Wireless networking has been a technology that has been adopted by many organizations and individuals as a media of communication. This has been due to the fact that many devices have been developed that can use the wireless spectrum. Though wireless spectrum has been there and has been used for as early as 1990s, the use has not been regulated and there has been wasted spectrum. Of importance is radio spectrum. The radio spectrum has been there for a long time. The spectrum has been wasted due to the fact that radios have been programmed into the hardware and not the software. This is fast changing and it will have impact on the wireless spectrum that is in use. This paper will look at the issues that concern the wireless spectrum.
Major issues of concern
One of the major issues of concern in wireless networking is that of shift from hardware to software. It is predicted that by the year 2020, there will be extensive use of software radios where it will find use in various industries. It will be the standard technology that will be in use. This will be unlike the battery-powered receivers which have been there and in use for a long time. The new radios will be plugged in radios like the ones that are found in base stations. With software radios, nearly all functions that are found in a radio system, from coding and the frequencies of the physical layer and media access layer will be determined and changed while in real-time by the software that have been installed and running in the radio (Partridge 2011, pp. 62).
Software radios have been predicted since 1990s where it was hoped that they would find importance and use in military operations. They would be used in the military. This technology is steadily taking on the radio technology that is used in the US military currently. The main obstacle which was experienced with the adoption of this technology is that it was costly and big in size. One software radio used to cost as much as $100,000. It was the size of a small refrigerator. This is changing because the size has greatly been reduced and goes for $500 or less. This is becoming affordable for commercial use even in places where military operations is not seen (Partridge 2011 pp. 63).
Another important issue is the impact and the change that wireless radio will bring to users. One of the notable differences that will be experienced is that a user will no longer be required to buy a wireless protocol when they are buying a device (Partridge 2011, pp. 64). It will be history then to hear a software manufacturer saying that their devices have support for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi; this is because the wireless technologies will have become applets which will be run by any PDA device. This means that if a PDA owner travels to another country, they will not have to have a PDA which has the protocols for that country (Partridge 2011pp. 64). This will mean that they will make use of a foreign country phone protocols as their PDAs will be able to download and make use of them automatically. If the communication protocols at some instant, the PDAs will download the latest version without having to have some wired connections. Also if the user wants to use a specific protocol tailored to be used in an organization the PDA downloads the protocol from the work station (Partridge 2011, pp. 64).
There will also be a difference in how bandwidth is assigned. This means that the software radio will be tasked with looking for idle spectrum to increase for PDAs which have requested for more bandwidth. This will therefore mean that the issue of idle bandwidth will no longer be the case.
Another important issue that is mentioned in the article is the standards that will be followed by the manufactures as they build them. Right now, there are no standards that are to be followed when constructing the frameworks. At the moment, there are many choices that are followed by manufacturers to come up with software radios. This range of choices can be best viewed by looking at the extreme ends where radios are seen in terms of their alternatives and are almost at the opposite ends (Partridge 2011, pp. 64).
The first alternative for constructing a software radio is that of engineers bringing together components which are programmable and mixing FPGAs, DSPs and even processors which are embedded. For the components to be programmed there will be the need for the software engineers to write code or collect a suite of software for the components. The issues that come here is the extent and the method of mixing the FPGAs. There are also complications when mixing larger components. There are components like frequency filters which become difficult when dealing with larger systems.
Another standard that can be followed when designing the software radios is by use of memorable chips which are highly configurable. The programmers will just write code that will define the media access features, the protocols that will be used and the coding; this will be done at the registers used for configuration (Partridge 2011, pp. 64).
Another issue that is worth mentioning is that of power and environmental conservation. The issue here is whether the new technology is green. It is assumed that software radios use lot of power and will therefore affect the environment (Partridge 2011, pp. 64). This situation is more pronounced given the fact that radio components dissipate a lot of heat from them from the devices which are analogue. One of the measures that have been proposed is that of turning off radios when they are not in use. This is something that is less practiced by many. The key issue here is that it is still difficult to have radios know that there is some other radio which is about to send something. If this would have been achieved, it would then be possible to have radios turn themselves on and off (Partridge 2011, pp. 64). The radios would be intelligent and will so be able to turn off themselves when they are not in use. This would help in reducing the heat that is dissipated from these radios. Research is still being done to find out if this is possible to have radios know that there is a radio which has been turned on.
How the will be radio applets
The wireless spectrum will be made to be applets by the year 2020 by way of having a control of the wireless spectrum and ensuring that it is used effectively. They will be formatted and stored in a location where anyone who needs these formats will download them at will. They will be accessed via the wireless network. This will be attained by ensuring that these protocols are standards that can be used by any PDA. This will mean that all PDAs will recognize these protocols and that they will be common in all countries. Right now, there are various vendors who manufacture devices do not follow any standard therefore rendering the protocols useless. With these protocols, they will be used and understood by any device. The wireless protocols that are in use lack standards to follow in various devices. With standards being developed for vendors, they will soon start to take notice of the standards which they are supposed to follow.
When software radio will be popular and well developed, they will make use of wireless wherever they are. The radio systems that we have today make use of radio spectrum which has been allocated to a particular area. With the current standardization that is being seen in the radio engineering today, it will be possible to have a radio systems which will gain access to the wireless applications without having to be designed to be working for that device. All devices shall have been standardized and will be able to access the wireless network protocols that are stored at base stations thin that particular area.
Wireless standards and protocols are also not as standardized as such. This is also another major area of concern for the developers and software engineers. After this has been developed, it will then be possible and simple to have wireless protocols as applets by the stipulated date.
Researched exploration of the system
Standards for development
With software radios being new in the market, there are no standards that are to be followed when manufacturing the software radios. For this reason, there is a need to come up with standards that will be followed when coming up with software radios. It has been explained before that there are two methods that are used to develop software radios currently. The first is that of assembling FPGAs and DSPs and integrating them with embedded processors. There are issues that are associated with this process. With imagination and the availability of the processing power of the components, the ease of creating a new communication protocol is simple and engineers can come up with communication protocol without following any standard that has been defined.
There are two international organizations that have an impact on the software radios either directly or indirectly. These are the product standards and the air interface standards organization.
Product standards organizations
There are many standards that affect the hardware components that are used to manufacture software radios. Although these standards are sufficient in the hardware components, it is hard to have these standards work for the SDR again. They are best designed for use in hardware components. There are many standards that have been developed to be used in regulating components. There has been standards development for the components for SDR developed at very high rates. In the years of 1995 and 1996, PCI standard was in the lead in the manufacture of DSP cards, ADC and many processors; there were also many modules that were developed for open-architecture software radio. By the year 1999, compact PCI (cPCI) was the most favorite and on the other hand, PC-104 had a specific market. In the year 2004, the systems that were using DSP had a big and strong following. The analogue hardware standards have to be looked into as they help define standards that will interface with the antennae. There are other important standards that need to be looked closely into. These are the standards that are used to moderate and guide in the development of hardware components that are used in the manufacture of software defined radio. There are is a need to define standards that will guide the development and the manufacturing of a software radios and not the components alone.
Air interface standards
These are the standards that are used to guide the development of channel modulation and frequency allocation. Other functions that are controlled are the media access control, channel use. The ITU has a function that is used to address the radio part of the standards (ITU-R). The ITU also has a process that controls the telecommunications aspect (ITU-T). There is also the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) which comes with radio standards that are used in Europe. Other standards that are followed are the Electronics Industries Association (EIA) and Institute of electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) which sets regional standards that is used in the United States.
The development of software radio has not been following any given standard. This is because there is no standard that has been developed. This is because the field is still new and there are not many players. With this, there are various developments which do not follow any standard.
Another issue that I would like to do research is whether the use of software radio promotes a green environment. This will have to be looked into in depth as there is more concern for the environment. New processes should be regulated so that the environment is not affected. The analogue components that are integrated in the software radio dissipate a lot of heat. With this, there is a lot of heat that come from the green radio. They are not green to the environment. The issue of whether they are green comes up due to the fact that they make use processors which are known to dissipate a lot of heat.
There should be the use of knowledge management so that the software radio will be intelligent. This is in the quest to have software radio to recognize that another software radio is on and wants to send information. In having this information, they will turn on automatically and off if otherwise. This will help to reduce amount of heat which is dissipated to the environment. The traditional way would have been to turn off software radios if they are not in use; this is something which is easier said than done.
There is also a need to make the software radio biodegradable; this means that the components that are used to make the radio be able to degrade when they are disposed. Research is still underway to realize this; this is because if they consume less power, they will be easier to dispose than to recharge them. Computers and any device that uses processors have been blamed for the problems that are seen in climate change. The processors are known to emit a lot of heat to the environment. This heat is released to the environment and will therefore cause environmental damage. There are many server rooms that have been brought about by adoption of information and communications technology by many companies. As much as green environment is being advocated in server rooms and data centers, this should also be put into consideration.
There is less and inadequate literature to analyze the future and the possibility of having applets by the period stated. This is an interesting area as the current spectrum use is lacking in every sense of the word. I find it interesting that the spectrum issue is finding review and attention now and yet it has been there for a long time. There has been underutilization of the radio spectrum and wireless networks. The standards which have been put in place have not been that careful with the way radio wireless spectrum is utilized. Less was done regarding this issue. I am hopeful that with the standardization, there will be victory in this issue.
Another issue that I find that need to be considered and taken care of is that of security. With the downloading of the communication protocol by anyone. If there is no form of security, this will mean that the security is compromised. I am of the opinion that security policies should be defined for any location. Although this will mean that there will be bottlenecks that will be introduced to the use of the wireless networks and spectrum, it will serve well the issue of security. At least the bottlenecks will not be due to device not supporting the wireless network spectrum but rather it will be due to measures that relate to security of the users. The devices that will be allowed to access the wireless networks will have to undergo a vetting process that is meant to register them to the network first. I tend to think that this will be the ultimate solution to the use of wireless networks. If there will be any problem introduced in the network, it will be easier to track the source of the problem. This is an issue that needs to be addressed by all users and all vendors.
In conclusion, there are a lot that need to be taken into consideration. As the technology is being improved so that all vendors get can access the wireless spectrum and also so that they are able to use the spectrum, there is the need to take care of technical issues like that of security. There will be the need to have security policies. Also of major concern is that of environmental degradation and global warming. There will be the need to have this in place.
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