Science Wireless Network, or SciWiNet, is an NSF funded research project that builds
and operates a nationwide wireless network that supports the
academic research community.
SciWiNet is based on an Mobile Virtual Network Operator
(MVNO) model. An MVNO is an entity that re-sells cellular services
from a wireless network operator. Typically MVNOs cater to focused
user communities. For example VirginMobile and Straight Talk cater to
customers that require single devices with low service
rates. Other MVNOs support vertical or focused markets such
as Kajeet (education).
article provides further background on MVNOs.
The academic research community is extremely diverse with
respect to wireless infrastructure requirements. WIreless
network research has long utilized experimental wireless
networks. However, traditionally these
systems have been limited to
wireless systems such as 802.11, Bluetooth or Zigbee that utilize
Further, these testbeds are generally limited in scale
in terms of geographic footprint as well as in terms of
diversity of radio access and device technology. Recent commercial adoption of
advanced 4G networks now makes commodity 3G/4G wireless networks
of interest both to the wireless research community
as well as to the broader research community. Widely
available broadband wireless data connectivity is enabling
research in application domain areas such as intelligent
transportation systems, smart structures, the SmartGrid,
environmental and agricultural sensing to name a few.
Non-engineering research areas such as education, public health,
social science can (and are) making use of 3G/4G data
was inspired by these trends. The goal of SciWiNet is to build
wireless infrastructure that supports current and emerging
wireless requirements of the academic research community. Through
benefits of scale, SciWiNet will enhance the ability of the
research community to integrate 3G/4G wireless in their respective
research. The project is described as follows:
resells cellular data services from a cellular operator (we
have partnered with Sprint). The exact relationship with
Sprint is that they are our Wireless Network Operator (WNO)
and SciWiNet is the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO).
is an NSF funded projected awarded to Clemson University and
represents a community of users that collectively provides a
support system for academics whose research involves or
requires cellular data services.
The project is currently in a requirements gathering phase.
If you would like to follow this project, please join our
community by going to our 'Sign
Up' page. For this phase of our project, there are two
approaches that we have identified to make SciWiNet
- Become an 'early user'. We provide you with 1-2 devices
with a limited amount of prepaid data usage. You will use the
system either for current research or in an exploratory manner
(for future funded research). You would be asked periodically
for feedback. You would have access to the devices for a
negotiated amount of time. SciWiNet has a 'pool' of
devices that we will circulate to a broad set of 'early
users'. A typical duration for your trial is 6
months. After your trial, you would ship the devices
back to SciWiNet. Please see this
page for further information.
- Become a customer. You would purchase devices
(through us or on your own) and our project will subsidize a
part of your data usage cost. Please see this page
for further information.
Important facts about SciWiNet:
- SciWiNet ONLY supports 3G/4G data. Text messaging,
MMS, and Voice are NOT supported.
- The requirements driving SciWiNet have been identified
and addressed through various projects by the research
community (and by the NSF) for many years. Please see
Projects' page for a summary of prior and current
projects that are directly or indirectly related to SciWiNet.
SciWiNet provides 3G/4G coverage based on Sprint's
cellular footprint. Sprint's 3G network is widely
available across the United States. Sprint's 4G network is
transitioning from WiMAX to LTE. Sprint's LTE network
uses different spectrum depending on location. Refer to our
Device Page for a detailed
discussion of device choices.
Please see this page to determine Sprint's 3G/4G coverage in your
area of interest: Sprint's
Please refer to SciWiNet's coverage map to view data that has been
shared by SciWiNet Coverage
Map. Please refer to our SciWiNet's tools page for
further discussion of this page.
SciWiNet supports all devices that Sprint offers to
MVNOs. The majority of Sprint's branded devices are
supported by SciWiNet. The most significant exception
is Apple's devices. Apple forbids their
devices (iPhone, iPad) to be used on re-seller
Please see this page for further a detailed discussion on
devices: Device Page.
For further information please send an email to
For technical issues, please send an email to
The contact information for SciWiNet Principal Investigators:
Attention: Dr. Jim Martin
Clemson, SC 29634
Page last updated: 2/4/2014