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The focus of this project is on performance evaluation of next-gen (5G oriented) wireless networks via a mix of a) network simulation using the open source network simulator ns-3 and b) test-beds aligned with ns-3. As the managing entity forns-3, UW is uniquely positioned to deliver on a) while our partner CTTC, Barcelona has collaborated on multiple ns-3 projects with UW over the years and had developed 5G test-beds (from EU project funding). The two main research pillars conducted at UW under this effort include:

  1. For cross-layer network simulation in ns-3, PHY abstractions for increasingly complex transmission scenarios are a necessity (and a significant barrier/opportunity toward the creation of better simulation frameworks). The project confronted this head-on via exploration of continuing advances on PHY layer abstractions for use in ns-3 at simulation run-time.
  2. Simulation tools and hardware testbeds have developed independently, resulting in different workflows, terminology, and APIs for users who may want to use them as complementary within a hybrid co-simulation/emulation with HW in loop-cum-experimentation approach. POWDER, U. Utah ( can support fine-grained scripting and repeatable testbed experiments. This component focused on better alignment of ns-3 with POWDER as the target infrastructure for running ns-3 programs.
  • Personnel: Sumit Roy (Principal Investigator), Tom Henderson, Sian Jin, Hao Yin
  • Collaboration: Centre Technologic Telecomunicacions Catalunya (CTTC Barcelona), IMDEA Networks
  • Publications:
    • T. R. Henderson, “ns-3 Alignment with the POWDER-RENEW Testbed”, University of Washington, Tech report, Sept 2020 (link)
  • Educational Activities (WNS3 tutorials):
  • Outreach and Broader Impact Outcomes:
    • Understanding and quantization of scaling aspects of PHY abstraction complexity as a function of complex (non AWGN) channels, MIMO dimension, bandwidth for single-user operation → this directly lead to the most significant outcome, the development of EESM-log SGN PHY abstraction workflow as a robust solution.
    • Initial exploration of scaling aspects of simulation runtime for multi-network (overlapping small cells) scenarios: incorporation of simultaneous multi-user transmission.
    • Developed documentation, scripts, and code to improve the alignment of ns-3 simulations with POWDER, published on the ns-3 App Store (link) and also within POWDER’s disk image inventory. This approach can be extended further as POWDER evolves, and the general approach should translate to other advanced wireless testbeds.