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Research & Development


Open and interoperable wireless technologies will help drive competition, strengthen global supply chain resiliency and lower costs for consumers and network operators. ​

​​​The Research & Development (R&D) focus area provides funding​ to promote the development of new and/or improved testing methodologies. These methodologies will test, evaluate, and validate the interoperability, performance, and/or security of networks, including their components.

​​To address the growing need for testing and evaluation of open and interoperable, standards-based 5G radio access networks, NTIA intends to fund Testing Methods R&D projects that address needs not currently met by industry-accepted tests and best practices. These projects fall into two categories:

  1. Develop new and emerging performance indicators and/or
  2. Develop enhanced methods for existing test criteria that make material improvements on current methods needed to assess interoperability, performance, and/or security on these networks and their component parts.

Grants within this specific research focus area will target R&D of new and enhanced testing methods and assessment criteria that are capable of being repeated in a variety of environments (e.g., lab, field, etc.) and different stages of product development. Flexibility of the testing methods while maintaining suitable accuracy is a priority. The following are two illustrative but non-exclusive examples of test flexibility maintaining accuracy:

  • ​Accurately measuring energy consumption of RAN equipment for dis-similar power supply methods (e.g., 120/240V AC mains power, -48V DC power, etc.) such that energy consumption can be compared between systems.
  • ​Including provisions for measuring performance of radios that support direct-cabled testing and radios that only have integrated antennas, such that radio RF performance can be accurately compared between the two to the maximum extent practical.

​More generally, examples of Testing Methods R&D include, but are not limited to:

  • Developing new and emerging performance indicators such as for energy and spectrum efficiency of 5G radio access networks;
  • Developing enhanced methods for existing 5G radio access network test criteria, where the goal is to make material improvement on current methods;
  • Developing new means of cybersecurity testing in 5G radio access networks;
  • ​Developing innovative testing solutions not contemplated by the three examples above.
    • An example of such a solution might be a virtualized testing environment that allows open and interoperable, standards-based 5G RAN products to be tested individually or in a stack at a more iterative pace than is permitted by “in real life” testing events.