The High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN) is one of the Applied Network Research (ANR) projects at the University of California, San Diego.

HPWREN functions as a collaborative Internet-connected cyberinfrastructure on research, education, and public safety activities. The project supports a wireless data network in San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial counties (topology). The network includes backbone nodes, typically on mountain tops, to connect often hard-to-reach areas in remote environments.

HPWREN supports a vast spectrum of network application requirements, ranging from the bursty, very-high-volume data, predominantly at night, of the Palomar Observatory, to continuous low-volume traffic of individual sensors that possibly have tight real-time requirements, such as earthquake sensors. HPWREN includes permanent sites, as well as those created temporarily and on short notice, such as firefighter Incident Command Posts (ICPs).

The network spans from San Clemente Island in the Pacific Ocean, via the southern California coast to the inland valleys, on to the high mountains, to elevations of more than 8,700 feet, and out to the remote desert, reaching almost to the Arizona border. The network’s longest link is 72 miles in distance - reaching from UCSD’s San Diego Supercomputer Center to San Clemente Island.

The HPWREN backbone itself operates in FCC-licensed radio spectrum, while integrating a system of off-the-shelf radio technology. To increase robustness, large portions of the network utilize a redundant topology to create more routes and to increase bandwidth. Access paths to the backbone utilize license-exempt or FCC-licensed radio links. The wireless link capacity ranges from full-duplex, 155Mbps FCC-licensed to license-exempt sensor access links with orders-of-magnitude less capacity, as driven by actual needs. The HPWREN team focuses its research on network systems integration, workload profiling, performance analysis, and the application of Quality of Service (QoS) and Policy Based Routing (PBR) methodologies to steer the performance of the network.

HPWREN originated in the year 2000 via a network research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and additional NSF grants in 2004 and 2009. As of July 2011, the backbone maintenance is user-recharge based, as a joint activity between the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

HPWREN project overview materials

Summary video