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CR hailed as "next big thing" in wireless

Posted: 16 Nov 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:fcc? nprm? cr? wireless? system?

Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened wide what many believe will be the next frontier in wireless communications. In a notice of proposed rule making (NPRM), it asked how cognitive radio could best be implemented. That action brought to the fore founding research by Joseph Mitola, who coined the term cognitive radio (CR), and sparked a flurry of activity among industry and academic wireless systems designers and researchers.

Derived from a need for more-efficient spectrum use, a CR fundamentally senses whether a band is being used and jumps in when the band is unoccupied. It jumps to another band when the primary user recommences transmissions. Or, the radio can stay in the band and alter its power frequency and modulation to avoid being an interferer.

Immediately, this raised the possibility that licensed tv bands, desirable for their long-range propagation characteristics and low components costs, could be used for broadband wireless transmissions, particularly in rural areas.

John Notor from Cadence Design Systems Inc. points out, the FCC may have let the ball slip on CR with respect to TV spectrum. And Bill Krenik of Texas Instruments examines the basic issue with CR: sensing the interference temperature.

But while the promise and issues with CR are many, Atheros Communications Inc. and Bandspeed Inc. shows how many of the building blocks are already being implemented in WLAN chip designs.

Patrick Mannion

EE Times




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