Fifth-generation wireless technology, commonly referred to as 5G, promises to deliver a technology revolution in wireless communication. Already, wireless carriers and equipment manufacturers are incorporating 5G capabilities in their devices and working to construct national 5G networks. As the 5G revolution moves forward, a national challenge will emerge to develop and validate 5G security protocols and data protection technologies.
In response to this national challenge, Idaho National Laboratory established the INL Wireless Security Institute to lead and coordinate government, academic, and private industry research efforts fostering more secure and reliable 5G wireless technology. The Institute draws on INL’s extensive expertise and unique facilities that have been used for more than two decades to analyze, design, test, and improve cellular, radio and satellite communication systems for government agencies and global wireless communication companies.
“5G has the potential to drastically change how information is exchanged for communication and control using wireless networks. It will make autonomous vehicles a reality, it will enable a fleet of drones to communicate during public safety, and it will improve the speed of information exchange by at least 10 times,” said Dr. Arupjyoti Bhuyan, the Institute’s technical director. “Before 5G is deployed nationwide, the technology must be trusted, and security is a critical component of trust.”
The INL Wireless Security Institute will support government agencies, regulatory bodies and private industry by establishing a collaborative, core partnership of public and private leaders in the wireless communication field. Together with partners, the Institute will help prioritize the most pressing security needs and elevate research efforts. While certain core capabilities will be equipped and staffed at INL, the Institute will leverage and collaborate with many organizations across the nation to address challenges such as network reliability, infrastructure resiliency, millimeter wave spectrum efficiency and data encryption, among other initiatives.
The laboratory already maintains one of the nation’s largest and most diverse wireless communications test ranges, equipped with advanced capabilities to aid public and private organizations validate new equipment and network configurations. In recent years, INL has built leading-edge wireless communication research capabilities by hiring key technical experts and investing in these experts with internal research funding. This has resulted in expanding scientific and engineering fields through the discovery of new electronic and radio frequency phenomena solutions published in leading international technical forums, and development and validation of technology innovations recognized by national and international patent offices and standards committees.
For more information on the new Wireless Security Institute, visit https://factsheets.inl.gov/FactSheets/Wireless%20Research%20Capabilities%20Factsheet.pdf.
INL is one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.
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