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Large Scale Wireless Testbed

Part of Testbed Utilised:
UMBRELLA wireless network and LoRa wireless network

Key Stakeholders:
South Gloucestershire Council, Toshiba, Bristol and Bath Science Park

Key Goal:
Aid IoT developers in testing their applications and protocols in one easy to use testbed

User Case Diamond Wireless Image

The Challenge

The Internet of Things (IoT) has introduced the concept of making items ‘smart’ through connecting them to the internet and allowing them the ability to collect and share data about their environments. From smart bulbs, allowing people to turn on and off their lights from their phone, to smart industrial machines allowing the real-time collection of data on production, it is affecting every facet of society and the economy. Statista estimates that by 2025 there will be 38.6 billion connected devices and 50 billion by 2030. The vast majority of these will be connected through one form or another of wireless communication. No one wireless protocol (e.g. Wifi, 5G, Bluetooth) will be best suited to all types of devices and situations, making it important to test which wireless protocol is best for the application at hand.

Over the last 15 years, several wireless IoT testbeds have emerged to help researchers test wireless protocols, though these testbeds have been largely academically focused. The existing testbeds are often limited by the number of wireless devices available and are mostly being located indoors in controlled environments. Testbeds tend to focus on one or two wireless technologies, meaning testing several technologies requires signing up to and using multiple testbeds.

The Approach

UMBRELLA’s large-scale wireless testbed incorporates several wireless technologies including short range, long range, cellular, non-cellular, licensed and unlicensed technologies.

The UMBRELLA nodes are placed in both indoor and outdoor locations, with the majority located in real-world locations across the South Gloucestershire region.

Radios Include:

  • IEEE 802.15.4
  • Bluetooth Low Energy
  • Ultrawideband
  • LTE/5G
  • NB-IoT
  • LoRa

The UMBRELLA platform has a variety of tools to run network diagnostics, visualise wireless networks, collect performance metrics and evaluate them against one another.

More can be read on the technical specifications in our Wiki – sign up to use now.

The Benefits

  • Presence of multiple radios in one testbed allows users to test their applications and protocols with multiple wireless technologies and evaluate them all on one platform.
  • Broad reach – the testbed would benefit city councils, industrial researchers, academics, robotic designers, technology pioneers and entrepreneurs, factories, and retailers.
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