Wireless Experiments

In what follows, we elaborate on example ARA-enabled wireless research. We expect many more research use cases to be invented by the communities thanks to the programmability and flexibility of ARA. (Having use cases that we shall feature here? Please contact us or share them with the ara-users Google group!)

Long-Distance, High-Capacity Wireless Backhaul

By deploying AraHaul nodes in 11 spatially separated rural cities, ARA uniquely enables the study of multi-modal, long-distance, and high-throughput wireless backhaul communications and networking. The development and field-deployment of the AraOptical radios, with a configurable per-link throughput up to 80Gbps+ at distance over 15km, is the first of its kind in terrestrial optical wireless networking. The co-location of the AraOptical radios with satellite, mmWave, and microwave radios at AraHaul nodes offers opportunities of frequency diversity and spatial multiplexing in communications. With clear four seasons and combinations of sunny, cloudy, rainy, and snowy weathers in central Iowa, the AraHaul node deployment enables the characterization and correlation analysis of long-distance satellite, optical, mmWave, and microwave channels, and it enables transformative research in multi-modal, long-distance, and high-throughput wireless backhaul networking that would be infeasible otherwise. Unlike traditional mesh networks which usually adopt omnidirectional, shorter-range microwave radios and thus are difficult to scale, the AraHaul network of point-to-point, long-distance links is scalable and offers new opportunities of theoretical and systems wireless research, where the theoretical research will benefit from the high-fidelity models of AraHaul wireless links. 

Advanced Wireless Access

The ARA deployment in ag farms, grain mills, biorefineries, and rural communities enables research in advanced wireless technologies (e.g., massive MIMO and mmWave) as well as network architectures (e.g., integrated access and backhaul, mobile networks of ground and aerial vehicles, cellular networks with D2D links, and ad hoc networks). The involved applications range from smart agriculture, industrial automation, to smart and connected rural communities, with diverse communication requirements ranging from ultra-reliable, low-latency communication (URLLC) to massive machine-type communication (mMTC).  

The deployment of ag vehicles and robots enables real-world characterization of wireless channel properties of ground vehicles and robots in ag farms, as well as their physical dynamics and mobility patterns. It also enables research in interference control, real-time scheduling, cellular networking with D2D communications, ad hoc networking, route plan optimization, wireless-networked ag-vehicle/robot control, and so on. 

Spectrum Innovation

ARA platforms cover a wide spectrum range. For instance, the ARA SDR platforms cover the following spectrum range from mmWave to low-UHF:

  • mmWave: 24.25-27.5 / 26.5-29.5GHz, with 500MHz real-time bandwidth
  • sub-7.2GHz with heterogeneous platforms:
    • Skylark low-UHF mMIMO: 470 – 806MHz, with 40+MHz real-time bandwidth
    • USRP X410: 1MHZ – 7.2GHz, with 400MHz real-time bandwidth
    • USRP N320: 3MHz – 6GHz, with 200MHz real-time bandwidth
    • USRP X310: 10MHz – 6GHz, with 160MHz real-time bandwidth
    • USRP B210: 70MHz – 6GHz, with up to 56MHz real-time bandwidth

The ARA COTS platforms cover the following spectrum range from optical to low-UHF:

  • AraHaul: 194THz, 71-76 & 80-86GHz, 11GHz
  • AraRAN base stations & UEs: mmWave, microwave, low-UHF
  • LEO satellite user terminals: 26.5-40GHz, 12-18GHz
  • Keysight N6841A RF sensor: 20MHz – 6GHz; up to 20MHz bandwidth

The wide spectrum coverage of ARA enables research in spectrum innovation such as spectrum sensing and dynamic sharing.

End-to-End Cyberinfrastructure and Application

The integrated deployment of multi-modal, long-distance wireless backhauls, wireless access networks, fiber networks, and edge/cloud computing infrastructures in ARA enables research in integrated access and backhaul, integrated fiber and wireless networks, as well as integrated wireless networking and edge/cloud computing. These research in turn will enable the research and deployment of applications involving wireless networks, fiber networks, and edge/cloud computing, for instance, AR/VR-based ag education and tele-operation of ag vehicles.