vertical markets and applications will need to operate in  sub-millisecond zones where 5G systems features such as split architecture, virtualization, slicing, and beam steering under control of SDN will  enable opportunities and mitigate challenges via [democratized and] open network interfaces.  Such open interfaces would provide 5G and edge cloud technologies to support shared acceleration, analytics, AI and ML solutions that complement operators’ 5G vision.  The low-cost edge cloud and smart RRH based on open hardware and open software stacks will pave the road for faster deployments and new set of application classes that operate in sub-millisecond zones.

5G and mmWave Device Measurement Challenges: Emerging 5G radio access technologies will drastically change the landscape of not only the cellular communication ecosystem as a whole, but more specifically the way in which radios are tested. In the search for more data bandwidth, the 5G new radio (NR) will push into new frequency ranges traditionally reserved for satellite and defense applications. The associated adaptive antenna system (AAS) technologies required to accomplish this and increase overall spectral efficiency, namely beamforming and massive MIMO, will have a dramatic impact on the testing of the associated radios. Where traditionally most of the radio functionality could be evaluated independent of the antenna system, the use of AAS makes it impossible to dissociate the radio performance from the antenna performance. The antenna arrays used with these radios make the prospect of performing a conducted test at each antenna port impractical if not impossible. Thus, even the most basic radio performance or functional metric must be performed in an over-the-air test environment.  This presentation will review these test challenges and discuss possible solutions.



Upkar Dhaliwal
Future Wireless Technologies