2023 ARA Public Launch

Welcome to the ARA Public Launch!

After years of dedicated efforts in planning, development, and deployment and with contributions from broad public-private partners, ARA is to be launched as a publicly available wireless living lab supporting rural-focused research, education, and innovation that will not only address the broadband gap between rural and urban regions but also advance the frontiers of 5G and 6G in general. Wireless platforms featured by ARA have demonstrated promising performance so far, for instance, up to 3Gbps wireless access throughput, up to 10km effective cell radius, and close to 10Gbps throughput across a wireless backhaul link of over 10km.

In celebration of the aforementioned milestone, the ARA team cordially invites you to join us at the ARA Public Launch event during September 6 – 8, 2023. This event will host thought leaders from the government (federal, state, and local), industry, academia, and communities, as well as students and innovators eager to learn and contribute. The program will include keynotes, panels, demos, posters, training workshops, field tours, and reception, providing ample opportunities for collaboration and learning.

Please join us to recognize achievements, witness groundbreaking innovations, and actively contribute to shaping the future of advanced wireless, rural broadband, as well as applications in critical domains such as precision agriculture.

ARA Public Launch Program
September 6-8, 2023
Iowa State University

Selected talks & demos:

September 6, 2023 (Wednesday)

Location: Iowa State University Alumni Center

8:00 – 9:00 am: Breakfast

9:00 – 9:40 am: Welcome Remarks

9:40 – 10:15 am: ARA Overview and Call for Participation [slides][video]

  • Hongwei Zhang, ARA PI; Director (Center for Wireless, Communities and Innovation – WiCI), Professor (ECE), Iowa State University

10:15 – 10:30 am: break

10:30 am – 11:15 am: Keynote: Data-Driven Food Systems to Sustainably Nourish the World [slides][video]

  • Ranveer Chandra, CTO of Agri-Food, Managing Director of Industry Research, Networking Research Lead, Microsoft

11:15 am – 12:10 pm: Panel: Government

  • Moderator: Anish Arora, ARA co-PI; Director, 5G-OH Connectivity Center for 5G and Broadband Networking; Professor & Chair (CSE), The Ohio State University
  • Matthew Behrens, Chief Information Officer, State of Iowa [slides][video]
  • Kelly Garbach, National Program Leader (Division of Agricultural Systems), USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
  • Jaydee Griffith, Chief Technologist, Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) [video]
  • Robert Tse, Senior Policy Advisor (Telecommunications Program), USDA [slides][video]
  • Ellen Zegura, Director (Division of Computer and Network Systems), National Science Foundation (NSF); Fleming Chair and Professor, School of Computer Science, Georgia Tech [video]

12:10 – 1:30 pm: Lunch 

1:30 – 3:00 pm: Wireless and Agriculture Panel

3:00 – 3:15 pm: Break 

3:15 – 4:30 pm: Plenary Demos (Chair: Daji Qiao, ARA Co-PI, Professor & Associate Chair (ECE), Iowa State University)

4:30 – 6:00 pm: Field Trip to ARA Site at ISU Ag Engineering & Agronomy Research Farm

6:00 – 7:30 pm: Demos, Posters, and Reception (Chair: Mohamed Selim, ARA co-PI, Associate Teaching Professor (ECE), Iowa State University)

  • [Poster] “Big data analytics for agriculture automation”, Prasad Calyam (Professor, EECS) and Jianfeng Zhou (Associate Professor, Plant Science & Tech), University of Missouri – Columbia
  • [Poster] “Collaborative MR-Based Firefighter Training & VR-Based Education”, Bin Li, Associate Professor (EECS), The Pennsylvania State University
  • [Poster] “Learn to Augment Network Simulators Towards Digital Network Twins”, Qiang Liu, Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • [Poster] “Machine Learning Assisted Capacity Optimization for B5G/6G Integrated Access and Backhaul Networks”, Oluwaseun Ajayi, Research Assistant, Illinois Institute of Technology
  • [Poster] “An Interactive and Immersive Remote Education Platform based on Commodity Devices”, Bin Li (Associate Professor), Pennsylvania State University.
  • [Poster] “Solar-Aware Cellular Communication for Green and Reliable Networks: A Multi-Perspective Approach”, Colleen Josephson (Assistant Professor) and Sonia Naderi (Postdoctoral Scholar), University of California Santa Cruz
  • [Demo] “FarmGrid: the world’s first Cloud Native Full Stack Precision Ag OS”, George Woodward, President & CEO, Trilogy Networks
  • [Demo] “Collaborative Mixed-Reality-Based Firefighter Training“, Bin Li (Associate Professor), Pennsylvania State University.
  • [Demo] “A Collaborative Virtual Reality Platform for Interactive and Immersive Education“, Bin Li (Associate Professor), Pennsylvania State University.

September 7, 2023 (Thursday)

Location: Iowa State University Alumni Center

8:30 – 9:00 am: Breakfast

9:00 – 10:20 am: Panel: Open* (Open Source, Open Innovation, Open RAN) (in-person + online)

10:20 – 11:00 am: Panel: UAS

11:00 – 11:15 am: break

11:15am – 12:00 pm: End-to-End Cyberinfrastructure for Translational and Convergent Research (Chair: Mai Zheng, ARA Co-PI, Associate Professor (ECE), Iowa State University)  

12:00 – 1:00 pm: Lunch

1:00 – 2:00 pm: Lightning Talks (Chair: Yong Guan, ARA co-PI, Professor (ECE), Iowa State University)

LT1: “Wireless Networking for Collaborative Virtual/Augmented Reality”, Bin Li, Associate Professor (EECS), The Pennsylvania State University. [slides][video]

LT2: “Data Agralytics”, Robert Tse, Senior Policy Advisor (Telecommunications Program), USDA. [slides][video]

LT3: “Mobile Wireless Experimentation on the POWDER Platform”, Kirk Webb, The POWDER Project Team, University of Utah. [slides][video]

LT4: “ARA as an Enabler for Next Generation Agriculture: A Use Case Analysis”, Marie-José Montpetit, Adjunct faculty at École de Technologie Supérieure and lecturer at McGill University, Montreal, Canada and Telecom Paris Sud, Paris, France, Project manager ARA/WiCi, ISU. [slides][video]

LT5: “Network tunneling for better connectivity”, Lorenz Minder, Co-founder, BitRipple, Inc. [slides][video]

LT6: “Overview of Wireless Testbed and Agricultural Activities at ivESK, Offenburg University, Germany”, Axel Sikora, Professor & Scientific Director of Institute of Reliable Embedded Systems and Communication Electronics (ivESK), Offenburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany. [slides][video]

ARA User Workshop

2:00 – 2:05 pm: Welcome remarks (Ashfaq Khokhar, Professor and Palmer Department Chair (ECE), Iowa State University)

2:05 – 2:30 pm: Participants introduction

2:30 – 4:45pm: ARA Use Introduction and Hands-on (Sarath Babu, Research Scientist, WiCI Center, Iowa State University)

4:45pm-5:00pm: Break

5:00pm-5:30pm: OPERA – Open Sourcing ARA (Myra Cohen, Lanh and Oanh Nguyen Chair Professor in Software Engineering, Iowa State University)

September 8, 2023 (Friday Morning)

Location: 3043 Coover Hall

8:00 – 8:30 am: Breakfast

8:30am-9:30am: OPERA – Introduction to Software Testing (Myra Cohen, Lanh and Oanh Nguyen Chair Professor in Software Engineering, Iowa State University)

10:00am-12:00pm: ARA Experiments Demo (Sarath Babu, Research Scientist, WiCI Center, Iowa State University)

12:00 pm: Boxed Lunch

Note: all times are in US Central Time.

Event Venues

The Public Launch event will be held at the Iowa State University Alumni Center (420 Beach Ave, Ames, IA 50011) on September 6th and 7th, and at the 3043 Coover Hall (2520 Osborn Dr, Ames, IA 50011) on September 8th.

Fun facts about the Iowa State University campus and the City of Ames can be found here.

Parking & Transportation

Parking is available at the Iowa State University Alumni Center, and detailed information can be found at here.

Transportation is expected to be provided between the Alumni Center and the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center, in the early morning (before the first session) and late afternoon (after the last session).


Gateway Hotel and Conference Center
2100 Green Hills Drive, Ames, IA
Rate: $124/night plus tax Rate cut off date: August 15, 2023
Booking link: https://reservations.travelclick.com/2958?groupID=3977453

Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, Ames
2609 University Blvd, Ames, IA
Rate: $92/night plus tax Rate cutoff date: August 22, 2023
Booking Link: https://www.choicehotels.com/reservations/groups/G9656108

Best Western Plus University Park Inn & Suites is close by, and other great hotels in Ames can be found here.


Many commercial and commuter airlines serve the Des Moines International Airport (DSM) which is 35 miles away from Ames, Iowa. Private planes use the Ames Municipal Airport. Car rental is available at the Des Moines airport.

Register Here!

TypeEarly Registration (until August 4th)Regular Registration (until August 20th)Online Late Registration (until August 25th)
$400 (in person; full program)
$150 (in person; single day)
$150 (online)
$500 (in person)
$200 (in person; single day)
$200 (online)
$250 (online)
Fee Waiver/
Full consideration for potential waiver/discount of registration feeConsideration for potential waiver/discount of registration fee only if fund is available after all the early registrants have been considered.N/A
Student/Academic Travel GrantFull consideration for students in U.S. institutions; full consideration will be given to non-student participants from academia/non-profits, if travel fund permits.Consideration will be given to U.S. students (and potentially non-student academics/non-profits in U.S.) only if travel fund is available after all the early registrants have been considered.N/A

(Note: to help best plan the event, registration at your earliest convenience and well before the deadlines is appreciated.)

Waiver/Discount of Registration Fee: to make the event accessible to as many participants as possible, the ARA team is trying its best to secure resources for potentially providing registration fee waiver/discount to participants who may need it. If the registration fee waiver is critical to your participation and you will join the event online only, please share your interest here; if you plan to join the event in person and the registration fee waiver/discount is critical to your participation, please indicate so when you register and then fill this application form. Decisions on potential fee waiver/discount are expected to be made by mid August.

Student/Academic Travel Grant: a limited number of travel grants are expected to be made available to students/academics/researchers in U.S. institutions/non-profits, with priority given to students over non-student academics/non-profit-researchers. If you are interested in applying for a travel grant, please submit the following information in a single PDF file as a part of the registration process and via this application form.

  • CV
  • Personal statement (no more than 2 pages), discussing
    • the applicant’s research accomplishments so far,
    • how the participation in the ARA Public Launch (e.g., the ARA User Training Session) may help with the applicant’s current and future research, spelling out specific research topics for which ARA can serve as a testbed,
    • whether or not the participant will be willing to serve as an active user of ARA and share ARA use experience and insight with the broad community for collaborative learning.
  • Nomination letter (no more than 1 page) from the student’s advisor/supervisor, if the applicant is a student. The nomination letter should include the following:
    • confirmation that the student is in good academic standing,
    • the student’s research areas for which ARA can serve as a testbed, and
    • how the student will benefit from attending the ARA Public Launch (e.g., the ARA User Training Session).

Early Registration deadline: 11:59pm August 4, 2023 US Pacific Time

Regular Registration deadline: 11:59pm August 20, 2023 US Pacific Time (note: no in-person registration may be considered after August 15.)

Online Late Registration deadline: 11:59pm August 25, 2023 US Pacific Time

Register Now!

The ARA Public Launch event is made possible by the generous support of the following sponsors. If your organization may be interested in co-sponsoring the event, please contact partner@arawireless.org.




To reach out to the ARA team, please email e2@arawireless.org.