5G has emerged as a communication infrastructure that provides low-latency, high bandwidth, mobility and location accuracy, and security. This infrastructure enables a myriad of applications ranging from interactive media, wide-area AR/VR interfaces, vehicular and robotic control, etc. This proposal describes a pilot 5G laboratory at UCLA to provide this infrastructure for use by both educational and research communities.

A promise of 5G, especially coupled with mobile edge compute (MEC), is to enable more substantial off-loading of onboard processing of end-points provided sufficient quality of service. This fundamental tradeoff between end-point capability versus communication quality of service (QoS) is a broad research topic and its exploration is one of the key purposes of this proposed laboratory. By enabling unsophisticated endpoints and providing guarantees in the communication infrastructure, such a laboratory not only enables research but also provides an easy development interface for beginning users (e.g. students) to create endpoints both software and hardware. A broad array of applications would be developed through course laboratories, users of our maker space, club activities, and research groups.

Since different applications strains the communications in varying manners, this effort has the potential of providing greater understanding of the 5G networking requirements and QoS. The purpose of MECA Laboratory can be summarized as establishing a pilot 5G development environment for (1) new application demonstration and development for software deployments, virtualized deployments to emulate hardware, and autonomous hardware deployments, (2) explore limitations of 5G network performance toward end-to-end applications, and (3) explore novel communication and control mechanisms to take advantage of network information to enhance system performance.