News Feature | April 18, 2017

NYU Wireless First To Get 5G Experimental License From FCC Web Portal

By Jof Enriquez
Follow me on Twitter @jofenriq


NYU Wireless, the academic research center for next-generation, mass-deployable wireless devices at the New York University (NYU) Tandon School of Engineering, is the first to receive an experimental program license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) using the agency's new web portal beta-tested by NYU Wireless itself.

NYU, along with the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder), helped FCC to test, debug, and provide feedback on the web-based experimental licensing system, which is designed to streamline the process for experimental license applications.

"The license will allow the center to do cutting-edge work throughout the spectrum, not just at frequencies critical to 5G, but also far beyond," said Theodore Rappaport, Founding Director of NYU WIRELESS and the David Lee/Ernst Weber Professor of Electrical Engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, in a press release.

Launched in August 2012, NYU Wireless links students and researchers with industrial affiliates working on pioneering millimeter wave (mmWave) radio spectrum technologies, which will be key to next-generation, ultra-high-data-rate 5G networks.

Current cellular systems operate at below 3 gigahertz (GHz), and the most advanced commercial system – 4G LTE – can transfer rates at tens of megabits per second. By contrast, the mmWave occupies frequencies between 30 and 300 GHz, and potentially could provide 200 times the capacity of current cellular spectrum allocations, and 5G is expected to be more than 1,000 times faster than 4G.

An increasing number of universities, research labs, medical institutions, and manufacturers of radio frequency equipment are researching and experimenting on 5G technologies, and they should benefit from FCC's new notification system, which offers a 15-day turnaround on experimental license decisions.

"This year alone we have over 35 experimental licenses that have a 5G focus or are in the bands raised in the Spectrum Frontiers proceeding," said Julius Knapp, chief of the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology, referring to the March 2016 conference that led to rules for the United States to lead the global race toward 5G implementation.

NYU Wireless has played a key role in shaping the future of 5G. Responding to an FCC Notice of Inquiry, NYU Wireless in January 2015 provided the agency with research-backed recommendations to guide FCC's strategy leading up to its rulemaking decision.

One year later, it launched an advanced programmable platform to rapidly design, prototype, and validate technologies designed for the mmWave radio spectrum. Then, it made its channel model simulator and measurement data free and open to all, so that experimenting developers can generate channel impulse responses, calculate precise time delays, locate the angles of arrival of energy in urban channels, determine received power levels, and other key technical data needed to create reliable mmWave wireless equipment and systems.

Also, NYU Wireless researchers continue to expand their own work in building electronically steerable phased array antennas capable of highly directional transmissions, which have the dual benefit of increasing spatial reuse of spectrum, while also compensating for the higher isotropic path losses in mmWave bands.