This project will (1) provide a Proximity Exploration Wireless Communications Testbed (ExWC) for support of NASA Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) wireless network communication research activities; and (2) Identify programmatic next steps and future research activities to best support NASA Exploration Missions.

The long-term goal is to set up a comprehensive Proximity Wireless Network Communications testbed facility with broad RF design, modeling, prototyping, and testing capabilities which can be utilized for (1) NASA standards-based proximity wireless network evaluation/verification testing; and (2) potential standards-based proximity wireless communications interoperability testing between NASA and a future International Partner.

NASA CCSDS Data Standardization: proximity wireless network communications (ICSIS doc)

Deep Space Gateway (DSG) and lunar surface communications options and recommendations are summarized. The standards are applicable to internal and external proximity wireless network communications, specifically in support of DSG visiting-vehicle communications links, robotic and crewed EVA sorties, payload communications and lunar surface-to-surface operations. The goal of the recommendations is to provide summary information and guidance to agency decision makers for system down-select purposes with a pragmatic eye to account for timeline considerations of future capabilities as supporting technologies evolve.

Trimble 802.11ah

The new 802.11ah standard promises to considerably extend the range of Wi-Fi networks by operating in the 900 MHz ISM band in the US. While the narrower band of 26 MHz results in a lower available data rate, the new standard offers several new advantageous features such as the restricted access window, traffic indication maps, and target wake time. However, as 802.11ah hardware is still in development, empirical outdoor results for the new standards are still missing. The goal of this research project is to create a simple 802.11ah transmitter and receiver using two software defined radios (SDR) running a GNU Radio model emulating the new standard. Tests were conducted at three different test sites simulating three different test environments. Initial results show that 802.11ah can more than keep its promise of Wi-Fi beyond one kilometer as acceptable packet drop rates were still achieved at a distance of 2.7 km.