David "Cognitive Radio" Reed has posted his comments on spectrum allocation to the FCC on his website. Reed is part of a group of sharp technologists who are advocating that the FCC needs to radically reconsider the way that the RF spectrum is divided up for uses like TV, radio, cellular etc. Reed argues that by switching over to an Internet-like packet-radio network where nearby radios cooperate to share the task to getting all the wireless data -- including video and voice -- to where it needs to be.
Internetworking (on which the Internet is based) consists in understanding that information is independent of the medium that carries it, and can be represented in a universal digital representation – the bit. What the Internet has taught us is that we need not design communications systems for voice bits that differ fundamentally from systems for video bits – instead, by carrying all kinds of traffic over whatever links are available, we can achieve a high degree of efficiency, both technically and economically. Interoperation between networks removes unnecessary transaction costs, enabling new applications to reach economically viable scale without the overhead of purpose-built networks for each new application, and enabling existing applications to be improved in an upward compatible way while allowing legacy versions to coexist.
Digital signal processing is the use of extremely inexpensive and rapidly improving digital technology to handle all aspects of processing signals, including tuning, modulation, coding, and compression, among other functions. Since digital technology enables complex and adaptive algorithms we are able to approach closer and closer to the theoretical limits involved in manipulating and perceiving aspects of the physical world – in the case of radio, directly manipulating and sensing the electromagnetic fields that can be manipulated to carry information. The result has been a dramatic reduction in costs to implement efficient and adaptive techniques such as CDMA, spread spectrum, ultra-wideband radio, agile radio, power management, etc. At the limit, radio technology approaches the point where each radio is a “Cognitive Radio” that can sense its electromagnetic environment directly and modulate electromagnetic fields directly in time and amplitude.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
Yes, yes there is. The ultraportable Twisty Glass Mini boasts all of the simplicity of its forebear, while fitting just a little bit better in your pocket.The Mini is perfect for casual smokers, and anyone who doesn’t have the patience or fine motor skill for rolling papers. This piece keeps the convenient design of its older […]
Learning to code is a perfect way to grow your technical sophistication, and open up a host of new career options. But since most “learn to code” initiatives focus heavily on web development, it can be tough to find good resources for general-purpose computer science outside of a 4-year degree program. To get a broad […]
While many newer smartphones boast decent water resistance, most of us are still stuck with the kind of handsets that need to spend the night in a bowl of rice when they get wet. If you want to enjoy your favorite podcasts in the shower but are holding out for your next phone upgrade, this […]