Tracking the Wireless Revolution

Photo of Dr. Ilknur Aydin, article image

For more than two decades, Dr. Ilknur Aydin has been working on wireless and mobile networks. As an associate professor of computer systems at Farmingdale State College (FSC), she was a scholar-in-residence in summer 2020, summer 2021, and fall 2021 during a sabbatical at New York University’s (NYU) Faculty Research Network program (FRN), an award-winning professional development consortium that sponsors programs for faculty and administrators from more than 50 colleges and universities nationwide.

Through the FRN, Aydin was matched with a research group overseen by Shivendra Panwar, who serves as her mentor. Panwar is a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the Tandon School of Engineering (Polytechnic Institute) of NYU and director of the New York State Center for Advanced Technology in Communications.

In May, “A Data Set and Reference Experiments for Multipath Wireless Emulation on Public Testbeds,” a paper co-authored by Aydin and NYU researchers Fraida Fund and Panwar, was presented virtually to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers International Conference on Computer Communications (IEEE INFOCOMM) Computer and Networking Experimental Research Using Testbeds workshop and has been accepted for publication in IEEE Xplore.

Through Aydin’s work at NYU, two FSC students from the Research Aligned Mentorship program (RAM) participated in an independent study computer science course in spring 2023 involving industry-level wireless networking research. The students learned how to use public research testbeds such as CloudLab and Fabric in collaboration with NYU.

More specifically, the RAM students performed wireless measurements to understand the quality and relationship of the Wi-Fi and cellular (4G and 5G) links on the FSC campus. Students collected wireless trace pairs that were slated to be added to a public GitHub repository that holds a project’s files and each file’s revision history. The information for the international wireless networking research and education community will soon be made available.

Students in Aydin’s Computer Science Networking course (CSC 332) are getting practical experience while learning about networking concepts through CloudLab. Aydin also mentors students in FSC’s Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) and RAM, as well as high school students pursuing technology research.

Among the many projects Farmingdale students are involved with is the use of Arduino boxes and Raspberry Pis in the context of IoT. In an industry that continues to be male dominated, Aydin works with female high school and college students, as well as those from other underrepresented minority groups, to help diversify the ever-growing and evolving industry.

Aydin opened many of her own doors growing up as a first-generation college student in her native Turkey. She focused on computer engineering and discovered she liked networking and protocol design. A professor introduced her to wireless networks, which grabbed her attention. “I don’t think anyone foresaw the explosion in wireless,” she said.

After graduating from college, she decided to pursue advanced studies in computer science in the U.S., focusing on wireless and mobile networking.

Staying up to date in this field is both challenging and critical. ChatGPT, the natural language, artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, is being followed by many in the industry to assess its potential and its risks. “It is moving very fast,” Aydin noted. “Soon, just like Google, it will be part of our lives. Look how quickly cell phones took over in just 20 years.”

Despite industry shifts, helping students build solid research experiences remains one of Aydin’s goals. Many graduates in FSC’s technology degree programs go on to jobs in software engineering, information technology, databases, and web programming.

“I see the growth in the students, and over 10 years, I see the potential in how they grow,” she said. “I’m glad I helped them get ahead.”

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