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Arlington-based Federated Wireless to research securing 5G networks wherever U.S. military may go

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Ballston-based Federated Wireless is working with a university to secure 5G networks for U.S. soldiers and government operatives while abroad in possibly hostile countries.

It aims to develop a product that can secure 5G networks all over the world — even networks that are deployed by “potentially adversarial nations,” according to a press release.

That way, Americans abroad, whether in the military or part of a non-governmental organization, can use these networks without risking critical information falling into the hands of bad actors.

“The goal of the work is to ensure a range of users, from U.S. soldiers to commercial enterprises, can use 5G cellular networks in other countries, without those countries being able to extract valuable operational information,” Federated Wireless Chief Technology Officer Kurt Schaubach said in a statement.

Federated Wireless was selected to be the business partner for researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder leading the 2-year project, dubbed 5G Hidden Operations through Securing Traffic, or GHOST.

GHOST will explore disguising and anonymizing user identities, locations and traffic to prevent surveillance and analysis by hostile parties, the release said.

“This work is important for the United States because it inherently is about keeping our people safe,” said Eric Keller, a project researcher and CU Boulder associate professor, in a press release. “I’ve had the great fortune of being able to advise students at CU Boulder who were in the military, and hearing stories of situations they’ve been in really hits home the impact that GHOST could help keep them safer.”

The GHOST team (courtesy Federated Wireless)

The university and Federated Wireless recently received a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation for the project.

The duo received a $750,000 NSF grant in September 2022 to fund the initial development of the technology. The $5 million grant will fund further work to develop a single prototype. At the end of the project, Federated Wireless and the university will decide what makes sense to commercialize.

“We’re excited to see where the research leads,” a spokeswoman for Federated Wireless told ARLnow.

Lead CU Boulder researcher Keith Gremban says Federated Wireless is the right partner for the project because it will provide valuable communications expertise and can rapidly build prototypes of “cutting-edge 5G concepts.”

“Their involvement helps enable us to build a prototype capable of securing 5G communications in the most difficult environments,” he said in a statement.

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