Developments in Cognitive Radio
sept.
23

"Finalisation" of FCC TV Whitespace Rules

On September 23 the FCC issued a new Memorandum Opinion and Order (MO&O) dealing with TV White Spaces. Read more via the official FCC news release at: [Link]. You can also find the MO&O on the FCC’s website: [Link].

This can be seen as a significant step in the finalisation (hopefully the finalisation, pending possible legal cases!?) of the ongoing saga of the FCC developing rules for unlicensed opportunistic access of TV bands. The important aspect here is the removal of the spectrum sensing requirement by the FCC for secondary access by devices, where access is permitted solely based on the referencing of a geolocation database. Many of the precise details of this database are being worked on at this moment, where numerous aspects of it are left open to the database administrator(s) and “market forces”.

Another important aspect is the annexing of two UHF channels solely for usage by wireless microphones and other low power auxiliary service devices. This resolves the issue of such low power devices being very difficult to detect and avoid causing interference to.

sept.
13

Possible Changes in FCC TV Whitespace Finalisation?

Some news regarding regulatory developments on White Spaces in the USA and Europe.

In the USA, the FCC is considering the finalisation of TV White Space regulations at their next meeting later this month [Link]. There are rumours, transparent also from the language of some of proponents of unlicensed White Space Device (WSD) applications such as WiFi [Link], that the FCC is seriously considering permitting operation of WSDs without the spectrum sensing requirement (i.e., only using the geo-location database). There are mutterings that there are many representations against this, with some people even threatening to sue. Needless to say, it is quite possible that the FCC meeting on the 23rd September will set a critical precedent.

Meanwhile in Europe, there are strong signs that Ofcom in the UK may follow the FCC’s example. Moreover, Europe’s CEPT ECC is finalizing their draft report on technical and operational requirements for WSDs. Interestingly enough, in the context of FCC deliberations, the draft ECC report also notes current doubts in regulatory circles as regards reliability of spectrum sensing in autonomous WSD deployment.

Naturally, we shall follow all these developments closely.

2009

Apr.
10

Seventh General Meeting of IEEE SCC41 "Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks" Closes

The Seventh General Meeting of IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 41 "Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks" was successfully held on 6th-9th April at King's College in London, UK. Significant progress was made at the meeting, both on the "white space" ammendment and "protocols" addition to P1900.4, as well as the spectrum sensing work in P1900.6. Furthermore, the P1900.5 working group on "Policy Language and Policy Architectures for Managing Cognitive Radio for Dynamic Spectrum Access Applications" achieved a significant amount, and issued a call for use cases for the standard [Link]. This strikes an accord with the current drive towards policy-based management of spectrum.

Mar.
6

Broadcasters Sue FCC over White Space Access!

As perhaps was to be expected given the strength of feeling over the issue (previously reported many times in this blog), broadcasters are now sueing the FCC over the decision to allow white space access [Link]. It is unclear, however, why broadcasters feel the FCC's decision to be illegal. In any case, we suggest that any legal action would have to prove that white space access under the FCC's rules causes an unacceptable level of interference to broadcasters, and given the stringent rules for secondary access in these bands, it is unlikely that this could be proven. Were wireless microphone manufacturers to sue, however, we anticipate that the case would be somewhat more "interesting".

Feb.
16

Ofcom publishes consultation on the usage of Cognitive Radio in digital dividend bands

Today, 16 Feb. 2009, Ofcom has published a new consultation regarding the exploitation of Cognitive Radio in digital dividend bands [Link]. This important consultation will pave the way to more open access to these bands, following on from last year's decision by the FCC to permit secondary spectrum access in TV white spaces.

The Ofcom consultation targets two spectrum awareness schemes: spectrum sensing, and the use of geo-location information. In the former case, Ofcom proposes a number of technical specifications, the usage of which will amount to a low degree of interference with a high degree of reliability. The proposed spectrum sensing requirement (assuming a 0dBi antenna) is -114 dBm in an 8 MHz channel (DTT) and -126 dBm in a 200 kHz channel (wireless microphones), respectively. Furthermore, Ofcom proposes a transmission power cap of 13 dBm (adjacent channels) to 20 dBm, a maximum transmission time of 400 msec and a minimum pause time (after each transmission) of 100 msec.

In the case where cognitive devices use geo-location information, a location accuracy of 100 m along with similar maximum transmission time and minimum pause time is proposed. Geo-location based cognitive radios need to follow the guidelines of the database regarding transmission power schemes. A more detailed description of this consultation can be found at the following [Link].

Feb.
11

The spectrum dispute, and 2012 broadband access goals in the UK

In late January 2009, Lord Carter, the UK's communications minister, published "Digital Britain: The Interim Report", in which the government's goal of UK-wide broadband access to all homes by 2012 is announced [Link].

However, the radio spectrum upon which wireless broadband services should be offered is not always available to operators. Except for the operator "3", other operators' major operations are using 2G systems. Vodafone and O2 have the most lucrative chunk of spectrum in the 900 MHz band, while Orange and T-Mobile operate over 1800 MHz bands. The government aims to balance the equation by re-possessing parts of 900 MHz bands to sell to Orange and T-Mobile, an action fiercely opposed by Vodafone and O2. However, the government has announced if industry negotiations fail to bear fruit, it will "impose" solutions to the industry. This Thursday, 12 Feb. 2009, representatives of UK operators and Ofcom will meet with Lord Carter to solve the dispute over spectrum [Link]. Earlier this week, it was reported O2 might be willing to compromise over the 900 MHz band, while Vodafone only suggested a preference for an industry agreement to solve the problem [Link]. It remains to be seen what compromises will be made (if any) in Thursday's meeting.

Feb.
5

US TV switch over delay approved: Lessons to be learned in Europe

On Wednesday, 4 Feb. 2009, the US Congress approved the Senate's proposed delay of TV switch over to 12 June 2009 by 264 to 158 votes. This will effectively delay the transition about 4 month, which as Michael Copps, the acting Chairman of FCC, notes provides the government "an opportunity to do it better."  [Link].

Meanwhile, Europe is moving towards harmonization of the digital dividend, the spectrum that will be freed up after digital TV switch over. In UK, Ofcom have introduced a new consultation on 2 Feb. 2009 to change its previous digital dividend plan in order to achieve a better alignment with other European countries  [Link].

As the first country in EU to do so, UK planned to release 112 MHz digital dividend comprising of (i) a smaller, upper band of 48 MHz at 806-854 MHz (channels 63-68); and (ii) a larger, lower band of 64 MHz between 550 MHz and 630 MHz (channels 31-35, 37 and 39-40) [Link].

However, it appears that a critical mass of european countries (so far Finland, Sweden, France and Switzerland) are planning to free up 72 MHz of digital dividend at 790-862 MHz. i.e., channels 61-69, also known as the 800 MHz band. This in turn mean several channels currently reserved for specific applications in the 800 MHz in UK need to be switched to other bands. This includes the use of channels 61 and 62 for Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT) and channel 69 for program-making and special events (PMSE) in UK. However, the full TV switch over in UK and most EU countries will only be completed by 2012 [Link]. This gives the EU countries a fair amount of time to plan harmonization. However, as the case of US shows, in practice many important issues from implementation of switch over point of view might be left for the last minute.

Feb.
3

IEEE 1900.4 Standard Approved!

On 30th January, the IEEE 1900.4 standard on "Architectural Building Blocks Enabling Network-Device Distributed Decision Making for Optimized Radio Resource Usage in Heterogeneous Wireless Access Networks" was approved by the IEEE Standards Board. This represents a major step forward in the facilitation of a range of Dynamic Spectrum Access/Allocation techniques [Link].

Jan.
26

The Dilemma of the Digital TV Switch Over: To Delay or Not to Delay

As president Obama's administration starts addressing the many challenges faced by the US, with the promise of "change", last minute considerations seems likely to prevent change of TV broadcasting in the US. While for over 3 years the US consumers were being educated of the TV switch over to digital transmissions, it is estimated the around 6.5 million people might not be able to receive digital TV signals, if the switch over is completed according to current target date of 17 Feb. 2009 [Link]. Therefore, Obama and Democratic members of Congress are supporting a delay in this transition. It is reported that Democrats and Republicans have reached an agreement in the Senate for a delay till 12 June 2009 [Link].

Since the original TV switch over date has been considered finalized from a long time ago, many operators and broadcasters' plans for the freed airwaves are now in jeopardy. Qualcomm, for one, has been working on its MediaFlo mobile TV system for a long time, and around $500 million spent only on the spectrum licenses for this service which will run on channel 55 in the US. Hence, it is not surprising that Qualcomm is fiercely opposing any delays in TV switch over, which in turn means delay in availability of spectrum needed for MediaFlo. This system broadcasts 15 TV channels over the same bandwidth of a single analog TV channel [Link]. AT&T and Verizon who provide MediaFlo to consumers have indicated they accept a one time delay in TV switch over. The US's case can be an waking alarm for many European countries who plan to complete their TV switch over in 2009.

Jan.
20

DARPA's First Test of a new Cognitive Radio Goes Well

Initial testing of a cognitive radio that military officials plan to be sold for less than $500 per unit met expectations, and the project remains on track for realizing its goal of completing development of the devices in late 2010, according to an official for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) [Link].

Jan.
16

International TV White Spaces Fellowship and Training Initiative

The FCC chairman, Kevin Martin, has announced the creation of an "International TV White Spaces Fellowship and Training Initiative" [Link]. This move, which represents a major effort to improve understanding of white space access thereby facilitating its development, highlights the importance with which the potential for white space access is to be regarded. Although such a technology can revolutionise various areas of wireless communications such as wireless broadband access, it must be administered correctly to avoid damaging effects. The promence of this initiative reflects such issues. Moreover, the international nature of this initiative recognises the importance of worldwide development in the area; this concurs with our recent observation that an international resonance is required to maximise the viability and success of white space.

Jan.
9

Spectrum's Equivalent to eBay

In line with the raft of recent announcements pointing the way to spectrum liberalisation, and facilitated by the digital dividend, an American company that provides an online marketplace for spectrum is looking to expand internationally [Link][Link]. The fact that this company is proving to be such a success indicates the tremendous demand for ad-hoc spectrum, whereby the expense and complexity of legally buying it would otherwise be prohibitive.

Jan.
5

TV Whitespace has International Implications

The Canadian-based North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) has expressed concern about the threat of interference in the US, Mexico and Canada (and beyond) through white-space devices, as a result of the FCC's decision to allow secondary access to locally unused TV bands [Link].

Although opinion is very much divided as to whether such a threat is really a concern in countries within which the devices are sanctioned for use, the fact that this statement is made by a Canadian-based organization does bring to mind the importance of international harmonization in regulation of such technologies. In particular, the cross-border implications of white-space access need to be taken into account, as such access close to national boundaries will commonly cause interference in neighboring countries. Moreover, the anticipated future creation of some forms of secondary access devices leads to the potential for them to be adapted and/or misused in countries where they are not sanctioned for use. Thus there are important reasons for, e.g., the ITU to step up to the plate and attempt to achieve international regulatory consensus on the use of secondary spectrum access technologies.

2008

Dec.
19

Some news snippets...

Ofcom, the UK's spectrum regulatory body, is considering a new exemption that allows very low power devices operating above 10 GHz frequency (such as, e.g., future UWB devices) to transmit with a higher power. Following an initial consultation in August 2008, Ofcom is taking the matter to the European level "seeking to have the CEPT undertake additional studies with the aim of ultimately seeing a common European position emerge" [Link].

In another spectrum-related development in the UK, Ofcom has chosen the "PA Consulting Group" to conduct a research effort to "predict spectrum availability across the UK over the next 15 to 20 years" [Link]. The focus of this study will be on the growth of cellular technologies and demand for High Definition TV, and the growth of femto-cells and other technologies.

Finally, in the US, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is developing a "Spectrum Sharing Innovation Test-Bed Pilot Program" with the aim of (in Phase 1) assessing "whether devices employing Dynamic Spectrum Access techniques can share the frequency spectrum with land mobile radio systems". So far, Adapt4 LLC, Adaptrum Inc., BAE Systems, Motorola Inc., Shared Spectrum Company, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University are selected partners to develop this testbed [Link].

Dec.
16

AWS-3 Spectrum Auction Plan by FCC deemed too controversial...

As reported in this blog last week, Kevin Martin, the FCC's Chairman, has proposed a controversial "use it or lose it" spectrum auctioning plan for AWS-3 bands in the US. The FCC intended to vote on the matter on its 18th December open meeting, the agenda of which was published on the 11th December. [Link].

However, apparently both the Republicans and Democrats are opposing the plan. It was first reported that the Bush's Administration's Commerce Secretary, Carlos Gutierrez, in a letter to Martin, urged the FCC not to move forward with the auction proposal and instead to "rely on market forces to determine the best use of the spectrum" [Link].

Furthermore, the Democrat Congressman Henry Waxman of California, who is expected to head the Senate Commerce Committee when the new Congress convenes in January and Senator Jay Rockefeller West Virginia, who is expected to be the new chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, wrote a letter to Martin to ask him to focus on the transition to digital TV instead of the spectrum auctioning plan [Link].

It is also alleged that the FCC's auctioning plan is very much in line with a Silicon-Valley Start-up company, named M2Z [Link]. Though there is no confirmed news of the likely decision by the FCC, one website reports that the 18th December meeting is cancelled [Link].

Dec.
8

"Use it or Lose it" spectrum auction strategy is proposed by the FCC

The chairman of the FCC, Kevin Martin, has said that the FCC will vote on the 18th December on introducing a novel plan for the upcoming AWS-3 spectrum auction in the US. The FCC wants the company that wins the spectrum auction to "devote at least 25% of the spectrum to free Internet access for 95% of the country" [Link]. Furthermore, this free Internet access should include provisioning content restrictions (i.e., filtering) for users under 18.

The spectrum auction will award a US-wide license. However, there will be a 5-year provisioning period, after which the spectrum license in the regional areas not covered by the free Internet access based on the FCC's benchmarks, will be reclaimed, and possibly be opened up as "unlicensed" spectrum [Link].

After deciding to allow unlicensed access to TV white spaces, it seems the FCC is trying to steer the market towards better (and free!) access to the Internet for the wider community. From a market point of view, these plans simply mean that the WISP/operator company's profit would (or should!) shift from providing data "pipelines" to end users towards the innovative applications that will be offered to these users.

Dec.
4

Google-OTI response to the Ireland's Spectrum Policy Consultation

In response to a recent consultation regarding Ireland's spectrum policy, Google and the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative (OTI) have published their views, which essentially encourages ComReg (Ireland's spectrum regulatory body) to follow the steps of the US's FCC and UK's Ofcom as regards more open and flexible spectrum management [Link].

After a successful campaign to persuade FCC to adopt an unlicensed spectrum policy to access TV white spectrum, it seems Google has now focused its attention towards Europe. While, as covered previously in this blog, there seems to be a generally positive attitude towards more flexible spectrum management in the green continent, the traditionally strong presence of cellular operators might make regulatory changes challenging.

Dec.
1

SDR Forum initiates working on testing requirements for white space communications

To steer the transition from research to practical solutions on Cognitive Radio (CR), especially its application in white space communications, SDR Forum has formed a new group named "Test Guidelines and Requirements for Secondary Spectrum Access of Unused TV Spectrum". The main task of this group is to "Test Guidelines and Requirements for Secondary Spectrum Access of Unused TV Spectrum". Some of the most prominent names in this field will collaborate in this activity, such as Prof. Joe Mitola, Stevens Institute of Technology, Prof. William Webb, Ofcom, UK's spectrum regulatory body and Pat Carson of TDK [Link].

Nov.
27

The bridge between "Cognitive Computing" and "Cognitive Radio"

The visions for future of computing and radio communications are getting closer and closer, around the paradigm of "cognition". In the computing side of the field, IBM recently announced undertaking of a joint project with five US Universities under DARPA's Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) initiative [Link]. The aim of this project is to "simulate and emulate the brain's abilities for sensation, perception, action, interaction and cognition while rivaling its low power consumption and compact size". In other words, mimicking human's brain ability of decision making based on various stimulus from the surrounding environment, to cope with ambiguity and learn over time [Link]. Isn't this vision awfully similar to those proposed by Mitola for Cognitive Radio (CR)?

In the radio side of this futuristic visions, Nokia recently announced seeking to bridge "the now to the next", developing several solutions including CR. Though the CR intended by Nokia, follows the simpler goal of spectrum agility, nevertheless, other relevant applications are being studied and developed by Nokia, which fall within cognition capability of a device. One such application is called "Point & Find" whereby by pointing the handsets camera towards real-world objects, the relevant information and services are fetched by the handset [Link]. The beta release of this technology is able to find the nearby cinemas upon by pointing the camera towards a movie poster [Link].

In our view, there is a shared destiny for both cognitive computing and radio, which is the universal availability of cognitive-based devices where communications is an inherent part of its DNA. The bridge to reach this shared goal is availability of low-budget and compact-size processing capability in future intelligent devices.

Nov.
19

More details of FCC's plan for white space devices emerge...

On Nov. 14, the FCC has released the second "Report and Order" as regards unlicensed access to TV's white space spectrum. The detailed document introduces "a conservative first step" towards deployment of innovative solutions that can operate in white space spectrum and includes "many safeguards to prevent harmful interference to incumbent communications services" [Link].

Excerpts of the major issues:

  • The allowed operating channels for the fixed and portable white space devices are different: Fixed devices: any channel between 2 and 51, except channels 3, 4 and 37, using up to 4 Watts EIRP (effective isotropic radiated power) Portable devices: any "unoccupied" channel between 21 and 51, except channel 37,using up to 100 milliwatts of power.
  • The "geolocation capability" is a must for all devices, except for personal/portable devices operating in the client mode.
  • A third party (or parties) will set up and administer the geolocation database.
  • All white space devices should be certified by the FCC Laboratory.

More detailed information on this Report and Order can be found at this [Link].

Nov.
14

Toward Practical Applications of Cognitive Radio: Self-Organizing Networks

The proliferation of wireless access points, and more recently the idea of femto-cells, has created an urgent need for interference coordination techniques. Interestingly, in the case of deployment of femto-cells, the interference should be managed in a distributed manner in "licensed" bands, as opposed to WLAN access points in unlicensed bands, such as IEEE 802.11x networks. This is why recently the idea of Self-Organizing Networks (SON), sometimes also called Self-Optimizing Networks, has gained a huge attention from academia and industry.

To address this problem, a UK-based company called picoChip [Link] has utilized Cognitive Radio (CR) capabilities in a range of femto-cell solutions. The so called Radio Environment Scanners (RESs), picoChip's PC8210, PC8211 and PC8810 software reference designs can "sniff" the RF environment to detect WCDMA, GSM and TD-SCDMA networks respectively [Link].

Nov.
12

Ofcom's Consultation on Unlicensed Intelligent Transport Systems

Ofcom has published a consultation aimed at regulating vehicle-based safety applications, commonly referred to under the umbrella term "Intelligent Transport Systems" (ITS). This decision is in line with the EU regulations that has dedicated a harmonized band in 5875 - 5905 MHz for such services. The potential applications range from deriver aids such as "Lane Change warning" and "Emergency Electronic Brake Lights" to peer-to-peer networking solutions for "Cooperative Collision Warning" to "Road Condition Warning". The consultation seeks to grant unlicensed status to these ITS services and solutions and will continue till 12 Dec. 2008 [Link].

Nov.
5

Change has come to America's airwaves...

While the world is celebrating the victory of Barack Obama in becoming the 44th president of the USA, there are also reasons to celebrate in the wireless and broadband access community following the FCC's decision in favor of unlicensed access to TV White Spaces [Link].

On Tuesday, 4th November 2008, the FCC voted unanimously to allow the operation of fixed, portable and mobile broadband devices on a secondary access basis in TV White Spaces (locally unused spectrum bands). The FCC provisions a number of safeguards to ensure that TVs and wireless microphones operating as primary users in such bands are not interfered with, including the specification of a low maximum transmit power limit, and the use of spectrum sensing and geo-location information by white space devices. The latter will ensure white space devices access a database of locations of "full-power and low-power TV stations", where the venues that use wireless microphones can also be registered in this database to protect them from interference. Motorola, who provided a geo-location based white space device in the field trials performed by the FCC, has welcomed this decision [Link].

Although the FCC's decision also foresees the approval of white space devices which operate solely based on spectrum sensing without geo-location information, a "much more rigorous approval process" has been signaled for such devices [Link]. The FCC's positive decision on white space spectrum access, the first such development in the world, could encourage other regulators to open the airwaves to new generations of innovative solutions.

It remains to be seen whether further means to provide consumers with "last-mile" broadband access, besides the telephone and cable networks of today, will be realized as a result of this historic decision [Link]. Hopeful developments persist in the form of the IEEE 802.22 and IEEE 1900 standardization efforts.

Oct.
29

Call for Papers: IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, Special Issue on "Achievements and the Road Ahead: The First Decade of Cognitive Radio"

We are delighted to inform you of the upcoming IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology special issue on "Achievements and the Road Ahead: The First Decade of Cognitive Radio". Please find the Call for Papers (CFP) here [Link], as well as from IEEE TVT Website [Link].

Oct.
24

Will France's spectrum allocation lead the way to a harmonized digital dividend spectrum across Europe?

On 20 Oct., the French government decided to allocate 72 MHz spectrum, in the 790-862MHz band, from the digital dividend spectrum (the bands available after switching analog TV transmission to digital) for "Electronic Communications", which paves the way for developing 4G wireless broadband access technologies in those bands [Link].

The France's decision is well in line with the WRC07 recommended bands for electronic communications services. Furthermore, it also satisfies the European Parliament's recommendation of allocating "around 100 MHz" of digital dividend spectrum for such services. In order to benefit from economy of scale, in developing services in the digital dividend bands, a harmonized approach across Europe is of utmost importance. But it remains too be seen if other EU member states follow the steps of France.

Oct.
20

Towards November 4th: A sense of change is in the air...

Er ... no, we are not referring to US presidential election. Rather, we were referring to the all-important FCC decision on White Spectrum Access. As the FCC has shown signs of moving towards its final decision by Nov. 4th, reported in this blog a few days ago, both sides in this battle to secure spectrum access rights were quick to reflect on this news. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), from the opponents of open access to TV bands, criticized the FCC's report on test results as self-"contradictory". The NAB urges the FCC to allocate a period of public comments before the final decision is taken [Link].

On the other side of the coin, the Wireless Innovation Alliance (WIA) has declared its preparedness to introduce white space devices within the scope of a variety of applications, ranging from wireless HDTV home entertainment systems to wider broadband access for the community. According to the WIA, if two major obstacles do not slow down the process, white space devices can be introduced by the end of 2009 [Link]. These obstacles are: (i) the opposition of the NAB and other related groups to the FCC's decision, necessitating further rulings, and (ii) unclear specifications for white space access being provided by the FCC.

Oct.
16

FCC's decision date on White Space access: US presidential election day

It has been reported that FCC Chairman, Kevin Martin, has indicated the possibility of the vote on White Space access being carried out in the FCC's 4 Nov. 2008 meeting, which coincides with the US presidential election date [Link].

Oct.
13

White Space access without interference is possible: FCC test results on AWS-3 band unveiled

On Friday, 10 Oct., the FCC released the test results for interference potential in exploiting Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) in the 2155-2175 MHz band, referred to as the AWS-3 band. Though this test is different from the TV white spaces, still to be released, it certainly confirms the possibility of open spectrum access without interfering with other bands. In the AWS-3 case, T-Mobile, who owns the adjacent 2110-2155 MHz band, referred to as AWS-1, was concerned about the possibility of harmful interference to its licensed bands.

However, detailed test results published by the FCC conclude that "an AWS-1 and AWS-3 device operating in close proximity do not necessarily result in interference" [Link].

The final decision by FCC will be made by the end of the year, after comments on these test results are submitted. This is certainly a positive step towards realization of White Space Access.

Oct.
9

Ofcom to encourage innovative usage of spectrum with a new license...

Today Ofcom released a new consultation focusing on a new spectrum license category named "innovation license". The purpose of this license is to facilitate innovative usage of spectrum with less cumbersome licensing procedure than current schemes. Ofcom predicts that such licenses will most probably be used as an "interim measure" for organizations who want to provide a novel commercial service. Hence innovation license might ideally result in shorter time to market for innovative services and applications, by providing a "temporary" spectrum play ground for service providers. The operators will, after initial trial period, move to a traditional license regime to benefit from its interference protection.

This consultation will close at 18 Dec. 2008 [Link].

Oct.
7

White spaces drama in US continues...

As extensively covered in this blog, the debate on the future of white space spectrum is getting hotter and hotter as the possible decision time by FCC gets closer. In a new twist, New York council has adopted a resolution opposing (at least expressing some conditions to) the FCC's plan to allow open access to these bands [Link].

As reported by Broadcasting and Cable, both pro and against open access plans have testified in this hearing, for instance David Donovan, president of the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV) and Free Press Campaign Director Timothy Karr [Link].

Oct.
1

Larry Page's Talk @ White Spaces Day

Following the blog entry, 25 Sept., here is the link to watch Larry's comments at White Spaces Day event, Washington, US [Link].

Sept.
27

Updates from Ofcom...

Ofcom has prepared a consultation regarding allocating 275-3000 GHz bands as unlicensed. Due to severe propagation loss in such high frequencies any transmission in those bands will likely result in highly local interference, which in turn makes those bands ideal for sharing through an unlicensed regime. The consultation will end 4 Dec. 2008 [Link].

Also, Ofcom has made the software to be used in upcoming spectrum auctions in 2.6 GHz band available for download [Link].

Sept.
25

White Spaces Day...

Yesterday, Wed. 24 Sept., was named "White Spaces Day" by the Wireless Innovation Alliance [Link], to help promote -and encourage FCC- of the potential of White Space access. Larry Page, co-founder of Google, spoke in the Senate Dirksen Office Building, Capitol Hill, Washington D.C., to urge FCC to adopt the free spectrum access proposal. Page argued that providing wireless broadband access through this band will be more economic than current municipal WiFi plans, not to mention encouraging more innovative technology solutions and R&D activity. Regarding the recent FCC tests of white space devices (extensively covered in this blog before), he claimed that wireless microphone companies have deliberately switched their devices to operate on the TV channels, instead of their normal channels, hence making it impossible for white space sensing devices to detect wireless microphones [Link].

In a promising sign of tendency of FCC to adopt white space plans, it is reported that Kevin Martin the head of FCC is "hopeful" of possibility of providing wireless broadband services on White Space spectrum [Link].

Sept.
23

In search of the best strategy for spectrum...

The value of radio spectrum is increasing rapidly, not just from economic point of view, but also in terms of the role it can play in facilitating communications and enhancing life experience through numerous private and public domain wireless applications. Recently, Ireland's Department of Communications assigned a working group to prepare a "national radio spectrum strategy". The group has invited public opinion on the subject in its report, within which the value of Ireland's radio spectrum is estimated to be a whopping 250 Billion Euros [Link].

In the mean time, Ofcom in the UK is preparing itself to auction the digital dividend spectrum at around 700 MHz, appointing Morgan Stanley to promote the auction as reported last week in this blog. Some stakeholders are voicing their concerns on the ability of the auctioning strategy to maximize public benefit from this spectrum. Catherine Smadja, head of special projects, policy and strategy at the BBC, believes that such an auctioning strategy will only result in a few deep-pocketed companies hoarding the spectrum [Link].

Sept.
13

Can Morgan Stanley attract world-wide interest in the digital dividend spectrum auction in the UK?

Ofcom announced yesterday that it has appointed the investment bank Morgan Stanley "to promote international interest in its award of the "digital dividend" of spectrum" auction, which might start as early as 2010 [Link]. The digital dividend is about 128 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band, which will be available after TV switch over to digital transmission, planned to be completed by 2012. The Financial Times estimates (based on recent 700 MHz auctions in the US, and adjusting for the size of the economy), that the UK Treasury might earn as much as £4.4 billion from this auction [Link]. Although the usual suspects, i.e., the major mobile operators, are expected to be the main contenders for these licenses, Ofcom hopes-through Morgan Stanley's contact book-that new players and technologies will seize the chance of entering the UK market.

Sept.
11

Could a potential WiMAX vs. LTE spectrum auctioning strategy sweeten the 700 MHz, D-block, public-safety bands auction enough for big players to enter?

As covered before in this blog, the FCC has conducted a successful spectrum auction in 700 MHz recently, which raised billions of Dollars for the Treasury. However, the auction at the D-block which should share the band with public safety agencies, failed to reach the reserve price. Although the licensing regime at these bands is national (as opposed to regional licenses) apparently no company found the FCC's proposal profitable enough to bid for the D-block to the tune of 1.3 Billion USD. Now, the FCC is toying with the idea of injecting some excitement in to the D-block's auction by conducting a parallel auction for regional licenses for either WiMAX or LTE deployment [Link]. It will remain to be seen how this round of auctioning will go...

Sept.
8

SDR Forum Sees Rapid Development

The Software Defined Radio (SDR) Forum has recently enlisted eight new members. This further strengthens the Forum and highlights the perpetuating interest that there is in SDR and related technologies. It also bodes well for cognitive radio: in addition to the coverage that cognitive radio enjoys in the Forum, SDR is one of the conceivable ways that advanced Radio Frequency (RF) and Radio Access Technology (RAT) adaptability might be achieved. RF and RAT adaptability are requirements for advanced cognitive radio capability, such as embodied in the "Mitola Radio". See [Link].

Sept.
2

First casualty of the FCC's 700 MHz spectrum plans...

As already covered in this blog, the battle for the future of the extra available spectrum after the TV switch over in 700 MHz is reaching its peak. One of the main opponents to the proposal for the opening of spectrum access in this band is the entertainment industry, where currently wireless microphones are heavily used in an unlicensed fashion. Recently, the FCC has announced that it is investigating the potential for forcing such wireless microphones to operate on a secondary basis, i.e., similarly to cognitive spectrum access plan proposed by pro 700 MHz open access advocates. If such a wireless microphone ban by the FCC is realized, the entertainment sector will be the first casualty of the 700 MHz spectrum access war [Link].

August
29

Cognitive Radio Makes Money!

CR is already proving a commercial success for some companies. Before the FCC has even announced on the outcome of the latest round of white space access tests, there are companies that are fulfilling big contracts concentrating on exactly that technology. One of these is the Shared Spectrum Company [Link].

August
22

Intel Artificial Intelligence...

Intel has expressed its futuristic view on the realisation of AI devices within 40 years. Not only are such devices intelligent in terms of advanced reasoning capability, but they are also able to optimise wireless communications through cognitive radio visions (both individually and collaboratively). This, as has been expressed before by other influential parties, implies cognitive radio as being integrated with a package of intelligent solutions [Link].

August
19

White Space Strongly Fought Over...

Further to our post on the 17th, lobbying for white space access is still going strong. Google, for example, is particularly vocal on the subject, stating that whitespace access is good for the industry (at least, the search providers), as well as consumers. Given the vastly improved spectral efficiency of digital compared to analogue, do we really need such vast areas of "beach-front property" (i.e., almost all of Malibu) allocated solely to broadcasting? It seems, at least to this blog, that Google has a valid point... [Link].

August
17

Status of Broadband White Space Still Uncertain...

"A bipartisan octet of Congressional representatives have sent the Federal Communications Commission a letter supporting the use of TV White Space for unlicensed use, but a key committee chair suggests that some of the spectrum might be best tapped for licensed applications as well.

Meanwhile, warring industry players are putting out different spins on the FCC's latest round of tests in Maryland on unlicensed broadband technology. And next week Motorola will submit a new wireless mic beacon device to the FCC for evaluation." [Link].

August
12

EC harmonizes Spectrum for Intelligent Transportation as well as Satellite Services: The need for evolution of regulations

In a series of press releases on harmonizing the radio spectrum European Commission (EC) have addressed two important sectors that can benefit from the economy of scale created through spectrum harmonization. First, on August 5, the EC earmarked a 30 MHz chunk of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for Intelligent Cars:

"A typical example is the case of a vehicle detecting a slippery patch on a road: if it is equipped with a cooperative car-to-car communication device, it can deliver this information - thanks to the 5.9 GHz band - to all cars located nearby. If a traffic management centre needs to inform drivers about a sudden road closure, the alternative route to take or speed limits, it will also be able to send this information to a transmitter detector along the respective road, which then passes it on to the vehicles driving by" [Link].

Then, on August 7, EC started the selection process for Pan-European Satellite Service Providers, which will use a dedicated portion of 2 GHZ band, i.e., 1980-2010MHz for Earth-to-Space communications and 2170-2200MHz for space-to-Earth communications [Link]. In the first phase which lasts till 7 October, the interested companies from technical and commercial ability will be assessed, while in the next phase other technical details such as the capacity of the proposed system and its spectral efficiency, speed of coverage across Europe and the range of services among others are considered [Link].

These coordinated effort in Europe, as well as similar trends across the world, highlights the need for evolving the current spectrum regulatory regime in favour of a more flexible, market-oriented framework. As Prof. Tim Wu of Columbia Law School in an Op-Ed in New York Times, July 30, mentions, if the regulatory paradigm governing the "fuel of Information revolution" does not evolve to address the current challenges, there is a danger of creation of information-resource controlling cartels as happened during "industrial revolution" and its fuel: Oil [Link].

August
8

UK's spectrum regulator, Ofcom, continues to reform the spectrum regulations

For a long time, UK's Office of Communications (Ofcom) has been leading the way to introduce more flexible and market-oriented spectrum regulations, nationally and internationally. In this capacity, Ofcom regularly issues consultations on various proposed changes to the way spectrum is managed in the UK. Recently, in line with European Commission's decision to harmonize the Mobile Communications on Aircraft (MCA) service, Ofcom has published a consultation to further extend the license-exempt status of mobile terminals, when connected to terrestrial networks, to also include connection to MCA services. The consultation will close on 29 Aug. 2008 [Link].

Furthermore, Ofcom plans to extend applying market-oriented mechanisms in managing spectrum holdings by UK's public sector, such as Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Department of Transport. In particular, Ofcom, in its response to MoD's consultation, on 4 Aug. 2008, encouraged MoD, the largest spectrum holder of any public or private sector organization in the UK, regarding its plan to release parts of its spectrum holding in a phased time plan. Although, MoD's proposal does not specify how much of the spectrum will be released and when, it has proposed a pilot release scheme of 406.1-430 MHz band, next year. Ofcom, also gave priority on release of spectrum holding in several other bands, including 2.7-3.4 GHz, which "lies immediately above frequencies at 2.6 GHz that are being made available on a European basis for mobile telecommunications and are in the process of being awarded throughout Europe". Other suggested bands are 406.1-430 MHz, 2.7-3.4 GHz and 3.4-3.6 GHz [Link].

August
4

Can world's largest democracy, brings democracy to radio spectrum through its 3G auction?

India is the world's 2nd most populous country and its most populous democracy. India is also the 2nd biggest cellphone market in the world and its fastest growing mobile market. In a long awaited announcement, India has publicized its plans for 3G spectrum auctions, which is certainly interesting from several aspects. Many organizations including the global association of GSM operators, GSMA, and domestic lobby COAI as well as leading telecoms seller Ericsson have applauded the India's 3G policy [Link].

The auction will be global through an e-auction system, allowing world's experienced and heavy-weight operators to enter (or increase) their foot steps in India. In the same time, India reserved a 3 month head start for its public service providers by granting them 3G spectrum immediately, without participating in the auction, but asking them to match the price of the highest bidders [Link].

Furthermore, India will have its Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) auction, too, which effectively means that WiMAX, a 4G candidate technology, will enter the market almost simultaneously with 3G cellular services! However, the size of the available spectrum for BWA auction is much less that 3G spectrum and the spectrum's reserve price is 25% of 3G spectrum.

It is claimed that between 25-50% of mobile users in India are not happy with their current operator [Link]. So, in some sense, this 3G policy will create a democracy in the India's airwaves, by allowing users to choose which services to subscribe to and based on what technology.

August
1

SDR Forum, IEEE SCC41, and IEICE TCSR Joint Workshop

Today, the 1st August, saw a Joint SDR Forum, IEEE SCC41, and IEICE TCSR Workshop take place in Tokyo, Japan. The event was well attended by a number of the worlds most renowned experts in the fields of Dynamic Spectrum Access, Cognitive Radio, and Software Defined Radio. In addition to various interesting presentations being given, a range of pioneering proof of concept demonstrations were on view. These included the demonstration of a system broadly in line with the IEEE P1900.4 system architecture, showing the ability of a split video stream to dynamically switch access points/RANs based on the varying load characteristics of the different access points/RANs and the need to satisfy a minimum QoS for the video stream, demonstrations such as a multi-band power amplifier for SDR RF, and a "Cognitive Radio Device" with RF tunable to frequencies in the 400MHz-6GHz range (!), and capable of sensing and selecting among a range of possible radio access technologies (802.11a/b/g, W-CDMA, etc.) for communication within this range.

July
30

AT&T's opposition to the Sprint-Clearwire Joint Venture, and Related Issues

Following the entry on the 17 July, regarding the roadmap to 4G and the possible role of CR, a major recent development is the creation of a joint sprint-Clearwire venture to kick-start the rolling-out a US-wide WiMAX network, possibly by the end of this year. Meanwhile, following earlier trials, a WiMAX service will be launched by Sprint in September in Baltimore, MA, USA. However, Sprint and Clearwire need to aggregate and transfer their licensed spectrum holdings, in 2.5 GHz band, to the joint venture before a nation-wide WiMAX service could be started. Clearly such arrangements need the FCC's approval [Link].

The WiMAX technology then will enjoy a 2-year head-start compared with UMTS LTE. AT&T, the USA's largest mobile operator, along with many other major mobile operators worldwide, has chosen to evolve their network to LTE. On July 24, AT&T filed a petition to FCC to deny Sprint-Clearwire's joint venture [Link]. The least damage this petition could cause is to impose some delay in the progress of Sprint-Clearwire's WiMAX roll-out.

There is no need to further highlight the critical role of regulatory bodies, such as the FCC, in shaping the path towards future wireless services and technologies. As discussed in the 21 July and 17 July entries of this blog, by actively supporting more flexible spectrum access techniques such as Secondary Spectrum Access (SSA) as in the form of TV White Space spectrum access for example, more ubiquitous and innovative solutions facilitated by deployment of CR will enable end-users to access desired applications and services anywhere and any time. It is worth mentioning that the SDR Forum, as part of the SDR 08 Technical Conference and Product Exposition "SDR 2.0 - Entering the Mainstream", to be held in Washington, D.C., 29 Oct. 2008, will discuss some of the regulatory challenges brought about by using SDR and CR [Link].

July
27

IEEE P1900.6: Standardized Representation of Spectrum Sensing Information

On Monday 28th, at the IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 41 (SCC41) meeting in Tokyo, Japan [Link], discussion will continue on a standard with projected numbering IEEE P1900.6, which was recently approved by SCC41 for submission to NESCOM. This standard, "Spectrum Sensing Interfaces and Data Structures for Dynamic Spectrum Access and Other Advanced Radio Communication Systems," strikes an accord with the recently discussed trials by the FCC on "white space" devices. Of course, white space devices must imply negligible interference to the primary service on the associated spectrum, and the most challenging aspect here is reliably detecting when the primary services are actually using the spectrum, and thereby, as the secondary device, avoiding transmitting in it at that time/space. Through achieving a standardized representation of spectrum sensing information, a wide range of CR-type devices will be able to share information on spectrum sensing, therefore increasing knowledge about the spectrum status, and improving the reliability of detection mechanisms for available white space. This will go a long way to ensuring that CR devices do not interfere with primary services, thereby allaying the fears that some may have, and making acceptance by the FCC of such devices more likely.

July
24

Canada's Spectrum Auction: Who is the Real Winner?

After 8 weeks of bidding, Canada's spectrum auction ended on Monday, July 21. The auction of 105 MHz of spectrum, 40 MHz of which is set aside exclusively for new entrants, raised CA$4.3 billion in revenue for the Government of Canada. Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry, said: "The industry now has an unprecedented opportunity -- thanks to the government's Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) policy and auction -- to develop products and services that offer choice to Canadian consumers and businesses. We think consumers will be the big winners in this auction." [Link]

The question is, "are end-users really the winner in such auctions?". Some new entrant winners of spectrum are promising to change the rules of the game, but established Canadian operators are quick to dismiss such claims. Also to be considered is that the last time new entrants won spectrum licenses in Canada, most of them were eventually bought by established players [Link].

So, who is the real winner? The new entrants might face a challenge to roll-out a reliable nation-wide network in competition with more established operators; especially, they might face challenges in achieving profitability, given the high cost of necessary initial investment.

There are several important changes in spectrum licensing on the horizon, such as FCC's decision on white spectrum access and Ofcom's technology-neutral spectrum auction proposal. But it will remain to be seen which approach will eventually result in the most pronounced benefit for end-users.

July
21

Challenges Posed in the FCC's Decision on White Space Access

The beginning of field testing of the white space devices by FCC, from July 14, is by far the most important development in the field of CR in the past couple of months. According to the testing plan released by FCC [Link], however, it will take a couple of weeks before any official results, and consequently FCC's decision, are announced. The first week of trial, according to the FCC's plan, was in two very different suburban areas, i.e., Patapsco Valley State Park and Aircraft Observation Area (BWI Airport), both in Maryland. Apparently, Microsoft who participated in the lab test phase didn't file its white space access device in this field test. The remaining companies in this round of tests are Motorola Inc., Philips Electronics NV, Adaptrum Inc. and Singapore-based research agency Institute for Infocomm Research. [Link]

An article in ars technical indicates that both white space pro and con camp declared victory over this first round of tests [Link].

The FCC for a long time has been one of the most progressive spectrum regulatory bodies in the world. The final decision of the FCC on white space technologies will surely have a profound effect throughout the world. On one hand, a powerful lobby from the entertainment industry tries to persuade the FCC of the impracticality of white space access, citing "intrusive interference". At stake is not only the broadcasting of TV stations, but also wireless microphone systems commonly used in stadium concerts, Broadway theaters, and elsewhere. We have heard a similar reaction from London's West End theatres and other entertainment industry stake holders to UK's Ofcom. On the other hand, as the white space coalition and other pro white space access groups have argued for some time now, the intelligent usage of these unutilized TV bands can result in a dramatic improvement in wireless broadband access, which is in the interest of the public. Importantly, the FCC's decision should put public interest at the top of it agenda.

This is indeed a challenging decision, although, we should not forget that there is a third position, namely, the CTIA's proposal to auction white spaces. This is perhaps not very desirable for either the pro or con white space camps. [Link].

July
17

As the End-Game in 4G Approaches: Why We Think CR is a Viable 4G Candidate...

For some time, it has been clear that there are 2 main contenders in the race to 4G. One camp advocates Broadband Wireless Access (BWA), its main candidate technology being WiMAX; the other camp favors the more conservative approach of evolving 2G-3G cellular systems through UMTS LTE. The goals of both groups seems to be similar, i.e., to provide a mobile internet experience to end users; however, the approaches employed couldn't be more different. According to an insightful article in TELEPHONYONLINE, entitled "Intel's wireless dream" [Link], the vision of Intel (which is extensible to most BWA supporters) is to create a "laptop on a diet"; the vision of cellular operators is to create a "smartphone on steroids".

The important realisation is: if ubiquitous connectivity is the dream for end-users, CR is the ultimate solution, as it provides access to different networks and resources based on availability in any given locale. Both WiMAX and LTE will only be able to extend the current level of user connectivity to a small degree, given phenomena that already have been experienced, such as the cost of spectrum licensing, operation and maintenance costs for networks, economic viability in covering certain areas, the required time and high cost of nation-wide network roll-out, etc. The bad news is that CR does not have any high-profile company backing its case, as WiMAX and LTE both do. The good news is that a number on newcomers to the field (such as Google or Microsoft) might create enough drive to make CR economically attractive. This week the FCC has started "field testing" a number of TV white spaces devices. In an article in FierceWireless, the pros and cons of white space access are assessed in an attempt to answer the question: "White space approval: Is it a matter of when?". [Link].

July
15

Cognitive Radio Analogy with Processor Scheduling

Hmmm... Another output from our production line of legendary analogies :-).

A processor is a limited resource. You would not want to limit a processor to do just one task, i.e., blinking the cursor, because if you did your computing experience would be rather dull... Generally, you would want your processor to do share its time among a range of tasks, such as running the OS, receiving email, writing documents, browsing the web, etc., as you would not be able to have a separate processor to do each of these things. Likewise, a spectrum band is a limited resource. Generally, you would want that spectrum band to do a range of things, in order to enhance the wireless communications experience, as there are of course also a limited number of spectrum bands. Hence, isn't cognitive radio a way of achieving processor scheduling in the spectrum domain ... !?

July
14

Developments on CR in TV Bands

As has been mentioned in this blog before, the most viable (near-term) business case for CR (so far) is its usage of TV white spaces. Currently, a high volume of activities in the CR field are centered around this topic. Two recent developments to this end are the filing of a new device to the FCC by Philips [Link], and Kansas University's "Unlicensed Device Emulator and Testbed", [Link].

July
10

Collective Use of Spectrum (CUS): The EU View

"In May 2007, the European Commission requested the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) to develop and adopt an Opinion on Aspects of a European Approach to 'Collective Use of Spectrum'. This paper represents the RSPG's response to this request."

The paper is available from the following link: [Link]

July
7

Cognitive Radio leads to True Packet Switching!?

Tremendous resource savings can be achieved by packet switching, i.e., taking the resource only for the duration of the packet for which it is needed, as opposed to circuit switching, which reserves the resource exclusively for the whole duration of a connection, even if it is not being actually used by the connection for most of that time. Analogously to circuit switching, conventional spectrum management regimes strictly reserve the resource for a certain owner and/or purpose, even if it is barely used by that owner/purpose at a certain location. Isn't cognitive radio, or dynamic spectrum access, therefore a logical progression analogous to the progression from circuit switching to packet switching? I.e., doesn't cognitive radio properly share the resource, ensuring that it is actually being used thereby increasing QoS or alternatively giving the opportunity to reduce interference and/or save aggregate power by using more appropriate bands...?!

July
4

Spectrum Management Enters the US Presidential Campaign

Natural resources, such as Oil and Gas, have long been part of politics around the world, in particular the security of natural resources, their management, and their price. Although radio spectrum is also a crucial resource for growth in services and quality of life within any country, it has been much less in the political limelight. However, as governments' revenues from auctioning radio spectrum have explosively increased in the last few of years (e.g., the 3G spectrum auction, or, more recently, the analogue-digital TV switch-over spectrum), it has been only a matter of time for comments on spectrum management to be witnessed in political campaigns. On Tuesday, 1 July, Senator John McCain discussed his vision for allocating a US-wide band for public safety purposes. [Link]. He mentioned that some special interest groups in Washington would prefer the FCC to auction off more of this spectrum.

July
2

Dynamic Wavelength Access in the Wired Domain?

As discussions on the best approach towards implementing Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) in the wireless community continue, a relatively similar approach in the wired (backbone) part of the network is also under investigation. In an article by Eric Pfanner, published in the International Herald Tribune on 29 June 2008 [Link], Hamadoun Touré, secretary general of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) discusses his desire for such a scheme. It is not easy to predict whether spectrum sharing will be realized in the wired or wireless domain first, nevertheless there are a lot of similarities between the two paradigms that can assist their collective learning experience.

June
30

Analogy of Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) with Vehicular and Pedestrian Traffic

Excerpts from the paper: Impact of Cognitive Radio on Future Management of Spectrum, (Invited Paper), M. Nekovee, CrownCom 2008, 15-17 Sept. 2008, Singapore

When combined with higher levels of built-in cognitive intelligence, advanced pooling techniques and reconfigurable antenna technologies the concept of DSA can be taken still further. The entire available spectrum may be divided into a very large number of equally-sized elementary subchannels (ESC). Depending on their requirements devices may pool together and utilise a number of (not necessarily contiguous) ESCs, and then vacate some or all of these when they are not longer required or when other more suitable ones become available. The static and highly fragmented spectrum landscape of today will be replaced with a highly dynamic quasi-continuum landscape, in which each device navigates its own way using its cognitive and adaptive capabilities, in order to optimally meet user's requirement for wireless access.

To illustrate the above concept, we can draw an analogy with vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The recently emerging DSA systems can be compared to how vehicular traffic on a multi-lane highway operates. Here vehicles are free to choose which lane they occupy and can change lane, but are restricted in their manovures to switching between a number of marked lanes. In contrast, future DSA systems are more akin to the pedestrian motion in a busy pedestrianised street. Here there are no well defined lanes and only a minimum set of rules are imposed externally. Each pedestrian autonomously navigate and manoeuvre his/her own way in the crowd, using a cognitive cycle which involves choosing a position and direction of motion that best satisfies his/her own personal goals and dynamically adjusting his/her movements and pace based on his/her perception/prediction of the movement of other pedestrians and the restrictions imposed by the environment.

This paper is not yet available through IEEEXplore, however, Dr. Nekovee has kindly agreed to share his paper through this blog. Here is the link. [link]

June
27

Parallels of ICANN's Freeing-Up of Domain Names with Cognitive Radio

The recent decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to open-up top-level domain names is still being hotly debated in the media. This decision will liberalize the way internet domains are named, for instance, allowing the creation of domains such as .bank or .anyname (see, e.g., The Guardian [Link]). Given the freedom that is achieved by opening up domain names in this way, it is interesting to think of the parallels in terms of what might be achieved through Cognitive Radio (CR).

In the early days, the introduction of the Internet Protocol (IP) created a unified whole out of a large number of small parts, i.e., Local Area Networks (LANs), through facilitating permanent or temporary addressing in order to send/receive traffic to/from devices in remote LANs. IP addresses in this context are analogous to spectrum in wireless and mobile communications. Legacy radio technologies parallel the "Static IP" solution, where a specific chunk of spectrum is "allocated" to a specific radio access technology, and part of this spectrum is "assigned" to each successful operator. The deployment of CR parallels the "Dynamic IP" approach, where, on a temporarily basis, a portion of the spectrum is accessed to fulfill the requirements of the user. Whether in terms of IP or analogously in the context of spectrum management, such freer thinking increases resources that are available at any one instant though reducing the phenomenon of those who are not actually using the resource clinging on to it and refusing access to it.

Parallels to the relaxing of rules on domain names by ICANN can be drawn, perhaps, in terms of the greater diversification of wireless applications and technologies that can potentially access spectrum in a cognitive way. For instance, through the recent ruling by ICANN, a greater space in terms of domain names can be potentially linked to an IP; through advanced CR capabilities, a greater wealth of applications and radio technologies might be able to dynamically access the spectrum resource in a reliable and non-intrusive way. In either case, the end result will be a significant improvement in the user experience among a range of communications technologies.

June
25

Blog Update and DySPAN 2008 Demos

First, we would like to thank all the those who have enthusiastically supported the launch of this blog. Given the very positive response we have had received thus far, we are sure that this blog will further expand to host a number of outstanding contributions and visionary comments.

IEEE DySPAN, organizing its 3rd symposium, has become a prominent event in the calendar for all stakeholders in the fields of adaptive spectrum management and CR. Following the success of the demos at DySPAN'05, in Dublin, Ireland, this year 14 demonstrations have been nominated. There is an equal share of Industry and Academia participation in the demos, showing a strong interest in CR in both sectors.

Topic-wise, half of the demonstrations are general CR-related solutions which loosely can be interpreted as proof-of-concept. The other half focus on specific topics:-

  • 4 demos directly deal with TV white spaces, currently the most popular business case for CR
  • 2 demos propose policy languages, an important enabler towards successful CR development
  • 1 demo is on 802.11-based CR

IEEE DySPAN 2008 can be accessed through this link: [link]

June
23

Official Web Log Launch

Today, June 23, is the official birthday of this blog on Cognitive Radio (CR)!

We will strive to provide regular updates, discussion and news on the most promising developments in this exciting field of wireless communications. We have entitled our blog "Developments in Cognitive Radio"; our goal is to provide an open forum for discussion about, and reflecting upon, technical/regulatory and market innovations that might shape the future of CR. We will do our best to reflect impartial and scientific views on the subject.

Please feel free to send your ideas, comments, news and thoughts to us. Each relevant comment will be published under the name of its originator.