A photograph and graphic representing a modern communication network

Ondas Network Inc. offers undergraduate research opportunities

Students will use equipment on loan from Ondas Network Inc. to support new research in rail transportation engineering and security and risk analysis.
By: Marissa Carney

Penn State Altoona students will use equipment on loan from Ondas Network Inc. to support new undergraduate research in rail transportation engineering (RTE) and security and risk analysis (SRA).

Ondas Networks Inc. and American Robotics are subsidiaries of Ondas Holding, a leading provider of private wireless, drone, and automated data solutions. Students will utilize Ondas’s IEEE 802.16 standards-based communication platform to experiment with various frequency, capacity, and modulation schemes in addition to testing advanced network security configurations for the Class 1 Rails. The goal of the research is to model secure and reliable communications networks suitable for deployment across freight and passenger railroad networks worldwide.

Penn State Altoona’s RTE program, the only one of its kind in the nation, was established in 2009 with an initial grant from the Norfolk Southern Foundation at the request of railroad and transit executives who noted the need for more education and training.

“As railroads become increasingly dependent on communication as part of their business operations, they rely more on their data networks,” states Stephen Dillen, assistant teaching professor of electrical engineering. “The Ondas radio platform is designed to optimize the bandwidth of the network. Through this research, RTE students will be exposed to the latest cutting-edge communication technology.”

To provide a broader exposure to railroad communications technology, the research project will produce a series of lab exercises to be incorporated into the RTE program’s Communications and Signals curriculum. This world-class undergraduate research will be made available to railroads and other industries with similar communications needs. “Just last week, Ondas announced the Rail Industry’s support for a major rail lab at Ondas’ headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. We felt it was important to ensure that research is continued at the academic level, including exposing the rail industry’s future leaders to next-generation communications systems through our support of this research project,” stated Eric Brock, chairman and CEO of Ondas Holdings.

“We are excited to be working with Ondas to advance railroad communication technology,” states Corey Gracie-Griffin, Penn State Altoona’s associate dean for research. “Our RTE faculty regularly engage industry partners to conduct research and expose our students to hands-on opportunities to develop the skills they’ll need to succeed in their careers.”

Students will begin research projects in spring 2022.