The White House will dedicate $400 million to 5G research to keep the U.S. on the cutting edge of wireless networking. The announcement comes as countries like South Korea make claims about launching commercial 5G services as early as 2017. In the U.S., Verizon Wireless has said it will have 5G services commercially available in 2017 as well.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) will lead the 5G initiative, called Advanced Wireless Research, and the group will collaborate with 18 tech companies including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Juniper Networks, Intel, Oracle, and Viavi.
Here are some examples of the contributions from the various tech companies: Juniper will provide software and design assistance with orchestration and authentication of Internet of Things (IoT) networks; AT&T will provide mobile connectivity in test cities; Verizon will contribute engineering and help with fixed and mobile deployments; Intel will donate server equipment as well as assist in millimeter-wave research; National Instruments will provide its software defined radio platform; Nokia, together with Nokia Bell Labs, will provide financial contributions and research collaborations; and Oracle will provide core network controls, analytics, and network orchestration.
About $85 million of that $400 million in funding will go toward a public-private wireless testing program that will allow academics, entrepreneurs, and others to develop and test advanced wireless technologies.
Of that $85 million, $50 million will go toward the designing and building of four city-scale testing platforms, and $5 million will go toward managing the design, development, deployment, and operations of these testing platforms. The cities selected for those testing platforms will be selected in a competition and will then have the chance to establish themselves as global destinations for wireless research and development.
The testing platforms will use software-defined radio antennas that will mimic the cellular network and will allow researchers to refine their software algorithms in real-world settings.
NSF also plans to invest an additional $350 million over the next seven years toward academic research that will use these testing platforms.
The group will also launch two contests. The first will focus on providing large-scale wireless connectivity to restore critical communications after a disaster. The second will focus on low-cost broadband connectivity in urban areas using fiber optics in overhead light poles.