Vertical Testbeds: Designs, Implementation Experiences, Obstacles and the role of Open Source

One of the main goals of a testbed is to demonstrate and validate newly designed and developed technology components. Typically, in order to accomplish this objective, it includes integrating a large number of diverse technology elements in a common framework where different trial sites and components can be interconnected in a variety of configurations depending on the requirements. The resulting highly integrated platform is then used to not only experimentally validate individual components but to also, verify whether the overall system can satisfy the stringent requirements imposed by the verticals.

The integration of these diverse technology elements and their deployment can be materialized through a Testbed implementation realizing the full potential of 5G working in tandem with the open-source ecosystem.  5G networks need to support diverse requirements and services. Thus, a focus of their design is on supporting disaggregated network functions that are modular, flexible, supporting extensible open interfaces and cloud-native in all aspects. Open source must adopt and demonstrate these design principles in order to successfully integrate into advanced wireless networks.

The Testbed Vertical track intends to introduce the challenges that 5G aims to solve with regard to the spectrum demand and the convergence of different wireless communication services. In addition, the track looks for overseeing the applicability of certain open source projects in 5G.

The Testbed Vertical Invited Talks will provide a venue for leading experts in the world to showcase and discuss the design of testbeds for experimental validation and trialing of a number of emerging 5G vertical applications. These invited talks will feature highly influential speakers who have directly contributed to successful 5G Testbed deployment and vertical applications in their respective fields. The talks and discussions will focus on innovative and leading-edge, large-scale industry or government applications of 5G Testbeds in areas such as health-care, bio-informatics, public policy, infrastructure, telecommunications, automotive and transportation, rural and agriculture, aerial, public safety, education, defence, and space.


Speakers’ Profiles:

Abhay Karandikar, Director, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur 

Title: “What can Virtualization do for 5G Networks: Our experiences of building a 5G Testbed”

Abstract of the Talk: In order to enhance 5G R&D capability in India and increase our participation in global standardization activities, a 5G Testbed project involving a few of the prominent technical institutions of the country was initiated by the Department of Telecom, Govt of India in the year 2017-18. Some of the other goals of the project are to boost product design & manufacturing in the country and also encourage telecom product start-ups. As a part of the 5G Testbed project, we have been working on the development of the Core Network components and the support for WiFi access in 5G Networks. We are also developing a Multi-RAT SDN Controller to control and manage multiple radio access technologies in a unified manner. The 5G Testbed utilizes SDN and NFV, two key virtualization techniques as fundamental building blocks. With the help of SDN & NFV, we have been able to virtualize the complete 5G network and deploy it fully in the cloud. Interestingly, one of the unforeseen takeaways of the virtualization is that it has enabled us to continue the development & testing activities “virtually” uninterrupted during this pandemic. The talk will highlight our experiences of using these virtualization techniques in the testbed and the advantages they may bring.

Bio: Prof Abhay Karandikar is currently the Director, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, one of the premier technical institutes of India. Prof Karandikar is also 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 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 was the founding member and former Chairman of TSDSI. He serves on the board of several companies and has founded and mentored start-ups in telecom and networking. He was member of High Level Forum on 5G setup by the Government of India and Chaired the 5G Spectrum Policy Task Force. Prof 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. Prof Karandikar was awarded with IEEE SA’s Standards Medallion in December 2016 in New Jersey for his leadership role in standards and technology. 


Subhas Mondal, Wipro Limited

Title: “Experience sharing from Wipro’s 5G lab” (Pre-recorded)

Abstract of the Talk: 5G network is expected to transform the industry verticals by enabling new use cases with its programmable interface and its ability to offer assured network quality for demanding requirements involving low latency and high bandwidth scenarios. While network has traditionally been built and operated by communication service providers, there are opportunities for vertical industry to build and operate private 5G networks. While network slicing is expected to offer use case specific network services through a public network, the market is divided on the way private network will evolve. To bring clarity, there is a need to create reference industry use cases, learn from it and make a decision on how the vertical application can leverage the new network capabilities through the open APIs. This session will touch upon the challenges for the industry verticals in re-imagining their applications leveraging 5G edge computing, open APIs, AI and real time network analytics to enhance experiences and value. The session also will share learning from sample industry applications developed in Wipro Lab.

Bio: Subhas is a Wipro fellow and the Chief Architect of the organization-wide 5G initiative at Wipro and has over 28 years engineering experience in Telecom Research & Development. He is a Senior Member of IEEE. Subhas is a passionate technologist and has developed a variety of products & solutions in emerging technology areas such as 5G, SDN/NFV, Li-Fi, Cyber Security and AI for Network Automation. He is an engineering graduate from IIT Kharagpur in Electronics and Electrical communications engineering. Prior to joining Wipro, he worked for C-DOT as a research engineer and developed a product from scratch for remote switching need.


Dr. Ismail Guvenc, NC State University

Title: “AERPAW: Aerial Experimentation and Research Platform for Advanced Wireless” (Pre-recorded)

Abstract of the Talk: In this talk, we will overview AERPAW: Aerial Experimentation and Research Platform for Advanced Wireless. AERPAW is one of the three NSF PAWR projects funded by the National Science Foundation (along with POWDER and COSMOS), to develop large-scale advanced-wireless experimentation platforms. A unique aspect of AERPAW will be to support emerging wireless and Internet of things (IoT) experimental research involving both aerial and ground mobile vehicles as well as fixed ground nodes. AERPAW users will have the opportunity to design and rapidly prototype next-generation wireless technology, systems, and applications in both emulated and real-world environments. This talk will review the overall scope and plans for the project, experimentation equipment that will be supported, deployment environments, and user interface. Use of AERPAW for IoT verticals and use cases such as smart agriculture and smart-cities will also be discussed, along with some specific examples on types of experiments that are envisioned to be supported.

Bio: Dr. Ismail Guvenc (senior member, IEEE) has been an Associate Professor at North Carolina State University since August 2016. His recent research interests include 5G wireless networks, UAV communications, and heterogeneous networks. He has published more than 200 conference/journal papers, several standardization contributions, three books, and over 30 U.S. patents. He is a recipient of the 2019 R. Ray Bennett Faculty Fellow Award, 2016 FIU COE Faculty Research Award, 2015 NSF CAREER Award, 2014 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Award, and 2006 USF Outstanding Dissertation Award, and he is a senior member of the National Academy of Inventors.


Sarah Yost, Senior Business Development Manager, NI

Title: “mmWave 5G: Myth or Reality?”

Abstract of the Talk: There has been a lot of hype around mmWave for 5G, but will it actually happen? There are a few killer applications that hinge on mmWave technology and Release 16 features, and there are still numerous technical challenges. To work on building verticals for mmWave, robust beam management techniques need to be validated. This talk will take a look at how beam management research is progressing, why this is critical for mmWave, and how open source tools can help to advance 5G verticals.

Bio: Sarah is a business development manager focused on wireless research, design, and prototyping. Sarah has spent years working with NI’s advanced wireless research team studying and promoting 5G wireless technology. Prior to joining the business development team, Sarah spent time working in marketing and time as a part of the Ettus Research R&D team, gaining a deep knowledge of SDR hardware and software. Sarah’s background is in microwave and millimeter wave technology, specifically for wireless communications.

Sarah has a BS in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University.


Kiran Kuchi, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad

Title: “India’s Ascent on the 5G Ladder” (Pre-recorded)

Abstract of the Talk: The advent of 4G technology has led to radical changes all over the world, especially by way of smart phones that have had a staggering impact on our lives. Far from being a mere evolutionary successor of 4G, 5G technology is slated to revolutionize the telecommunications sector in the near future. 5G technology will go much beyond connecting people – 5G applications include integrating a whole range of machines into the internet, such as smart metering (electricity/water/gas), industrial sensors, tracking of people/assets, machined farming, agri-tech, perishable goods management, pollution monitoring, healthcare applications, video surveillance etc.
Given that critical national infrastructure such as electricity grids, and various public services offered by local Government bodies will soon run on 5G, security considerations are crucial in the selection and ownership of such technology, as it will have a bearing on the nation’s ability to control the equipment as well as secure the delivery of such critical services. On the economic front, within the next decade, 5G/IoT is expected to add hundreds of Trillions of USD to the world economy. This is an unprecedented economic opportunity that India cannot afford to let go of. So far, only a few Indian entities have begun to address such opportunities in the 5G/IoT space.
Recently, the Department of Telecommunication (DoT), Government of India, has sanctioned the “Indigenous 5G Testbed” program with a project outlay of 224 crores INR. This program, started yielding results in the form of prototype base stations, CPE/UE and NB-IoT chipset that are being demonstrated under lab conditions. One of the partner institutes in this project (IITH), has major contributions to key 5G technologies such as cloud RAN base station with massive MIMO capability, 5G UE prototype, and cellular NB-IoT chipset for connecting sensors and meters to the internet. IITH is expected to demonstrate these 5G prototypes during 2020.
In this talk, Prof. Kuchi will first discuss the 5G scenario in India and the unique Indian requirements that 5G is expected to address. This is followed by a tech talk that highlights his efforts in designing 5G NR technology. The talk will comprise of video “demos” followed by a Q/A session.

Bio: Dr. Kiran Kuchi, a professor at IIT Hyderabad (IITH), is a globally recognized innovator in the realm of 5G standards development. He has introduced the culture of developing wireless Standards Related Patents in India through his leadership role at Telecom Standards Development Society, India (TSDSI) and has contributed towards the creation of several important technologies in the 5G standards. Dr. Kuchi has invented & co-invented over 100 patents in the 4G/5G technology, of which many patents have resulted from his work carried out in India. Among these patents, his most well recognized contribution is the introduction of a low PAPR (almost constant OFDM signal) waveform: “pi/2 BPSK with spectrum shaping” that is part of the 5G standard. Dr. Kuchi’s yet another significant achievement is the development of one of the first large scale prototypes of massive MIMO technology that operates either as an outdoor Massive MIMO, or as a distributed small cell cloud RAN (cell free MIMO) system. This experimental research system has been operational since 2017 at IIT Hyderabad.


Workshop Co-Chairs:

Aloizio P. Silva
NSF PAWR Project Office/ Northeastern University

Ivan Seskar
Rutgers University