Research Centers


WINLAB (Wireless Information Network Laboratory) - This is an industry-university research center whose mission is to advance the development of wireless networking technology by combining resources from government, industry and academia. The center has made a number of important technical contributions to mobile computing, high speed modem design, radio resource management, and network architectures and protocols. To date, WINLAB has produced approximately 125 MS and PhD graduates specializing in wireless technology. WINLAB has been supported by a broad cross section of leading wireless industry sponsors and has received grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology (NJCST). Since 2003, WINLAB has been home to the “ORBIT” Next-Generation Wireless Testbed sponsored by NSF's Network Research Testbeds (NRT) program, thus serving as a hub for experimental wireless networking research for the community as a whole. In 2010, a WINLAB-led team was awarded a $7.6M ``Future Internet Architecture" (FIA) grant from NSF to design, prototype and validate a comprehensive mobility-centric future Internet architecture called “MobilityFirst”. WINLAB faculty have also been awarded numerous research grants from NSF, DARPA, ARL (Army Research Laboratory), NRL (Naval Research Lab) and other agencies on topics ranging from energy efficient radio system and dynamic spectrum access to mobile content delivery and information security/privacy.

WINLAB has the capability of fabricating prototype devices and printed circuits with K&S wedge bonder, SMT rework equipment as well as various FPGA development platforms and programmable embedded platforms (APTIX, GNU radio USRP, etc.). The laboratories are also equipped with various network analyzers, RF spectrum analyzers, high-speed digitizing oscilloscopes, function generators, power meters and other general purpose laboratory equipment (shielded enclosures, antennas, etc.).

WINLAB's research and administrative operations are now located at the Rutgers Technology Centre II, at 671 US Route One, just south of the Rutgers Cook Campus. The Technology Centre provides meeting rooms and facilities for hosting workshop-oriented events and is capable of supporting roughly 70 attendees. Faculty advising offices and a satellite administrative office are also located on the 5th Floor of the CORE building in Busch Campus near the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science departments. Total floor space at these two locations is approximately 18,000 sq-ft including about 7000 sq-ft of laboratories.

Major Development and Evaluation Testbeds:

The ORBIT open access testbed for next-generation wireless networking at WINLAB provides a “real-world” experimentation means that is capable of capturing the complexity of the wireless channel and its impact on the protocol stack. ORBIT consists of a large-scale radio grid emulator (an array of 20x20 programmable nodes) as in Figure A and Figure B, with multiple 802.11a/b/g and other interfaces. Already, the ORBIT testbed has been extended to support additional wireless technologies beyond 802.11, and in particular the testbed consists of several GNU Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) software radio boards attached to ORBIT nodes via a USB2.0 interface. ORBIT will also be augmented by incorporating both WINLAB’s cognitive radio prototype and USRP2. In addition to the basic grid, ORBIT provides radio mapping algorithms and a mobility emulation server that allows users to emulate real-world wireless scenarios in a controlled, reproducible experimental setting. ORBIT software allows experimenters to manipulate wireless interfaces (such as the GnuRadio/USRP) to choreograph experiments, and to collect large volumes of performance data. Beyond the core testbed, ORBIT is augmented with additional experimental resources. RF instrumentation: The ORBIT grid includes equipment for measurement of radio signal levels and to create various types of artificial RF interference (white noise, colored noise, microwave oven like noise etc.) inside the grid. The interference generator is based on the RF Vector Signal Generator while the spectrum measurements are done using Vector Signal Analyzers. Network Monitoring: An independent WLAN monitoring system (using equipment donated by Aruba Networks) provides a MAC/network layer view of the radio grid’s components using a number of WLAN “observers” spread across the system. Support Servers: The testbed’s backend equipment includes several front-end servers for web services, experiment support and data storage. The database servers support multi-terabyte storage capacity. There is also an Ethernet switching array with ~1400 ports necessary to switch traffic from 3 x 400 grid node interfaces and the servers.

WINLAB is also host organization for several cognitive radio platform developmental efforts. WINLAB’s cognitive radio prototype’s architecture is based on four major elements: (1) MEMS-based tri-band agile RF front-end, (2) FPGA-based software defined radio (SDR); (3) FPGA-based packet processing engine; and (4) embedded CPU core for control and management. These components are integrated into a single high-end prototype system (WINC2R) which leverages an SDR implementation from Lucent Bell Labs as the starting point. A second platform, the SPIRAL-II GENI cognitive radio platform (depicted in Figure C), is being developed at WINLAB as part of the NSF GENI initiative.

The SPIRAL-II GENI platform leverages off the shelf FPGA components and a wide-tuning-range custom-made RF front-end to support experiments in the 300MHz to 7GHz. The SPIRAL-II platform supports up to 4 full-duplex RF chains and multiple baseband transceiver implementations. The SPIRAL-II GENI platform will be integrated into the ORBIT wireless testbed so as to provide cognitive radio resources to the broader networking research community, and to support experimentation with new physical and MAC layer protocols. Lastly, WINLAB is part of the NSF-funded effort to expand the GNU-radio-based open-source software to enable MAC-layer networking experimentation. As part of this effort, the ORBIT testbed has been equipped with a large number of USRP2 software radio platforms.

Further, WINLAB is the host organization for the SPIRAL-II GENI meso-scale WiMax deployment, which provides NEC WiMax basestations with open-APIs to seven campuses across the USA (with Rutgers-WINLAB serving as the lead). The WiMax basestations enable large-scale mobile networking experiments covering a wide geographic area. A depiction of the WiMax basestation deployment in central New Jersey is provided in Figure D.

Microelectronics Research Laboratory (MERL)

MERL (Microelectronics Research Laboratory) - This is a 3800 sq. ft. clean room facility with areas for lithography (photo and nano), wet chemistry, dry process (deposition and etch), thermal process (growth and diffusion), metrology, and backend process. It supports multidisciplinary research in the ECE Department, across Rutgers, and for government and industrial users. Current on-going research projects include wide band gap semiconductor materials, such as SiC and ZnO and their novel devices, silicon photonics, multifunctional sensors, materials and devices for green energy, nanoelectronics and nanophotonics, and bioelectronics, etc. MERL also facilitates undergraduate and graduate education, including lab courses, capstone designs, thesis research and special projects. Hosting many state-of-the-art research projects such as understanding slow light loss in photonic crystal waveguides and nanofabrication of germanium nanowires, MERL is instrumental in enabling Rutgers to be one of the global leaders in SiC and ZnO device research. Silicon carbide (SiC) is a "wide band gap" semiconductor that extends electronics to high voltage and high temperature beyond silicon’s capability, for defense, energy, and automobile applications. MERL is home to many “firsts” in SiC devices. The newest MERL acquisition, an atomic layer deposition (ALD) system, will allow innovative material engineering and novel device fabrication. Zinc oxide (ZnO) is also a “wide band gap” semiconductor, but the innovative MOCVD selective growth technique developed in MERL allows multifunctional material processing and nanostructure integration with unique electrical, optical, piezoelectric, and mechanical properties.