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Securing Non-Terrestrial Networks in NextG

Principal Investigator: Nishith D. Tripathi, research associate professor, electrical and computer engineering, Virginia Tech

Co-Principal Investigator: Jeffrey H. Reed, founder, wireless@VirginiaTech, Willis G. Worcester Professor, electrical and computer engineering, Virginia Tech

Securing Non-Terrestrial Networks in NextG Project Description:

NextG wireless technology such as 6G is expected to further expand the reach of wireless technologies. Non-terrestrial networks, which include satellite communications networks and air-to-ground networks, are predicted to be an integral part of NextG networks. Compared to a terrestrial network, an NTN provides unique benefits such as ubiquity, service continuity, and scalability. NTNs do pose unique challenges in long and time-varying delays, frequency shifts due to fast satellite speeds, and other challenges. In this project, researchers plan to determine security vulnerabilities of an NTN for various architectures such as transparent and regenerative payloads, model relevant features of the architecture and security capabilities in a simulation framework and identify candidate solutions for selected vulnerabilities. Researchers also plan to develop the design of a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) system that could be used for experiments such as those related to Internet of Things devices served by an NTN.