ARA Phase 2 deployment is expected to complete in summer 2024. With its Phases 1 and 2, ARA represents the first-of-its-kind wireless living lab featuring at-scale, high-capacity wireless x-haul mesh networks, heterogenous wireless access networks, and LEO satellite communications. Offering wireless x-haul communication capacity over 100 Gbps as well as wireless access capacity and coverage up to 3 Gbps and 10 km respectively, operating at frequencies ranging from the TVWS band to mid-band, mmWave band, and terahertz band, and with deep programmability across wireless access and x-haul platforms, ARA enables wireless and applications research that would be infeasible otherwise.

To support broad community use of ARA in research, education, and innovation and to celebrate the existing ARA-enabled research and innovation in major national initiatives (e.g., NTIA Open RAN Innovation Fund project ACCoRD, NSF/USDA AI Institute projects ICICLE and AIIRA,) and by industry leaders such as Collins Aerospace, Hughes, Microsoft, and Vermeer, we organize AraFest’24, the second ARA annual community event, during August 24 – 27, 2024 in Ames, Iowa. Building on the success of the 2023 ARA Public Launch event, AraFest’24 will convene thought leaders from the government, industry, academia, and communities, as well as aspiring students and innovators; it will feature keynotes, leadership and expert panels, live demos, posters, training workshops, and field tours. In addition, AraFest’24 will coincide with the 2024 Farm Progress Show, the world’s premiere AgTech event, offering participants the unique opportunity to explore synergies between agricultural innovation and advanced wireless technologies.

  • We will organize keynotes, panels, talks, demos, and posters during August 26 – 27, centered around topics such as Open RAN, 6G, real-time communications for cyber-physical-human systems, rural broadband, advanced wireless applications (e.g., XR, teleoperation, tactile Internet, precision agriculture, advanced manufacturing, micro energy grid), open source / data / innovation, public-private partnership, innovation and ecosystem building. If you are interested in contributing to the keynotes, panels, talks, demos, and/or posters of AraFest’24 (e.g., as speakers and/or organizers), please contact Hongwei Zhang at
  • We will organize ARA User Training Workshop and Hackathon during August 24 – 25. If you are interested in participating in these activities, please contact the ARA team at

Reference: 2023 ARA Public Launch

Confirmed speakers so far:

  • Ranveer Chandra, CTO of Agri-Food, Managing Director of Industry Research, Networking Research Lead, Microsoft
  • Monisha Ghosh, Professor, University of Notre Dame; Policy Outreach Director, SpectrumX; former CTO of FCC, former Program Director at NSF CISE
  • Jaydee Griffith, Chief Technologist, Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
  • Sampath Ramaswami, Vice President (Strategy), Hughes

August 24, 2024 (Saturday)
Location: 3043 Coover Hall, Iowa State University

8:00 – 9:00 am: Breakfast
9:00 am – 5:00 pm: ARA User Training Workshop

August 25, 2024 (Sunday)
Location: 3043 Coover Hall, Iowa State University

8:00 – 9:00 am: Breakfast
9:00 am – 5:00 pm: ARA Hackathon

August 26, 2024 (Monday)
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 Update by Hongwei Zhang (ARA PI, Director of Center for Wireless, Communities and Innovation – WiCI, Richardson Professor, Iowa State University)

10:15 – 10:30 am: break

10:30 am – 11:15 am: Keynote

11:15 am – 12:10 pm: Panel 1

12:10 – 1:30 pm: Lunch 

1:30 – 3:00 pm: Panel 2

3:00 – 3:15 pm: Break 

3:15 – 4:30 pm: Plenary Demos with public-private ARA partners

4:30 – 6:00 pm: Field Trip to ARA Sites

6:00 – 7:30 pm: Demos, Posters, and Reception

August 27, 2024 (Tuesday)
Location: Iowa State University Alumni Center & Farm Progress Show

8:30 – 9:00 am: Breakfast

9:00 – 10:20 am: Panel 3

10:20 – 11:00 am: Panel 4

11:00 – 11:15 am: break

11:15am – 12:15 pm: Lightning Talks

12:00 – 1:00 pm: Lunch

1:00 – 5:00 pm: Demos at 2024 Farm Progress Show and ARA sites

Note: all times are in US Central Time.


AraFest’24 will be held at the 3043 Coover Hall (2520 Osborn Dr, Ames, IA 50011) on August 24 and 25, at the Iowa State University Alumni Center on August 26 and 27th, with part of the program on the 27th held on the ARA demo site at the Farm Progress Show, the premier AgTech event.

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


With the Farm Progress Show coming to the ARA coverage area, hundreds of thousands of visitors will book up hotels around the City of Ames soon. AraFest’24 participants are strongly encouraged to book hotels ASAP before hotel rooms run out or become very pricy.

Gateway Hotel and Conference Center
2100 Green Hills Drive, Ames, IA
~$284 per night; free cancelation within 24 hours of stay*

Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, Ames
2609 University Blvd, Ames, IA
~$285 per night; free cancelation within 24 hours of stay*

Best Western Plus University Park Inn & Suites
2500 University Blvd, Ames, IA 50010
~$160 per night; free Cancelation within 24 hours of stay*

Econo Lodge
2600 SE 16th St, Ames, IA 50010
~$215 per night; free cancelation within 24 hours of stay*

Other great hotels in Ames can be found here.

* Information is for informal reference only. Please check with the individual hotels for the latest information on room rates and cancellation polices.


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.

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 Schilletter Village (SUV), in the early morning (before the first session) and late afternoon (after the last session).

Register Here!

TypeEarly Registration (until July 22, 2024)Regular Registration (until August 12 / 26, 2024)
$300 (in person)
$100 (online)
$400 (in person, until August 12)
$150 (online, until August 26)
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.
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.

(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 fill this application form. Decisions on potential fee waiver/discount are expected to be made by mid-June.

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 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 AraFest’24 (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 AraFest’24 (e.g., the ARA User Training Session).

Early Registration deadline: 11:59pm July 22, 2024 US Pacific Time

Regular Registration deadline: 11:59pm August 12 (in-person) / August 26 (online), 2024 US Pacific Time (note: registration must be done here even if you are on-site.)

Register Now!

AraFest’24 is made possible by the generous support of the following sponsors. If your organization may be interested in co-sponsoring the event, please contact





To reach out to the ARA team, please email