Verizon 5G Innovation Hub

Students, faculty, startups and corporations can now test 5G-enabled solutions at the Research Park’s headquarters, EnterpriseWorks.

Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband service at the Innovation Hub will drive new research and development around using 5G for machine learning, IoT, robotics, artificial intelligence, guided vehicles, drones, manufacturing process automation, virtual reality, data analytics and more.

  • State of the art high bandwidth 5G signal available in lab (coverage in lab only)
  • 4G (LTE) signal also available
  • A private 4G/5G network core (installed on site) supports routing to Internet and hosts running 5G applications on the UIUC LAN

The Verizon 5G Innovation Hub opened in October 2020. View photos of the grand opening here. Watch the grand opening recap video here.

Verizon 5G Innovation Hub Highlighted by EdTech Magazine

For meetings, initial engagement discussions and demos at the Verizon 5G Innovation Hub, contact Zhenjun Zhu at 

Verizon 5G Lab Research Park

Verizon 5G Innovation Hub FAQ

What is available at the Verizon 5G Innovation Hub?

At the Verizon 5G Innovation Hub, you have access to a state of the art UltraWideband millimeter-Wave (UWB mmWave5G signal for communicating between a 5G radio equipped device. The signal is available only within the area of the hub facility.  Your device has to therefore be inside the hub facility to perform testing with this signal.  The Hub’s wireless connectivity will allow your device to connect and transfer data between itself and some application software that you may host somewhere (e.g. in your lab at Research Park, in a UIUC department lab, somewhere in a public cloud such as AWS, or in a traditional data center) 

What devices can I test with at the Verizon 5G Hub?

You can test devices (such as sensors, robots, smart phones) that are Verizon certified.  Verizon certified devices are SKUs (i.e., make and model) that have gone through rigorous radio and network testing on the Verizon network and are approved for use on the Verizon network. 

What if my device does not have 5G Connectivity?

If your device does not have 5G connectivity, for example, you built a device that has some other form of connectivity such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, you can still enable your device for 5G connectivity using data cards called “modules” or using off the shelf products such as 5G hotspots and router-modems.  Modules require internal integration onto your product’s hardware motherboard, i.e., the board that runs the CPU.  On the other hand, you can connect your device a 5G hotspot or router modem using your device’s Wi-Fi or USB capabilities. 

Can I simply use a commercial Verizon SIM card in my device for testing in the Hub?

A standard Verizon SIM (e.g.., one used in your Verizon 5G smartphone on Verizon’s publicly available 5G network) will not work. The device must use a specially configured SIM card which is provided to you by the Verizon Innovation Hub team.  Your device is effectively connecting to a “private” 5G UWB mmWave network with its own core wireless functions (such as device authentication and radio resource allocation for data sessions) and network routing.   

If my device runs an application (e.g. that collects sensor data) that needs to send the data to my server, how can I achieve the required connectivity between the device and server?

Routing is available from the device connected to this network to endpoints that need traversal through the Internet, e.g. you run an analytics application that is hosted in the public cloud (e.g. AWS or Microsoft Azure), or some other application in your lab in a building on UIUC campus.  It is also possible to route your device traffic locally to servers you may host at UIUC Research Park or an academic department.  

What is the difference between Verizon’s Nationwide Coverage and Ultra-Wide Band 5G?

Verizon’s nationwide public 5G network uses a signal frequency called “Sub-6” (i.e. less than 6 GHz frequency) that is different from the UWB mmWave frequency spectrum which is much higher frequency (28+ GHz).  Extreme high speeds (up to 4 GBps) of data transfer with very low latency are possible at such high UWB frequencies compared to the more traditional Sub-6 frequencies.  However the coverage area provided by a single UWB cell tower is smaller when compared to a traditional Sub-6 tower.  UWB mmWave spectrum is currently available only in some areas on the 5G public network. Verizon’s public 5G network is available in the Urbana-Champaign area and you can use a standard Verizon SIM to test outdoors (e.g. on Research Park or UIUC campuses.  There are also some areas of coverage on campus (e.g. near the football stadium) that provide the high frequency UWB signal.  

What are the available 5G Devices and Modules for UWB mmWave 5G?

Currently the following Verizon-certified 5G embeddable module cards are available to you for integration and use with your devices.  Modules are the right choice when you plan to embed RF communications capability inside your device (e.g. a robot, or a sensor device).  Modules are usualy in the form of a card (data card form factor such as M.2 (NGFF) with PCIe or USB (internal) interface capability to a mother processor board. 

  1. Telit module FN980m (UWB mmWave capable)             Link to Data Sheet
  2. Sierra Wireless EM9190 

If your device has an external USB port or WiFi capability and you want a quicker turnaround for testing and validation with your device you can use Verizon-certified 5G UWB hotspot or router-modem device and connect it via the external USB port. Currently the following router-modem devices are available: 

  1. Inseego MiFi M2100 UltraWideBand with WiFi 6 hotspot and USB    Link to Verizon product purchase site
  2. Inseego 5G MiFi M1100 with WiFi hotspot and USB         
  3. Cradlepoint W4005-5GB