May 09, 2018

Guest Lecture and Recruitment Drive by Zenan Chen from Amazon Web Services

Zenan Chen, Cloud Network Engineer from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Inc. visited UMD campus to give a high level demonstration of AWS services and enterprise cloud architecture models. Zenan is also a 2014 alumnus of the Master's in Telecommunications Program at University of Maryland. The demonstration was followed by a presentation about AWS interviewing techniques with specific emphasis on Amazon's 14 leadership principles and how customer obsession is at the heart of Amazon's continued success within the cloud and internet infrastructure domains.
The event concluded with one-to-one resume critique and job profile evaluations. TSAN would like to thank Zenan for helping students reach out to opportunities at AWS. For more such events, stay in touch with future event announcements on TSAN's website.

May 07, 2018

TSAN Board 2018-19 Election Results

President: Sharan Erukulla
Vice President: Swapnil Navnath Hingane
Secretary: Jimit Gandhi
Director of Student Affairs: Sachi Agrawal
Director of Industry Relations: Mohan Uppalapati
Director of Technical Operations: Priyanka Vivek Zambre

April 01, 2018

Alumni Panel Interaction: Wireless Connect at University of Maryland

March 24, 2018

Alumni Interview with Ankush Gadodia, Senior Modem Systems Test Engineer at Qualcomm

  1. You have been working in Qualcomm for more than 5 years. Could you please tell us about your work experience in Qualcomm?

I work in Qualcomm as a Senior Modem Systems Test Engineer in the IMS (IP Multimedia System) Team. As part of IMS, we work on VoLTE, VoWiFi, RCS, Presence, Auto-configuration and my area of specialization is SIP and IMS Registration with handovers between VoLTE and VoWiFi. I joined the team at a time when the popularity of IMS was picking up and VoLTE was still to be commercially deployed. Working in a feature team at such a time is really challenging but one gets to learn and grow as well. Being the IMS Registration POC, my role requires me to go through various SIP RFCs, IR92 specs and requirements of different operators. I need to ensure that we comply to various operator requirements and that any new feature or enhancement is thoroughly tested. I also contribute during design discussions for new features to make sure that we consider all possible scenarios and come up with the best possible solution.    

  1. Were there any perks you could avail being a UMD Telecom graduate while searching for full-time opportunities?

Being an alum of a reputed university like UMD is definitely a plus. Our Telecommunications program is popular in the technology market and managers and recruiters trust the technical expertise of students graduating from our program. I personally saw this in Qualcomm when a majority of my batch, close to 40 people, were hired in the same year. Being from UMD doesn’t guarantee you a job but it does add credibility to your knowledge and degree.

  1. There are a lot of certifications in the market for wireless, networking as well as cloud computing domain. How important do you think  these certifications are for recruitment ?

I personally don’t have any certifications but I think they add value and complement our degree. They will add credibility to the skillset one has. One word of caution though- don’t just do a certification just to add something to your profile; do it if you feel that this is the domain you want to be in and this will help develop your knowledge and skills in that particular domain. Ultimately, it’s your skills and what you learned out of it that will matter.

  1. Is there any advice you want to give to current ENTS batch regarding the course selection and job hunt ?

Course selection is tough especially when the seats in a course are limited, so do some good research about the courses that interest you, speak to seniors and professors so that you have an idea whether that course interests you and have a plan. If wireless is your field, don’t overburden your coursework with networking courses or vice-versa. For people keeping an open mind, a good mix should be great. And it’s always good to have an extra course in mind in case you fail to get your first choice. Also, my suggestion would be to not unnecessarily try and take more courses than what you can handle.

“Patience” – that’s one thing most of us need during the strenuous job hunt process, especially in such competitive times. It takes time for things to become favorable; just hang in there and stay positive and confident.

  1. Being an international student, the set of companies you can apply to gets smaller as you have to look for companies that provide you visa sponsorship.  Could please  tell us how you proceeded with the job search process?

Yes, this gets pretty tricky. The first thing I did was to shortlist a list of some big telecommunication companies which hire a number of immigrants, like Qualcomm or Apple. Networking is one more thing that helped. I made a list of companies my seniors were working for and researched about them. Linkedin is a great resource for this as well.

  1. With 5G on the horizon, which technology areas in the wireless domain do you foresee being crucial in the coming years?

IOT is the future. 5G and IOT will take wireless into all sectors, from healthcare to automotive, from sports to industries. With so much connectivity and data generation, Cloud Computing and Security have a very large role to play.

  1. Which technical concepts and tools have been vital and commonly used by you so far in your career?

Being in IMS, concepts of SIP, TCP and VoIP are critical for my day-to-day job. Most of the tools we use are proprietary log analysis tools but we use Wireshark a lot. A good Data Layer and wireless knowledge helps as well.

  1. Has there been a difference in the theoretical concepts you learnt in school and their implementation in the industry? If yes, how do you overcome that gap?

The best way to bridge this gap is to work on projects where you can practically apply the theories and yes, you learn as you work. The concepts we learn in school do stand true in the industry but their usage varies, making a connection between the two is what matters. Also in the industry, it is not enough to know if a solution works, it is important to find the best possible one; two or more solutions can be theoretically right but the optimal solution will depend on the conditions.

  1. In your opinion, outside the wireless domain, which technical skill set are important in the industry?

Well, I guess we all hear this often, fast and continuous learning is a key. We are seeing the industry moving fast towards 5G, VR, automation, cloud, IOT, AI and what not. The appetite to learn and work on new things and also imagine new possibilities will definitely take you a long way. But at the same time, it is very much important to not be overwhelmed by all this and to take one step at a time. Along with this, good analytic skills will be helpful in this industry where we have so much data to process. Analyzing available data and finding ways to improve and innovate will be very fruitful.

March 16, 2018

Wireless Connect 2018 in partnership with the Masters in Telecommunications Program

Join us for Wireless Connect 2018 at University of Maryland, in partnership with the Masters in Telecommunications Program. Wireless Connect 2018 is an effort to connect various stakeholders of wireless eco-systems including Telecommunication Operators, Service Providers, Infrastructure Providers, OEMs, Policy Makers and City Planners. We look forward to stimulating panel discussions and technical workshops designed around next generation of wireless technology and its enablers. A networking reception and exhibition hall will allow companies to showcase their capabilities to existing and potential customers and to seek out partners for future ventures. Sponsorship opportunities are now open. Industry registration will be open through EventBrite. The event is being co-hosted by the M.S. in Telecommunications Program at the University of Maryland, opening avenues for students and employers to fill the skills gap in the wireless industry. Student Registration will be open through the Program Office. Following are the key highlight events: Fireside Chat: Featuring FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr and WIA CEO Jonathan Adelstein moderated by Dr. Rikin Thakker Keynote: Michael Leahy, Secretary of IT, State of MD Panel Discussions: 5G, Spectrum, Infrastructure, Smart Cities, Wi-Fi, Broadband Deployment, Workforce Development Exhibition Hall: Showcasing capabilities of various stakeholders of wireless and broadband eco-system Networking Reception: Meet, greet, mingle, form partnerships and make friends! Date and Time: Tue, Apr 3, 2018, 8:30 AM – Wed, Apr 4, 2018, 4:30 PM EDT Add to Calendar Location: Riggs Alumni Center - UMD 7801 Alumni Dr, College Park, MD 20742 View Map

March 05, 2018

TSAN Podcast Series: Employment Seeking Strategies and Internship Experiences

University of Maryland (UMD) Telecommunications (ENTS) graduate engineering students discuss employment seeking strategies and internship experiences in this TSAN podcast series.

February 11, 2018

Sharan Erukulla shares his experience working with the 5G Protocol Stack Development Team

I consider my decision to join the 5G Protocol Stack Development group as one of the best things I've done after joining the University of Maryland. It provided countless opportunities to learn. To start off, it gave me a chance to network with a community possessing tons of industry experience and knowledge. It has been a platform for like-minded people to collaborate.

This project exposed me to a wide variety of cellular technologies since the work spans 3GPP releases. I familiarized myself with different programming languages including C, C++, Python and Linux operating system, enabling me to work with larger enterprise level codebases among many other things. It also gave me hands on experience with hardware and I got to apply theoretical concepts from ENTS622 and ENTS653 courses.

The motto of this project is contributing to the open source community of protocol stack development. The constant progress the team has been making is a huge motivation, pushing me to work harder and to contribute. Continuous support from the ENTS Program Office has enabled us to work effectively and Dr. Alejandra Mercado helped us with her invaluable inputs at critical junctures.

The priceless discussions we had during our brainstorming sessions were not only confined to the project but encompassed both current market trends and future of the telecommunication industry.

The first “Eureka!” moment was when we established communication between two USRP devices. Additionally, I went on to configure one of them as an FM Receiver and I’m working on implementing other modulation schemes. We're currently working on adding carrier aggregation to the 3GPP Release 8 protocol stack.

Apart from my technical skills I got a chance to hone my interpersonal skills such as communication, time management, teamwork and leadership. I look forward to continuing to work with the fabulous team in days to come as we have exciting things lined up.

To follow our progress, visit

Guest article by
Sharan Erukulla, who is a graduate student at the Masters in Telecommunications Program at University of Maryland. To know more about the author, visit
December 21, 2017

TSAN Field Trip to NASA Goddard

Dec 20, 2017: TSAN organized a field trip to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, signing off fall 2017 semester. 35 students attended the tour along with Dr. Alejandra Mercado. 

The students visited satellite construction, testing and operations areas. Here are some glimpses from the trip:

November 21, 2017

University of Maryland Telecommunications faculty and students attend the DC5G summit

Students of the “DAS and Small Cells” course, led by Prof. Rikin Thakker, got an opportunity to attend the DC5G Summit, held on October 11, 2017 in Washington D.C. They were also accompanied by the Associate Director of the MS in Telecommunications course, Dr. Michael Dellomo. The following students attended and contributed to the “Key Takeaways” mentioned in the slides provided here.

Abiodun Adewuyi, Swanand Bhave, FSC Clement, Mohini-Anne D’souza, Alekhya Dixit, Kaushal Dubey, Meghan Kachhi, Jason Miranda, Eshan Mulay, Rugved Nadkarni, Omkar Patil, Swapnil Prajapati, Sankalp Samant and Deepika Vaidya.

The event brought together industry professionals and visionaries from various fields of the Wireless Broadband Ecosystem.  A series of interactive discussions by diverse panels and Key Note speakers focused on a comprehensive Rollout Strategy for 5G.

Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas, in his opening key note, presented a ground plan of the economic potential of 5G connectivity and detailed the market update on the transformation of Mobile Wireless Networks to 5G.

Sue Marek, VP of Content and Editor-in-Chief SDxCentral led the first panel discussion on Coverage, Connectivity, Strategies and Vision for 5G Roll-out with executives from AT&T, CommScope, Crown Castle, Ericsson and LeoSat..  The question answer session was very insightful, and brought out the true purpose of evolution of cellular technology standards with the Wireless, Cable, Satellite operators and Telecommunication Equipment Manufacturers agreeing to high capacity and low latency requirements for 5G Use Cases.  Deployment of 5G is aimed at achieving duality by routing control information through existing macro towers and data traffic through the newly evolved 5G network. Further, the panel examined different economic models to support 5G infrastructure that promise to reduce cost per bit by achieving higher spectral efficiency. David Orloff brought perspective to network slicing, commercialized solutions for mmWave spectrum, interference management and network virtualization for a cost-effective solution.

With strategies for 5G deployment and Applications of 5G in the wireless Ecosystem defining high bandwidth requirements, Dr. Preston F. Marshall, Principle Wireless Architect, Google emphasized the importance of shared spectrum and shared Infrastructure as a path to 5G. He presented the idea of moving to shared and common spectrum allocation instead of exclusive and non-exclusive spectrum allocation methods, while explaining how partnering and managing co-existence can lead to neutral host advantages.

“The telecommunications industry has more than a few reasons to be excited about 5G connectivity. 5G isn’t just another number or a higher speed, it is a dramatic shift in the way we think about connecting services to users. The attendees at DC5G found the presentations and debates to be very informative and the feedback we received was very positive.” -Jeffrey Hill, Chairman, DC5G Summit

After a power lunch, Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas led the discussion on 5G for industry -  Software Defined Networks, Automation, and Computingat the Edge. Professor Rikin Thakker was one of the panelists. Other panelists included experts  from Hewlett Packard, Edgeconnex, and Oceaneering. The panel discussed ways to share infrastructure and how spectrum should be prioritized, e.g. OEMs like Ericsson are providing shared infrastructure solutions for small cell and CBRS has opened possibility for spectrum sharing. Decentralized/Distributed Computing, Network Edge and Cloud Edge will play an important role in 5G. Cloud datacenters, NFV (Network Function Virtualization) and SDN (Software Defined Networking) will be important elements of 5G. 5G should be focused on Efficient and Dynamic use of resources which will allow operators to allocate on demand resources based on application (High/Low Speed, High/Low Latency, High/Low Bandwidth) and provide “5G as a Service”. 5G standardization should be based on whole Industry and not specifically for MNOs.

" was great meeting the students from University of Maryland. Good seeing such a enthusiastic group of young people show up at industry events, since they will be instrumental for the innovations yet to come..” -Tariq Khan, Chief Technologist for Cloud & SDN, NFV Business Unit at Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Howard Buskirk, Executive Senior Editor, Communications Daily, directed the session 5G's Biggest Challenges: Security, Privacy, Bandwidthand Regulatory Barriers where executives from NTCA, Dynamic Spectrum alliance, EchoStar Corporation and Federated Wireless shared their understanding  and assessments of the challenges ahead. The engaging panel discussion concluded that the main challenge for 5G in generating revenue was to create excitement to generate revenue for 5G deployments. A potential revenue driver would be neutral host model and shared spectrum model.Also, emphasis on interoperability was underlined  in-order to accomplish a network of networks design in 5G.

“Our sincere thanks to the event organizers and especially to Jeffrey Hill for allowing our students to witness the dynamic conversation about the 5G developments. The event covered many key aspects of 5G ecosystem – Spectrum, NFV, C-RAN, Small Cells to name a few. Our students thoroughly enjoyed the event and gained better understanding on how various companies play vital role in fueling the innovation.” -Prof. Rikin Thakker, Faculty at M.S. in Telecom Program.

Key Takeaways:

5G Evolution and development is use-case driven. Use-cases must effectively break vertical silos in business-to-business solutions. Virtual reality, although an independent technology, needs high data performance network to penetrate wider markets as a service. Many companies are working with Universities and City councils to expand the reach of knowledge about the umbrella of products under 5G and their utility to civil and corporate applications. Big data analysis coupled with mobile edge computing delivers better experiences in deployment. Mobile edge computing is distributing processing power. That includes faster processors and memory organization in smartphones as well as cloud architecture to support massive data collection and content delivery. Introduction of advanced applications in the market can be successful only by a well-planned ecosystem-wide impact. Companies are focusing on identifying value along the complete chain and creating an educated market segment.

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