As the wireless revolution continues to deliver higher networking speeds, more consistent connections, and increased capacity, the need for seamless integration of wireless technologies couldn’t be greater.

Gil Zussman is Professor of Electrical Engineering as well as co-Principal Investigator for COSMOS.

Gil Zussman, a Professor of Electrical Engineering and member of the Data Science Institute at Columbia University, is helping to address this issue through COSMOS, a testbed deployed in West Harlem by Rutgers, Columbia and NYU that supports real-world experimentation on next-generation wireless technologies and applications. COSMOS, established in 2018  under the National Science Foundation (NSF) Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) initiative, will join a consortium, led by AT&T and Verizon, to catalyze the global adoption of interoperable infrastructure in wireless networks.

The Acceleration of Compatibility and Commercialization for Open RAN Deployments (ACCoRD) consortium, which includes U.S. and foreign carriers, universities, and equipment suppliers will conduct testing, evaluation, and certification of Open RAN equipment. ACCoRD will be funded by a $42 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) s which will support the development of open and interoperable wireless networks. This grant is part of the Department of Commerce’s $1.5 billion Wireless Innovation Fund. The NTIA anticipates this investment will yield a stronger, more secure and more resilient telecommunications supply chain, enabling the U.S. and its global partners to lead the next generation of wireless innovation.

“The NSF PAWR COSMOS testbed that has been deployed in West Harlem will provide a unique test environment for ACCoRD.  Specifically, the focus on ultra-high bandwidth and low latency wireless communication tightly coupled with edge computing and optical x-haul in a dense urban area will enable to push the envelope in the area of wireless networking,“ says Zussman.

Infographic (left) shows the infrastructure of wireless networks and systems in our daily lives. Photo (right) is a view from Columbia University facing the COSMOS testbed in West Harlem.

“Rutgers School of Engineering’s WINLAB is excited to be a strategic partner on the NTIA’s ACCoRD effort,” says Ivan Seskar, chief technology officer for WINLAB and the COSMOS testbed Project Director. “As one of the few O-RAN Test and Integration Centers (OTIC) in North America, WINLAB will leverage its specialized capabilities in prototyping and preliminary testing of wireless technologies, in supporting the broader team’s ability to innovate and deploy the next generation of wireless products.”

“The Columbia University Data Science Institute and Columbia Engineering are thrilled to collaborate with the NTIA, AT&T, Verizon, Rutgers, and several other partners through the ACCord consortium,” said Clifford Stein, Interim Director of the Data Science Institute, Wai T. Chang Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, and Professor of Computer Science at Columbia Engineering.  “The NSF COSMOS testbed has already offered critical infrastructure for several successful large-scale multi-partner projects, including the CS3 Engineering Research Center and NSF National Radio Dynamic Zone project. We believe that it will play a key role in helping the ACCoRD consortium develop a more flexible approach to wireless infrastructure and will advance the area of Open RAN.”