CRC's Research Priorities

Grand Challenge

Grand Challenge R&D is characterized by project outputs and outcomes that, cumulatively, result in a technology demonstration of a strategic capability, or an innovative proof-of-concept that fundamentally impacts Canada's direction in spectrum management and use.

Grand Challenge R&D is also strengthened by strategic collaborations. CRC will be seeking such partnerships as its three Grand Challenges mature.

Direct client support

CRC's direct client support R&D assists in resolving critical wireless communications issues of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's Spectrum and Telecommunications Sector (STS), and issues faced by other government clients that depend strategically on spectrum for their operational issues. CRC researchers collaborate with STS colleagues and clients from the federal family to first identify issues. These may be policy-based, regulatory, standards-based or operational. CRC then turns to solving the problem. A technical fix, for example, could solve an operational issue, while in-depth research results could be needed to make an informed decision on a policy or regulatory issue.

Wireless technology foresight

CRC's wireless technology foresighting function provides insight to government, to ensure awareness of ongoing and emerging trends and issues. Foresighting collects information from a variety of sources, both internal and external. External sources include scientific and technical sources, as well as market sources, both domestic and international. Internally, the team draws from results generated through current CRC research projects, and from the expertise of scientific staff. As CRC grows its foresighting function, collaborators will become invaluable sources of input.

CRC's expertise and collaborations


The CRC is a client-driven, applied research centre with expertise extending from wireless technologies, to applications and performance. Teams of experts from across the organization assemble to address research priorities.

Wireless technologies:

  • network technologies;
  • propagation and antennas;
  • information processing.

Applications and performance:

  • performance evaluation;
  • radio technologies;
  • network applications.

The CRC's Chief Technology Office is home to additional, cross-cutting expertise and systems knowledge that serves to advance over-arching R&D priorities.

Doing business with CRC

The CRC leverages research capacity by working with academia, industry, research labs and institutes through one-on-one partnerships, or consortia collaborations. The CRC also fuels innovation by providing access to our intellectual property portfolio of patents and copyrighted software.

R&D collaboration

The CRC collaborates on R&D projects to complement our skills and knowledge, and to advance our Grand Challenges. By collaborating with the CRC, partners may gain access to:

  • a world-class research facility to undertake research into spectrum and next-generation wireless networks
  • internationally recognized scientists, whose expertise can be invaluable to partners, including academics who are training the next generation of experts
  • the CRC's intellectual property portfolio, which can facilitate faster product development and release.

To illustrate, the CRC has collaborated with industry partners and R&D labs to:

  • Develop dynamic spectrum management solutions
  • Further research on millimetre-wave propagation measurements and modelling
  • Enhance designs of 5G arrays in support of the fifth generation of broadband wireless communication technologies
  • Optimize antenna design more generally
  • Enhance spectrum monitoring for CRC's Spectrum Explorer® licensed software
  • Advance printed electronics and engineered surfaces

Similarly, the CRC has collaborated with universities to:

  • Develop new methods and techniques to collect, process and exploit spectrum knowledge using big data analytics, data fusion, machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Conduct research in 5G, including research on millimetre-wave propagation measurements and modelling
  • Investigate advanced design techniques for reflect-array antennas
Access to CRC technology

Through our advanced research, the CRC has developed a wealth of intellectual property that is available for uptake, including licensable software, patents, data, and technical know-how. Depending on the technology, access may be on a fee and royalty basis, or on a free open-source basis.

A search by owner in the database of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office or by assignee name in that of the United States Patent and Trademark Office will show the patents currently available from the Communications Research Centre.

Collaborations in 5G

If your company has expertise in 5G, either in networking or applications development, contact the CRC about collaborating and using the CRC-City of Ottawa test site.

Research facilities

CRC and City of Ottawa 5G Test Site

In partnership with the City of Ottawa, the CRC has built an outdoor 5G test site at City Hall to show that 5G mobile devices can communicate using millimetre waves and how to increase 5G coverage without adding transmitters.

Big Data Analytics Centre (BDAC)

Using big data analytics, cloud computing, crowdsourced information, data fusion and state-of-the-art visualization, the Centre enables researchers to work with big data in ways that were previously not possible to support sustainable spectrum management.