Penn State partners on NSF grant to improve 5G networks

December 1, 2023

By Mariah R. Lucas

Editor’s note: Information in this article was originally reported by the University of Kansas and Mississippi State University 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State will partner with several universities on a $5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Convergence Accelerator grant to advance the security of 5G technologies and communications systems used by the Department of Defense.  

Syed Rafiul Hussain​, the Charles K. Etner Early Career Assistant Professor in Penn State’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, will lead a team of graduate students in researching how to detect and avert threats to 5G communications. The Penn State team also will provide computing and lab facilities to support the University of Kansas, the lead institution on the grant. 

“My systems and network security research group will lead the development of novel intrusion detection mechanisms that will enable 5G devices deployed in Department of Defense missions to monitor, detect and thwart threats — such as in intercepting the phone calls or text messages that can disrupt regular operations — in real-time with minimum overhead to the devices and the network infrastructure,” Hussain said.  

The project, led by Taejoon Kim, assistant professor for the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Kansas, is part of the second phase of the NSF Convergence Accelerator Track G: Securely Operating Through 5G Infrastructure. The program aims to enable enhancements to end devices — such as smartphones and tablets — and augment 5G wireless infrastructure to allow military, government and critical infrastructure operators to operate through public 5G networks while meeting security and resilience requirements.


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