Lead University: Carnegie Mellon University
PI:  Anthony Rowe, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Co-PIs:  Bob Iannucci, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Infrastructure monitoring applications in outdoor environments currently lack a cost-effective solution for supporting the last communication hop of low-power sensing devices. The use of cellular infrastructure requires contracts and complex radios that are often too power hungry and cost prohibitive for sensing applications that require just a few bits of data each day. New low-power, sub-GHz, long-range radios are an ideal technology to help fill this communication void by providing access points that are able to cover multiple kilometers of urban space with thousands of end-point devices. These new Low-Power Wide-Area Networking (LP-WAN) platforms provide an extremely cost-effective and highly deployable option that could piggyback off of existing public and private wireless networks (WiFi, GSM, etc). In this project, we will design, deploy and evaluate an open-source wireless communication system based on LoRA radio chipsets. Our goal is to provide an open, secure and free-to-use telemetry network rooted at CMU’s campuses that extends to the city of Pittsburgh and Palo Alto. This will enable a plethora of applications ranging from water and power sensing to transportation, traffic light control, pedestrian / cyclist counting, hazardous road condition sensing and even parking garage management. We will pilot the technology with a few simple use-cases like helping CMU’s Facilities Maintenance Services (FMS) monitor overheating and water leaks in hard to reach locations on campus. The network will also provide the campus’ maker community and Citizen Scientist around the Pittsburgh area with a free communication backhaul opening up the creative potential of our student body. With the help of industry sponsor Crown Castle, we have a unique opportunity to design, deploy and evaluate one of the nation’s first communication networks of this type.