Software-defined radio to play key role in emerging broadband wireless market

Software-defined radio (SDR) will play a major role in the emergence of broadband as the next growth market in telecommunications, as users seek seamless access to voice, data/web, and video in all their wireline and wireless subscriptions, according to experts at the SDR Forum in Denver.

Sep 1st, 2007

Software-defined radio (SDR) will play a major role in the emergence of broadband as the next growth market in telecommunications, as users seek seamless access to voice, data/web, and video in all their wireline and wireless subscriptions, according to experts at the SDR Forum in Denver.

One opportunity involves multiradio-a trend in cellular and broadband wireless access (BWA)-in which several radio standards are parts of one mobile portable or infrastructure platform. For example, a GSM cellular, a WiFi, and a GPS waveform could operate in parallel to provide wide-area, local-area, and location services. As a result, SDR would need to address not only waveform selection, but also simultaneous operations.

These observations are part of a study for the SDR Forum called “Wi-Fi, WiMAX, and Beyond 3G/4G” and subtitled “Broadband Wireless Access (BWA).” The study looks at BWA market opportunities for the SDR community and the challenges it faces.

“Sharing of platform resources will be essential,” the report says. “It is reasonable to envision this trend to facilitate synergistic opportunities for public safety, military, telematics, and other applications.”

The study goes on to indicate that future cell phones might comprise as many as 11 radios: “These radios will have multiple antennas, power amplifiers, low-noise amplifiers, data acquisition devices, baseband circuits, and so forth, which will offer challenges for integration into one, battery-powered portable device. Many of the radios will often be simultaneously operating on different frequencies and bands.”

The study points to recent advances in semiconductor, radio frequency, and data acquisition technologies that provide imminent market opportunities for SDR to extend programmability for more transceiver algorithms and more extensively achieve the long-verified software benefits. The SDR opportunities would be focused on reuse, portability, minimizing co-channel interference, optimizing RF links, beam-forming, multiuser detection, antenna sharing, and power reduction.

Virtually all stakeholders in the industry have indicated intentions for multiradio deployments that address Wi-Fi, WiMAX, and beyond 3G waveforms on common platforms and for using SDR-centric concepts and technologies to achieve the SDR platform benefits.

For more information, contact the SDR Forum online at www.sdrforum.org.

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