The CityLab testbed is a smart cities testbed at IDLab. It is intended for large-scale wireless networking experimentation at a city neighborhood level in the unlicensed spectrum. CityLab is located in the city center of Antwerp, Belgium. The testbed can be found in the streets in and around the city campus of the University of Antwerp, in an area of about 0.5km by 0.5km. This testbed is located in a highly realistic environment where experiments typically face a lot of external radio interference from nearby equipment (e.g. WiFi networks, IoT devices, …).  Hardware is installed at 50 locations, each with its own gateway attached to houses in the street or installed on a pole on a roof. Each gateway houses multiple radios with full low-level access for experimenters, including WiFi at 2.4GHz and 5GHz, Bluetooth, Zigbee at 2.4GHz and 868MHz, custom sub-GHz protocols at 868 and 433MHz and a Lora client module. The gateways are connected to the academic fiber network over Gigabit Ethernet, enabling high-bandwidth low-latency experimentation.

Experimenters using the testbed get bare metal access to all outdoor equipment, supporting kernel-level experiments outdoors. Based on the experiment requirements, experimenters can pick the desired nodes on a map of the city, referring to the node documentation and coverage maps.

The real-life CityLab R&D environment enables the city, researchers and companies to evaluate their technology in a realistic environment, at the scale of a major city.


Application domains

  • Smart Cities
  • Internet of Things


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