Advanced Wireless Communications

PNNL is merging its rich history in advanced wireless communications with our expertise in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, sensors systems, and Internet of Things connectivity.

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Our forward-leaning focus on the nexus of these technologies allows PNNL to address the challenges presented by a hyper-connected, physical-digital, 5G world reliant on edge computing to create autonomy at a whole new level, changing the future threat landscape. Over the past decade, PNNL’s research and development in advanced wireless communication has garnered attention from many partners who acknowledge PNNL’s leadership. This work has featured monitoring of wide spectrum communications, wireless cybersecurity, millimeter wave technology, embedded sensor systems, and Internet of Things connectivity.

Why 5G 

Advances in the field of mobile telecommunications are quickly changing how the world engages in digital connectivity. Fifth Generation Mobile Broadband Cellular technologies (5G) promise a revolution  in the way the world operates due to functional changes such as connected devices beyond mobile phones, coupled with faster speeds and far lower latency than currently deployed 4G/LTE systems.  

Key 5G functionality includes: 

  • Enhanced mobile broadband with speeds from 10 to 100 times faster than existing LTE 
  • Ultra-reliable and low-latency communications necessary to unleash unrealized benefits (such as enormous data file transmission, closed system wireless connectivity, distance medicine, remote piloting, vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to infrastructure communications, to name a few.) 
  • Massive machine-to-machine communications associated with Internet-connected devices, referred to as the “Internet of Things” or IoT 
  • Edge computing or decentralization of computing capability (device embedded intelligence) 

 Prior Mobile Broadband Cellular technologies 3G/4G were focused on providing data to humans.  5G is focused on providing communications for man and machine. As such, compute has been integrated with communication networks to ensure a solution that can leverage the advances in artificial intelligence (AI), human/machine teaming, innovative radiofrequency deployment, along with the advances with communication networks.   

As cloud computing and storage has transformed the way we operate, 5G enables a new compute paradigm. 

  • Integrating compute with communication enables a hierarchy of compute and reduced latencies 
  • Enables autonomy on a new scale throughout a wide set of industry engagement and norms (embedded computing decentralizes decision-making). 
  • Provides a new level of connectiveness and a new way to experience our world with mobile AR/VR.   

Why PNNL? 

The need to understand how this new communication technology and compute paradigm will impact everything from connectivity between devices, expanding network operating systems, bandwidth infrastructure development and security, to future national energy and other critical infrastructure operations, and security and policy implications, is critical. While mobile device and service delivery entities are taking the lead in accessing early development of the technology (devices / networks), attention to science and technology opportunities, as well as National Security implications, are worthy of a DOE national lab.