POWDER-RENEW Mobile and Wireless Week 2019

We are pleased to host the first POWDER-RENEW Mobile and Wireless Week on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, Utah, from September 9-13, 2019.

Attendees will be exposed to research on wireless and mobile networks and will learn about the features of the POWDER platform and how it can drive existing and future research. The Mobile and Wireless Week will include lectures, talks, and significantly, hands-on exploration towards setting up and conducting exciting wireless experiments.

We expect most of the participants of the Mobile and Wireless Week to be students who are ready to use the POWDER platform for their research. However, we would like to keep the enrollment open to a broader set of students and also include a few somewhat junior students who might use the platform later in their research.

The cost of travel, lodging, and meals for up to 25 students from US institutions selected for the Mobile and Wireless Week will be covered by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Non-students and students from non-US institutions are welcome to apply to attend and if selected will be expected to cover their own costs.

Dates and times


Application due: July 24, 2019

Advisor's letter due: July 24, 2019

Decision Notification: July 31, 2019

Mobile and Wireless Week

Start: Monday, September 9, 2019 at 8:30 AM

End: Friday, September 13, 2019 at 5:00 PM


Mobile and Wireless Week will be held on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, Utah.


To apply to attend the Mobile and Wireless Week please complete this application by July 24 2019.

Local information


Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) is the local airport. The Salt Lake City downtown area and the University of Utah campus can be reached from the airport using the TRAX light rail system. (Green line from the airport to Courthouse station. Red line from Courthouse to the University of Utah campus.)


The University Guest House and Conference Center is conveniently located on the University of Utah campus. The campus can also easily be reached from Salt Lake City downtown hotels using the TRAX red line.


Please send email to mww2019@powderwireless.net.

Schedule Overview

The topics to be covered during the first four days of the Mobile and Wireless Week are described below. (Subject to some change...)

Each session will be a combination of talks/lectures and hands-on exercises using the POWDER platform. The last day of the week will be dedicated to small hands-on research projects on the platform.

POWDER platform overview and basic hands-on

This session will provide an overview of the POWDER platform, its features and building blocks. Topics covered will include:

  • Overview of the available POWDER infrastructure and software, as well as future plans.
  • Hands-on POWDER exploration covering:
    • The POWDER experimental workflow.
    • Platform mechanisms (profiles, images, data stores etc.)
    • Selecting the best resources for your research (compute, controlled RF, over-the-air RF etc.)

Softwarization of the radio access network

This session will cover the evolution of the radio access network (RAN), from an inflexible purpose-made and proprietary hardware infrastructure, to a flexible, open infrastructure aligned with broader trends associated with software-defined networking, network function virtualization and network programmability. Topics covered will include:

  • RAN functionality in the context of 4G and 5G.
  • RAN refactoring (functional splits) that are being proposed.
  • Efforts towards open and programmable RAN abstractions.
  • RAN related open source stacks.
  • Hands-on RAN exploration on the POWDER platform.


This session will cover using Powder to observe the multipath radio channel and the RF spectrum. We will provide an overview of path loss models, multipath fading, and link budgeting for communication systems designers. We will describe several GNU radio tools which can be used to measure and display channel measurements. Particular topics:

  • Path loss models (Friis, path loss exponent models)
  • Frequency-selective fading
  • Temporal fading
  • Link budgets including tradeoff between data rate and probability of bit error
  • Spectrum monitoring and source location estimation
  • Hands-on exploration on POWDER with tools provided by GNU radio
  • Developing code to process IQ samples from GNU radio

Communications Basics

This session will introduce basic blocks of a modern wireless communication link:

  • Modulation/Demodulation
  • OFDM
  • Channel estimation and equalization
  • MIMO techniques to enhance capacity
  • Key metrics like symbol/bit error rates

By completing the exercises, the participants will have an introductory understanding of the key PHYsical Layer blocks in wireless communication links. The participants will be provided with lab handouts, presentations and use scripts to understand the concepts. The scripts will be used in MATLAB simulation environment. Thus, our only prerequisite is a working knowledge of MATLAB. Solutions to all the exercises will be provided at the end of each session.

Antenna design: introduction and theory

This is an introduction to the practice of antenna design for communication systems (POWDER in particular). Basic antenna theory will be presented followed by hands on antenna simulation in the CST Design environment.

  • Antenna definition and purpose
  • Antenna performance characteristics: efficiency, pattern/directivity, bandwidth, array factor, element coupling
  • Antennas in communication systems I: Friis equation
  • Antennas in communication systems II, multi-element arrays: MIMO, spatial diversity
  • The deployed antennas of POWDER: physical configuration, performance
  • Basic computational electromagnetics for antenna analysis
  • Antenna design and optimization: tutorial with simple antenna
  • Design of an antenna for POWDER fixed endpoints

Communications Research with POWDER-RENEW

The main goal is for the students to become adept in using the POWDER-RENEW platform. Thus, all the concepts learned in “Communications basics” will be repeated on over-the-air channel using the POWDER-RENEW platform and hardware.

Documented scripts will be provided to the participants to get them started, with each exercise building upon those to reinforce the communication concepts and especially their implementation on the POWDER platform.

© 2018–2022 The University of Utah

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CNS-1827940. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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