Telecommunications and Networking, Autumn 2011
Realizing the Future of Wireless Data Communications
The Need for Software Radios and programmable radio chipsets
First, there is the need to find the right combination of hardware that can be programmed to provide support to high-performance signals for radios. It is projected that in the next 10 years from now, software radios would be the standard technologies in many commercial and military communication devices (Partridge 2011: 63). The software radios can be programmed to limit their usability to specific functions changeable from the real software that controls the radios. Programmable radio chipsets can also be incorporated with WiFi products. Realizing this objective is not difficult but rather it requires a paradigm shift from hardware to software technologies given that software radios had been envisioned by the military for the past two decades. From the examination of the transformation of radio technologies from hardware to software, the size of wireless radios has been reducing at an increasing rate. Equally, the cost of these wireless radios has been reducing significantly (Partridge 2011: 63). So far, available software radios include Wireless Network after Next (WNAN), Microsoft Research Software (Sora0, and Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP). Simply put, realizing the future with wireless communications is determined with the shift from hardware to software-controlled radios and thus, resources must be channeled into the design of the right programs and radio chipsets to run software radios (Porcino, and Hirt, 2003).
Understanding the World of Software Radios
Another fundamental thing that the communication industry should be prepared for is the need to understand the world of software radios. There is the need to differentiate software radios from other typical radio technologies that are currently available in the market. The most fundamental elements of software radios entail understanding the processing power of software radios and the ratio of available bandwidth. The processing power of software radios is usually expressed in Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) or Digital Signal Processor (DSP), which will determine the wireless performance power of the wireless communication device (Partridge 2011:64). Similarly, the available bandwidth will determine the speed with which the wireless communication device performs. One advantageous thing about wireless communication devices is that it will search for unused wireless frequencies if more bandwidth is required in applications (Partridge 2011:64). Therefore, the realization of a world of wireless communications calls for the implementation of the right technical and regulatory innovations, and a thorough understanding of how software radios work.
The right type of Software Radios
Understanding the importance and usage of software radios is only but part of the solution. The goal is yet to be realized and therefore, a criterion has to be found that will aid the manufacture and development of the right types of software radios. The process should begin with the collection and mixture of programmable components to be embedded in a processor. The main objective would be to develop the radios with the most powerful processing power (Partridge 2011:64). Correspondingly, configuration of software chips or chipsets with software radios should be done to facilitate coding, media-access, and frequencies. Extensive research needs to be undertaken in this area to ensure that only the best software radios and chipsets are developed. Important considerations should be allocated into developing software radios with acceptable characteristics and behavior such as high performance, low energy consumption, and one with the right processor and chipsets (Partridge 2011:64).
Realization of the World of Software Radios
Other than the development, understanding, and manufacture of software radios, the securities associated with the realization and exploitation of a world of software radios needs to be addressed. Of great concern is the need exploit the need to approve the usage of spectrums and their accompanying regulatory concerns. First, it is imperative that all details regarding radio behavior be examined, both practically and theoretically. Second, research needs to be undertaken to provide insights in the usage of particular radio spectrums in certain regions, and as well, to determine the current situation. Third, informed decisions should be made based on the analysis, evaluation, and research findings in order to prepare the communication industry for a bright future with respect to the use of wireless communication. Additionally, it should also enable software managers and engineers to determine the right criteria of allocating spectrums to particular regions (Partridge 2011: 66-67). Finally, a world of wireless communication would need authoritative controls and licensing to control and reduce the challenges associated with how radios connect with each other (Porcino and Hirt 2003). It would also provide control to the nature with which radios communicate with protocols.
Recommendations and the right way forward
The assessment and evaluation into the world of software technologies could not have been complete without the provision of recommendations with regard to how the perceived world of wireless communications would be realized. Importantly, the recommendations cover the things that should be undertaken with respect to the key elements that were discussed in the article. This includes but not limited to the control of radio behavior, the right channels to follow when approving the right spectrums, and providing enough information regarding the use of software radios to enable users and authorities in the communication industry to make informed decisions (Partridge 2011: 68). Outlined in the recommendations are the need for research and development, funding from government agencies, and the need to understand the right control measures for controlling bandwidth and estimating the best protocols to be used. Finally yet important, it is important to acknowledge the fact that, indeed wireless networks hold a vital place in the future of the communication industry.
WiFi and Bluetooth
In contemporary communications, Personal Digital Assistants and Mobile Telephony manufacturers are making huge sales just from the mention that their devices support WiFi and Bluetooth communications. Irrespective of the performance power of the mentioned features, the PDAs and Bluetooth Devices are still preferred by users. Another important characteristic of WiFi and Bluetooth applets is that they can be installed in a range of communication devices and radios. WiFi and Bluetooth communication applets have no regional boundaries due to their automatic connections and compatibility, and, therefore, they can be used universally and wherever irrespective of a change in data communication protocols. Importantly, these technologies are not yet fully discovered meaning that with the right innovations and technological platforms, newer versions of Bluetooth and WiFi Chipsets will continue being produced thereby assisting in the realization of the perceived world of wireless communications.
Undoubtedly, protocols such as WiFi and Bluetooth will form the basis for radio applets by 2020. Such protocols are compatible with several other data-communication protocols and perhaps boosting their universality. Majority of such communication connections happen automatically without involving action from the user. Similarly, future radios would utilize limitless bandwidths depending on the type of communication and thus, protocols such as WiFi and Bluetooth communications are capable of scanning for unused spectrums thereby enabling the radio applets to increase their performance. This can be attributed to the fact that protocols such as WiFi and Bluetooth support millions of frequencies, media-protocols, and coding depending on the processing power of the device. With regard to performance, radios having a combination of WiFi + Bluetooth module combination are have proven to show enhanced performance and it turn, transforming communications into a new level (Rappaport, 2008).
The issue of spectrum use and radio licensing regulations is another area that must be considered during the design of software. According to Partridge (2011: 66), software radios have the potential to change the spectrum thereby unsettling some of the existing regulations and spectrum licensors. As such, the right radios should manufactured using protocols that do not interfere with the approved or authorized spectrums. However, the use of WiFi and Bluetooth modules into the manufacture of radios would enable managers to control the manner with which radios connect to approve spectrums because protocol managers can easily validate the legality of radios over WiFi or Bluetooth connections. This is an essential factor in the future of wireless communications due to the need to obtain authorization and security of communication being communicated over wireless protocols. Finally, protocols such as WiFi and Bluetooth can be defined based on different protocol management infrastructures and policy languages thereby facilitating configuration and reconfiguration (p. 67).
An exploration of Two Key Points
Realization of a World of Software Radios
Indeed, the explosive and exponential growth of wireless infrastructures coupled with the development wireless software systems technologies and paradigm shift from hardware to software does indicate a bright future for wireless networks. It is undoubted that the future world of communications would be controlled by software radios. Therefore, the transition from fixed hardware to more flexible radios holds a world of untapped wireless opportunities necessary for the exploitation of the radio spectrum to deliver data in the fastest and most reliably way (Kripalani, 2002). With these factors in mind, the dream of having a world connected by software radios is yet to be realized. Issues to be addressed include the need to identify the opportunities that lie ahead and implement policy decisions and infrastructure to enable us in achieving these objectives (Kripalani, 2002).
It is estimated that by the year 2020, software radios would be the standard technologies in many commercial and military communication devices (Partridge 2011: 63). Ensuring the communication applets are fitted with the right radios with compatible communication protocols is one of the major issues that need to be addressed. It begins with the need to understand the necessity of software radios in the realization of a world of wireless communications. This entails the need of finding the right formula for mixing programmable hardware and software to that are necessary in the provision of support to high-performance signals for radios. This will give way to the development, understanding, and manufacture of software radios, and the associated protocol securities. Then consideration should be placed in the study and exploitation of approvable spectrums and regulatory concerns within particular regions. This is an extensive exercise that requires an examination of radio behavior, undertaking comprehensive research to provide insights in the usage radio spectrums in specific geographical regions, and as well, to determine the current situation of the communication sector as far as wireless communication is concerned. Findings from the research should be incorporated in the design and manufacture of software radios to ensure that they adhere to particular communication standards and to develop them to adhere to authoritative rules and regulations governing wireless communications. (Partridge 2011: 66-67). Since the world of software radios is yet to be realized, it is imperative that authoritative and licensing controls be enacted to provide a framework with which radio communications will be managed as they communicate across protocols.
The Right Way forward and Recommendations
Given that the article talks of the future world of wireless communications, I believe that that the provided recommendations are imperative in the realization of the projected world. Currently, wireless frameworks control a substantial percentage of the overall level of communications, and it is a force to reckon with in the future (Partridge 2011: 68). However, knowing what is needed forms part of the solution but the realization of a world of wireless communication is far from being realized. It is upon the stakeholders from the engineering sector, manufacturing sector, policy makers, and consumers to implement the other measures that have been identified as being significant for the realization of this dream. For instance, the first step entails the understanding of the need for software radios and wireless communication chipsets in the world of wireless communications (Partridge 2011: 63). Therefore, considerations should be placed in understanding the nature of radio behavior, their performance in available spectrums, the current situation of the spectrum field, the type of research that needs to be done, and making decisions and policies that would lead into the realization of the dream of future wireless communication (Partridge 2011: 68).
Supportive measures with regard to the right type of languages to be used in the description of radio behaviors and communication protocols should be sought from relevant authorities. The standards and regulations for protocols should be universal to ensure that communications among protocols can be controlled using a single regulatory framework. Equally important is the field of research and development into wireless technologies (Porcino, and Hirt, 2003). For instance, research is needed right from the discovery of the need for high performance wireless radios to the using the right infrastructure to manufacture the radios, and up to the determination of the right spectrums, protocols, and operating regulations. Frameworks and resources such as the Shared Spectrum are readily available to enable researchers find solutions to issues that might arise during the implementation of objectives and goals (Partridge 2011: 68). Administrative authorities such as governmental agencies can also provide research assistance to strengthen the extent of information available to implementers and stakeholders in the communications industry. I believe that with the application of the right policy measures and the availability of the right technologies, the future of wireless communications would be realized by the year 2020.
Judging from the nature of the information contained in the article and what I have produced herein, it evident that I have agreed with the sentiments expressed in the article, and I believe that it is possible to realize a world of wireless communications by the year 2020. This would be possible, if and only if, we get the right understanding of what is required, and implement the best measures based our analysis. The fastest growing section of the communication industry, by any measure, is undoubtedly wireless communications. Over the past decade, the wireless communications industry has experienced sustained and rapid growth in paging, cellular, and cordless connections (Porcino, and Hirt, 2003). This communication medium has captured the imagination of the public and as well, caught media attention given its ubiquity of service and the ease of connection as we enter the a new communications era. The advancement in technology has impact of transforming the manner with which this medium is being utilized.
Nonetheless, the dream of realizing a future with wireless communication might not come true if we fail to understand the nature of the right technologies that are essential in unlocking this potential. Technological infrastructure and innovations is the most important thing that determines the rate of development in the wireless telecommunication industry. Again, judging from the progress that has been evidenced from mid 1990s in relation to current situation in the communication field, it evident that wireless communications would play a major role in the next 10 years (Haykin and Moher, 2005). Drawing from the provided examples in the article, obtaining the right mixture of hardware and software components would be imperative in the manufacture of future radios. I also believe that the performance of radio chipsets and other wireless applications components will be hugely important during the manufacture of radios.
Since the world of wireless communications is technologically dependent, and that technology is evolving at an increasing rate, I agree that extensive research and development should be undertaken to boost the discovery of issues related to improvement the wireless communications. Government is also important in the development of regulations and standard protocols to govern the manner with which devices communicate with each other. This is necessary to prevent the privacy of messages being communicated across devices and s well to prevent, the disturbance of particular frequencies.
However, I am not sure with some of the factors discussed in the article and the practicability of their applications. Majority of users might not understand the whole hype associated with radio technologies and radio chipsets thus making less sense to them. I would suggest that educative measures be undertaken to enhance understanding among the users. Second, majority of stakeholders seem to suffer from myopia and therefore, many are polished with insufficient details regarding the entire issues of radio protocols and radio technologies (Haykin and Moher, 2005). Without cooperation and understanding, the dream of a future controlled by wireless communications will be far from being realized.
Haykin, S. and Moher, M. 2005, Modern Wireless Communications, New York: Prentice Hall
Kripalani, A.T. 2002, Realizing the Wireless Future for Universal Personal Communications.
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Partridge, C. 2011, "Realizing the Future of Wireless Data Communications,” Communications
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Porcino, D. and Hirt, W. 2003, “Ultra-Wideband Radio Technology: Potential and Challenges
ahead,” IEEE Communication Mag., Vol. 41, pp. 66-74
Rappaport, T. S. 2008, Wireless Communications: Principles and Practice, 4th ed. Prentice Hall