Missouri S&T broadband research wins national contract

Posted by
On March 30, 2021

Wireless tech in Clinton County, Missouri.

Sights like this could become more common as wireless technology brings broadband internet to rural areas. Photo provided by United Electric Cooperative in Clinton County, Missouri.

Rural Missourians benefit from work to expand high-speed internet

At least 17 million residents of the United States lack access to high-speed internet, impeding their ability to use online education, telemedicine and remote work. Dr. Casey Canfield, assistant professor of engineering management and systems engineering at Missouri S&T, is leading a team of experts working to solve the challenge, and now their work is supported by a one-year, $300,000 grant award as part of U.S. Ignite’s Project OVERCOME.

The researchers will use multiple radio frequencies (RF) stitched together to simulate a high-bandwidth device. The method will reduce costs as well as expand broadband access to underserved communities.

“Our team is deploying a wireless network in Clinton County, in northwestern Missouri, using RF-over-Fiber technology to provide high-speed broadband access to residents who are located outside of areas with fiber broadband infrastructure,” says Canfield. “We have an amazing team bringing a wealth of experience to the project.”

Canfield is working with co-leads Dr. Alex Wyglinski and Dr. Shamsnaz Bhada, both of whom are on the electrical and computer engineering faculty at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts.

WPI is providing the underlying innovative technology solution at the core of this project to make the system a reality. This solution is the result of nearly 14 years of wireless technology research at WPI. As part of their role, WPI researchers will not only program the system to determine when various wireless nodes need to be operational, but also build a replicable architecture for future applications.

“WPI is thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Casey Canfield and Missouri S&T on this critical project,” says Bhada. “We expect this will be a transformative project that will improve the lives of residents in Clinton County.”

Additional co-leads are Darren Farnan from United Electric Cooperative and Christel Gollnick with Maximize Northwest Missouri and JUPER Communications. Senior team personnel include Sarah Low and Carlee Quinn with University of Missouri Extension and Andrew Aeschliman with United Fiber.

“Dr. Canfield and her team exemplify the ways in which Missouri S&T research can benefit our communities,” says Dr. Costas Tsatsoulis, vice chancellor of research and graduate studies. “We are pleased with the recognition by U.S. Ignite as we continue to work with our partners in the U.S. and abroad.”

The Missouri project is one of seven across the country selected for the grants, which are funded by the National Science Foundation.

About Missouri University of Science and Technology
Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,600 students and part of the four-campus University of Missouri System. Located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 99 different degree programs in 40 areas of study and is ranked by CollegeFactual as the best public university to study engineering. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu.

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