Advanced Wireless Research Initiative

Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Advanced Wireless Network Research at NSF

The National Science Foundation has a strong tradition of supporting fundamental research in wireless communications and wireless data networks, from the early days of the Internet. With current wireless data networks in the "fourth generation" or 4G, NSF has already been paving the way for 5G wireless data networks and beyond.

NSF investments in the next generation of data networks spread across various research programs as well as infrastructure investments in advanced testbeds. Research in 5G spans a comprehensive array of areas from advanced physical layers to the support of emerging applications in 5G networks. Example areas with research current investments are: spectrum sensing/sharing, communication in millimeter wave frequencies, interference mitigation, advanced antennas, multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO), Massive-MIMO, spectrum access architectures, free-space optics, resource management for ultra-dense wireless networks, network security, wireless network management, network virtualization, future Internet architectures, software-defined networks, Internet-of-Things, and autonomous vehicle communications.

NSF also funds testbeds and research platforms for prototyping advanced wireless network systems, through an array of research infrastructure programs at U.S. universities. A new multi-year effort called Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) will establish a series of city-scale wireless research platforms in collaboration with an industry consortium. PAWR will become federated with other ongoing NSF-supported network research testbeds, including GENI and NSFCloud that address network virtualization research and computing systems research, respectively.

Funding Opportunities for 5G research

Testbed/Research Platforms Infrastructure Programs:

Research Programs:


Federal Partners:

Research Workshops:

(Workshop reports are available at the workshop websites below, and also at