Wireless Communication Test Bed: Phase 3

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Wireless Communication Test Bed: Phase 3

March 24, 2004

Revised April 9, 2004


Timothy X Brown,

Interdisciplinary Telecommunications

Electrical and Computer Engineering

University of Colorado, Boulder



Fax: 303


Sponsor Contact:

Ken Davey

3 Communications Corporation

ComCept Division

2800 Discovery Blvd.

Rockwall, Texas 75032

Phone: 972

Fax: 972





ComCept Division, L
3 Communications Corporation (ComCept) has engaged the
University of Colorado (CU) to design, install and operate a wireless communications
test bed and to integrate and operate Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPV), which will
interact with
it. This is a proposal for the third phase of this project, which includes
incorporating additional functionalities to the test bed and final execution of all tests in
accordance with the designs from earlier phases on the test bed and equipment deployed
in Phase 2. This proposal is in response to a RFQ received from L
3 ComCept on March
17, 2003 for the purpose of structuring Phase 3 of the Wireless Communications Test
Bed project. Phase 3 of the Wireless Communications Test Bed project is a continuation

of the project started in August of 2003. This proposal is being submitted to ComCept by
the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program and the Aerospace Engineering
Department within the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of
olorado at Boulder.



The following specifies the overview and objectives of the proposed project and gives the
reader a general idea of the proposed efforts and activities that constitute the project. It
also stresses the importance
of this program.



Effective communications among and between the airborne and terrestrial assets are
essential. The demand for more bandwidth is predictably growing with each new
generation of aircraft. This evolving situation mandates that commer
cial communications
standards be incorporated and used wherever possible. More emphasis is being placed on
space, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), terrestrial mobile, terrestrial fixed, and optionally
piloted vehicle (OPV) assets to support these evolving co
mmunication demands.


Project Objective

The objective of this communications test
bed element is to provide a suite of next
generation terrestrially and aircraft wireless communication experiments that will support
the ComCept effort. These unique airborne

and terrestrial assets will form an IP
network. Therefore, this project will focus on the use of innovative aerial vehicles and
IEEE 802 wireless protocol suites and possible companion technologies represented by
generation terrestrial cellu
lar radio systems. These experiments will demonstrate
the potential for the rapid deployment of an IP
centric, broadband network that will
support both airborne and terrestrial military campaigns anywhere, anytime.


Project Scope

The University shall provi
de management, engineering, operational and subject matter
expertise to ComCept in accomplishing the specific tasks described in this document.
The University shall support ComCept by designing an IEEE 802.11b based ad hoc
networking wireless communicatio
ns test bed to support ground and airborne
communications experiments.


At a minimum, University participation in these experiments will include:

Establishment and operation of a series of linked 802.11b sites that can be
operated in various modes to sup
port surface and airborne evaluation of 802.11b
communications applications

Integration and employment of two or three airborne UAVs to evaluate control of
vehicles, use of vehicles as a bridging function between two sites, and retrieval of
information fro
m the vehicle via 802.11b communications.

Employment of nodes mounted on one or more stationary or moving terrestrial
vehicles and one or more dismounted individuals to evaluate connections with
vehicle and handheld 802.11b operations in a variety of setti
ngs and geometries.

bed monitoring and data collection with remote access capability.

This Phase 3 will build on the test bed developed and deployed in Phase 2 which
in turn is based on initial design assessments from Phase 1. Phase 3 will complete t
experimental plan developed thorugh earlier phases.



This project will deploy a set mesh network radios (MNRs) mounted at fixed sites, on
ground vehicles, and in UAVs. The radios will automatically form a peer
peer (ad hoc)
network a
mong themselves. The MNR will be based on the IP
centric IEEE 802 wireless
COTS standards and supporting software and hardware. These nodes may be turned on
and off or be added to or disengage themselves from the network at will as long as they
are within
the footprint of any other wireless network component. All communications
will be two
way and will have broadband access via a designated Internet gateway.

This project will employ a set of UAVs built by the Aerospace Engineering
Department at CU. Comp
ared to existing UAVs, these aerial vehicles will provide a
wider range of flight profiles, be better matched to the lighter anticipated communication
payloads, be more cost effective, provide risk mitigation, and demonstrate a new
dimension of creativity.

A key element of the project is a monitoring framework that enables detailed data
to be collected during the operation of the network. This monitoring data will be archived
and made available via web
based interfaces that allow post analysis and visualiza
tion of
the network operation.

The project will develop the MNR, the UAV, monitoring software and deploy
them at a suitable site for communication, ground, and air operations. It will start with a
set of modest and achievable communication test bed experi
ments to demonstrate the
application of the IEEE 802.11b wireless protocols for this type of application. This
approach will provide meaningful data to raise the level of confidence that such a
capability is achievable.

Though committed to 802.11b for t
his project, alternative communication
technologies will be assessed during this project for possible deployment in future
projects. These technologies may include other IEEE 802 communication technologies:
802.11a, 802.11g, 802.16a, and 802.16e. It may a
lso include WAN technologies such as
GSM and CDMA cellular network or PAN technologies such as Bluetooth and UWB.




An ad hoc radio network is a collection of radio nodes that automatically form a
communication network. When source and
destination nodes can not reach each other
directly, intermediate nodes can cooperate to relay packets along multi
hop routes from
the source to the destination. This routing is automatic and reacts in real time to node
mobility and nodes that join or leav
e the network.

The ultimate goal in this project is to demonstrate that an ad hoc network of radio
nodes carried by aerial vehicles, fixed stations, terrestrial vehicles, and personnel:


Provides connectivity and communication services to terrestrial user
s. In this
scenario, the aerial vehicles are optional and support connectivity among the
terrestrial end users.


Provide connectivity and communication services to aerial vehicles. In this
scenario, a forward aerial vehicle communicates with a command cent
er back
through the ad hoc network.

These capabilities are not mutually exclusive and a sub
goal of the project is to
use a single radio design for both scenarios. We consider this most cost
effective as it
minimizes hardware development to a single plat
form. More importantly, it provides the
greatest operational flexibility. The ad hoc radios are based on COTS 802.11b peripheral
cards and therefore small, low cost, and lightweight. Such radios can support UAV
missions. It is expected that small UAVs will

provide rapidly
deployed low
connectivity in support of capability (1) above. It is also expected that with capability (2)
above, the communication range and operational envelope of small UAVs can be
extended. For these reasons, this project focuses
on developing a test range to
demonstrate the above capabilities in conjunction with UAVs.

The test range will consist of an area several miles on a side within which various
fixed and mobile terrestrial radios will be deployed and over which aircraft wil
l fly. The
actual test bed dimensions will depend on such variables as the operational goals of test
planning, funding, terrain and range restrictions, site access, range safety, RF power
restrictions, RF frequency restrictions, and terrestrial node config
urations such as tower
height, environmental issues, and so on.

The number of nodes will consist of at least three terrestrial vehicle nodes, three
fixed nodes, and three aerial nodes in order to test the multihop ad hoc network
performance in the differe
nt regimes. A monitoring server will have real time access to
the location, state, and performance for each radio node.

Experiments will provide answers to specific networking questions, including:

What is the impact of the network on end
end throughpu
t and latency?

What network availability can nodes expect as a function of operational scenario?

How fast can a UAV be deployed to establish network connectivity for separated

What is the feasibility of mixed airborne, land mobile, and land fixed pa
in such a network?


These experiments will define the ultimate performance that can be expected in
such networks. Like previous work, CU was provided with aircraft, pilots, technicians,
and test equipment where and when it was needed and request



The University shall design and document an 802.11b ad hoc network test bed to
demonstrate the capabilities described in Section 4. Design documentation will include:

A diagram and description of the equip
ment at each communications test
bed site.

An annotated layout of the geographic deployment sites.

A diagram of the connections between test range radio nodes and a terminating
point suitable for connection to a server and onward connection via the interne
t to
a designated remote subscriber.

A design package for a selected UAV that describes operational employment of
the UAV to include preflight checkout, launch, in
flight operation and recovery.

The design shall accommodate teardown and relocation of the
bed. The
design documentation shall include a brief description of the required procedure and an
estimate of the time required to accomplish teardown and packing and unpack and
relocated set
up. The design documentation shall include provisions to i
communications test
bed traffic to Colorado University facilities, as appropriate, and
onward to a remote access subscriber. The address for remote access node shall be
provided at a later date. Appropriate security procedures shall be implement
ed (logon,
password, and encryption).


Current Project State

Phase I of this project began in summer 2003. A formal kickoff meeting was held
September, 2003. Phase I has been completed and Phase 2 is in progress. Sponsor TIM
meetings were held in December 2
003, and January 2004. Specific accomplishments so
far include:


A WiFi Test Bed Design & Interface Specification has been completed based on
earlier analysis and testing. This document provides design, interface, and
equipment detail for a special test
bed used to evaluate a WiFi
based (802.11b)
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) made up of terrestrial and airborne nodes,
with broadband connectivity back to a Network Operations Center (NOC). In
addition, documentation associated with federal, state, and

local approvals
required to operate the test bed is provided.


A WiFi Test Bed Experimentation Plan has been completed based on TIMs with
sponsor based on earlier analysis and testing. This document provides
experimentation plan details associated with a
based (802.11b) Wireless
Local Area Network (WLAN) test.


A test bed site has been selected, the Table Mountain National Radio Quiet Zone,
near Boulder, CO. The site is 3km by 4km and has networking and power
facilities that support the experiments.
Approvals have been obtained for use
during Phase 2. Some preliminary testing has taken place at the site.



A mesh network radio (MNR) communication platform has been designed. 11
MNR have been built, 7 of which are packaged in an environmental enclosure
itable for outdoor deployment; and 4 of which are ready to be mounted in a


The UAV has been designed and one UAV has been built based on the design.
The UAV has a design speed, endurance, and payload of 100kmph, 4 hours, and
5kg. The UAV has been succ
essfully flown.


Mesh network protocols have been written, ported to the MNR, and tested.


Basic monitoring functionality has been implemented. The MNR can be tracked
and data captured in real time.


Alternative communication technologies including 802.16
and GSM cellular have
been assessed.

Phase 2 will continue concurrently with Phase 3 through September 30, 2004.
Phase 3 will continue to 7 months ARO estimated to be in November 2004. Different
elements of Phase 3 testing will start asynchronously as th
ey become available through
Phase 2 development.


Specific Phase 3 Tasks

Phase 3 will start on or about May 1, 2004 and continue through November 30, 2004.
The goal of this phase is to use the test bed developed in Phase 2 to complete the full set
of test
s identified in Phase 1 plus additional testing identified by the sponsor.
In Phase 3
we will work in six areas:


The University shall issue a Deployment and Test Plan that provides project plan
detail associated with completing all tasks within time and b
udget constraints.


The University shall release updates of the following documents that were
generated in Phases 1 and 2 of the project: WiFi Test Bed Experimentation Plan
and WiFi Test Bed Design & Interface Specification.


The University will seek and o
btain a Memorandum of Agreement for
Cooperative Research that establishes the right to operate the wireless test bed at
the Table Mountain field site through the duration of Phase 3.


The University shall perform all demonstration and test experiments on th
e WiFi
bed as specified in the WiFi Test Bed Experimentation Plan. Any
experiments and/or demonstrations from Phase 2 that need to be refined or
repeated shall be performed. All demonstrations and tests not completed during
Phase 2 shall be complete
d in Phase 3.


The University shall support and cooperate with Sierra Nevada Corporation
(SNC) by performing operational tests at the Table Mountain test site during their
over missions, presently scheduled for June, 2004. SNC will conduct at least

test flights to measure various signal strength and geometries. The University
shall operate the test
bed so that the SNC aircraft can complete its data collection
in a receive
only mode. Scheduling of test bed operations and maintaining log
reports on
all active nodes during fly
over times is required.


The University shall integrate, operate, and maintain an Iridium radio system
(with appropriate service contract being put in place if necessary) to provide a


wireless backhaul connection to the internet.

The Iridium radio system will be
government furnished equipment provided through ComCept. It shall then
experiment with monitoring network operations and maintaining connectivity via
this link.

Contractually and administratively the Phase 3 efforts wi
ll support the following
deliverables to the sponsor as listed in the SOW:

Deployment and Test Plan

30 days ARO

Update to WiFi Test Bed Experimentation Plan

2 Months ARO

Update to WiFi Test Bed Design & Interface Specification

3 Months ARO

te to Memorandum of Agreement for Cooperative Research

4 Months ARO

Proposal for recommended further testing

4 Months ARO

WiFi Test
bed Experiment Final Report

7 Months ARO

Monthly Expenditure and Progress Report

Monthly (1st submission 30

days ARO;
subsequent inputs NLT 7 business days after close
out of the prior business month)

Host technical interchange meetings (TIM) as directed by the sponsor.

A table is provided below with an outline of activities in Phase 3 in relation to

This is provided to clarify the type and level of effort. All timing is estimated and
contingent on funding starting on or before May 1.


Phase 2

Phase 3

April 2


Test bed exercise: flight operations


Deployment & checkout report


se report


Exercise scripts tested in lab

Nominal Start: May 1

May 7


Test bed exercise: scripts

SNC flight integration plan


Plane 2 completed, flight tested

Iridium integration plan


Exercise report

Deployment and test plan

June 4

nt navigation tested


tier ad hoc routing


Experimentation report

Test bed exercise: SNC flyover


Updated experimentation plan

July 2

VoIP functionality

Exercise report


Test bed exercise: mobile nodes

Lab based checkout of all tests


Test bed experimentation report

Iridium equipment acquired


Exercise report

Further research+testing proposal


Updated design specification

August 6


Real time remote monitoring

Updated cooperative agreement


Test bed exercise: all expe


Test bed exercise: all experiments

September 3

Iridium testing in lab


Exercise report



Test bed exercise: Iridium


October 1

Exercise report



Final remote monitor interface



Final updated documents

r 5



Final Report

By the end of Phase 3, we will have the ability to rapidly deploy a communication
infrastructure using airborne and terrestrial nodes. A NOC framework for remote
monitoring, access, and control will be in place.


c Issues

The project team will provide for the purpose of these experiments the:

Research documentation such as project and thesis reports.

University laboratory facilities.

Local ground and flight test range.

Integrated ground equipment.

Operational supp
ort for flying the UAVs.

Test and collection software.

Operational support for the network and NOC.

Portions of the items above will be contracted rather than provided by the CU.
The program team will either install or contract for the installation of pa
rt or all of the
ground systems and AP
NOC data link. The project team will contract for general
aviation aircraft and/or pilots as needed to support testing and development.

ComCept furnished equipment and support will include:

Testbed and hardware eq
uipment where appropriate.

Appropriate reference documentation.

Operational support for test bed rehearsals.

BFE Items Previously Provided to University (Inventoried as of March 3
, 2004):

35 Orinoco 802.11b Gold PC Cards

35 External Adaptor Cables

14 A
vaya Wireless LAN Outdoor Routers

7 IBM Netvista M42 Desktop Computers

6 Linksys Ethernet Switches

5 IBM Thinkpad Laptop Computers

5 Wavelan Ethernet Converters


1 Set Agilent E6474 Wireless Network Optimization Software and Cables

1 Redhat LINUX 8.0

2 Shar
p Zaurus Linux PDAs with Camera Attachments

1 Berkeley Varitronics Yellowjacket 802.11 Analyzer and Software

2 Dell Inspiron Portable Computers with Power Adapters

7 Fidelity Comtech 802.11 Ground Radio Units

4 Fidelity Comtech 802.11 UAV Radio Units




The University of Colorado at Boulder

Faculty, staff, and students from the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the
University of Colorado at Boulder will contribute to and manage this program.


University Project Team

The Principal Investigator (PI) for this effort will be Professor Timothy (Tim) X Brown.
He is a full
time faculty with a joint appointment between the Electrical and Computer
Engineering Department (ECE) and the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Progr
(ITP) and specializes in wireless IP
centric communications. The Co
PI will be
Professor Brian M. Argrow. Prof. Argrow is a full
time faculty member of the
Aerospace Engineering (ASE) Department. His specialty focuses on UAVs. Both are
tenured prof
essors at the University of Colorado. Both are heavily published in their
respective disciplines.

Gerald (Mitch) Mitchell who is a full
time faculty member of ITP will provide
program management. Mr. Mitchell is currently managing the finances of ITP. H
e has
extensive industrial and carrier program management experience.

Harvey M. Gates will serve as a technical advisor to the management team. Dr.
Gates is a part
time member of the ITP faculty.


University Support and Oversight

This project will be place
d in and managed through the Interdisciplinary
Telecommunications Program (ITP). The ITP is headed by Prof. Tom Lookabaugh who
is a full
time faculty member. Therefore, the PI, Prof. Brown will report to Prof.
Lookabaugh for program support, reporting, a
nd oversight. Prof. Lookabaugh will
provide spacious laboratory facilities in our new Discovery Learning Center (DLC).
Additional laboratory space for the UAV integration and development will be provided in
the Space Experiments Institute, also located i
n the DLC. The DLC is an integral part of
the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences complex on the University of Colorado
Boulder campus. The departments report to the Dean of the College of Engineering and
Applies Sciences, Prof. Robert H. Davis.


ntract Services and ComCept Representatives

ComCept planning is currently underway. Funding will be incremental and in phase with
the ComCept Master Program Schedule.



ComCept Representation and Contracting

ComCept funding and contract management for this
effort is worked through the
Washington office of ComCept with project management support coming from the
Rockwall, Texas office. In previous work, the contract vehicle was between ComCept
and CU. It is anticipated that this contact arrangement will preva
il for this effort.


ComCept Cost Proposal

A total of $70,000 will be required for the University of Colorado to complete the
proposed research for Phase 3 of the ComCept project. The expenditures will be for the
time of the PI, Co
PI, administrative and t
echnical support, and the students doing the
research. In addition, there will be money for other direct costs. Phase 2 and Phase 3 are
closely related. Some activities will be concurrently sponsored by Phase 2 and Phase 3
funding. See attachment 1 Phase

3 budget. Hardware equipment will be provided as
Company Furnished Equipment through ComCept.


The Need for Long Term Funding

Longer term funding is needed by university research than at commercial enterprises for
several reasons. This is driven by fixed
starting periods, long lead times for integrating
students into projects, and the need to pass expertise between students. These reasons are
explained in more detail below.

Students are hired for a semester at a time. These start in January, May, and
st. Students seek positions well in advance of these start times. So, if a project is
funded in August, it may not be possible to find any student with the necessary skill
available until January. Thus, it is important that funding is arranged well in adva
nce of
these start times.

Students also require training to be brought up to full capabilities. Often the first
portion of a contract is spent on student training with little productive output. The
majority of the time in a one or two semester project will

be spent on such training.
Students in longer term projects are simply more productive.

Finally, when a project ends students move on to other projects or graduate. The
expertise that is developed for a project can disipate. This expertise requires time
to be
reacquired or relearned by new students.

In summary, funding for four students over three years is much preferable to
funding for 12 students over one year. Similarly continuous funding with no gaps and
long lead times is preferable to intermittent f
unding. University research has produced
some of the greatest advances in science and technology. The special nature of how it
works must be understood to achieve these advances.