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Broadband Wireless Access & Applications Center (BWAC)

Catholic University of America

University of Arizona

University of Mississippi

University of Notre Dame

Virginia Tech

Last Reviewed: 12/01/2018

This center focuses on broadband wireless technology access and its applications. The Center website is:

Center Mission and Rationale

The mission of BWAC is to collaborate with industry research partners to create flexible, efficient, and secure wireless networks that satisfy broadband communication needs in businesses, in the home, and in the lives of individuals. Specifically, address issues of spectrum through novel broadband technologies, and work with industry and academic partners to pursue large-scale research programs and create new visions for the wireless industry.

Research program

Broadband Applications

A significant focus will be on research for very wide bandwidth radio channels and applications. In response to the era of “big data," we will conduct millimeter-wave RF propagation measurements and models, where the carrier frequencies and channel bandwidths will be an order of magnitude greater than today’s cellular channels. We will work with companies to create test and measurement equipment up at higher frequencies, and at greater bandwidths than today’s products. Finally, we will research fifth generation millimeter wave PHY and MAC techniques that will involve spatial beam steering.

Cognitive radar

As the radio equipment become more agile, new capabilities can be added to any system that uses similar equipment. A specific example is a radar system which consists of sophisticated communication components. These components are now highly configurable and can benefit from advanced techniques like the ones developed for cognitive radio. Making radar systems more intelligent is of the interest of both civilian and military applications, and the companies that design radar equipment.

Cognitive sensor networks of heterogeneous devices

Sensor networks used to be primarily comprised of homogenous devices of similar abilities and architecture. However, this is no longer the case; sensor networks are now comprised of low power devices called Motes, Wi-Fi enabled devices (such as mini-computers with sensors, smartphones, etc), personal area devices, and smart meters to name a few. These sensor nodes need to be able to work together in the same spectrum; smart methods are needed for enabling access to the sensor nodes and to facilitate efficient transportation of the collected data across the network.

IC And Low-Power Design for Broadband Access and Applications

Considering the lifetime of power source in a mobile device to be a major concern, we focus on two areas of a large system-on-chip (SoC) or network-on-chip (NoC) that consume significant amounts of power. These are the power distribution grid and the communications bus. For power grid we borrow the concept of high-voltage power transmission and explore its use on a VLSI chip. For communications bus, we reduce the number of wires using mixed-signal (analog and digital) techniques. Both solutions are novel and can potentially result in radical shifts in the prevailing VLSI design methodologies.

Image and video compression technologies

Video delivery over wireless networks is always a challenging task because of its high bandwidth requirements that strain wireless networks despite the development of more efficient delivery and compression methods. This is because the user needs and demands for video are growing rapidly in both quantity (number of videos that need to be delivered) and the quality of the video (resolution; high definition; and 3D). Therefore, the continued development of efficient image and compression video techniques over wireless networks is of upmost importance.

Opportunistic spectrum access and allocation technologies

The U.S. government has already started allocating spectrum for opportunistic spectrum access. In this new paradigm of operation, the radios need to be able to detect and utilize unused spectrum bands. Many of the concepts already exist in the field of cognitive radio, but there are limited commercial implementations (if any). The industry is going to need the expertise of our members for developing opportunistic spectrum access technologies and applications that are commercially viable.

Technologies for spectrum trading and auctions

An expected paradigm of operation using shared spectrum is spectrum trading and auctions. In this paradigm, wireless devices and/or operators bid and trade spectrum based its anticipated quality of service for the wireless devices. To enable this operation, the establishment of spectrum exchanges need to be investigated, as well as the technologies that will allow both the bidders and the sellers to estimate the quality and the perceived worth of the auctioned spectrum. The companies that will have intellectual property in these technologies will be very well-positioned for the next decade as these technologies are being deployed and used.

Wireless cyber security

The wireless landscape is now filled with advanced devices that can be the target of many malicious actions such as eavesdropping, jamming, spoofing, etc. These devices are often networked together using the Internet making them even more vulnerable. Securing these devices is of paramount importance for national security and major commercial companies.

Special Activities


University of Arizona

1230 E. Speedway Blvd.
P.O.Box 210104

Tucson, Arizona, 85721-0104

United States

University of Notre Dame

267 Fitzpatrick Hall

Notre Dame, Indiana, 46556

United States

(574) 631-8034

(574) 631-4393

Virginia Tech

302 Whittemore (0111)
Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Virginia, 24061

United States

(540) 231-8392

(540) 231-3362

University of Mississippi


UNIVERSITY, Mississippi, 38677

United States

(662) 915-7231

Catholic University of America

620 Michigan Ave NE

Wasshington, District of Columbia, 20064

United States