Industry and Government Tap Florida Tech Engineers for Network Expertise

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New Projects Include Developing Wireless Sensor Network for Fire Detection, Streamlining Mission-Critical Networks in Saudi Arabia

The goal of Florida Tech’s Wireless Center of Excellence (WiCE) in the Department Electrical and Computing Engineering is to give practical skills and research opportunities to students who want to pursue careers in wireless engineering. To do this, WiCE fosters partnerships with industry to give students and faculty opportunities to do practical research in areas related to wireless communication, wireless multimedia communication and wireless sensor systems.

Recently, associate professors Ivica Kostanic and Susan Earles teamed up with Circuit Cells Company (CCC) to develop a wireless sensor network for fire detection. The sensor hardware, radio and networking will be developed at Florida Tech, and the software will be developed by CCC. The goal of the project is to create and deploy a network that uses Zigbee (a low-powered, wireless personal area network) for connectivity between sensors and a gateway, and cellular or WiFi for connectivity between the gateway and a central database. Though the project is centered on fire detection, the architecture of the system allows for future development of many other types of wireless sensor networks.

Another project in the works at WiCE is research into fragmented, mission-critical networks in other countries. As wireless technology continues to proliferate, government agencies are faced with a diversity of standards, technologies and proprietary features that often make different networks inoperable. Furthermore, advanced communications that require streaming video or broadband radio access are not supported by less modern networks.

These gaps in technology are a real problem for  first responders such as the military, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel who may be unable to coordinate operations on the ground in certain areas. The WiCE lab has teamed up with Bravo, a leading provider of mission-critical communication services in Saudi Arabia, to address many of the challenges associated with migration of the current communications to new technologies. Some of the challenges include coverage planning, capacity planning, deployment scenarios, traffic and capacity management, and section of offered services. 

Kostanic, Earles and faculty member Josko Zec are contributing to this project.

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