NSF to research better methods of spectrum utilisation

By Jonathan Nally
Tuesday, 14 January, 2020

NSF to research better methods of spectrum utilisation

The US National Science Foundation is seeking to enlist the aid of researchers for a program it is calling Spectrum and Wireless Innovation enabled by Future Technologies (SWIFT).

The key aspect of the program will be its focus on effective spectrum utilisation and/or coexistence techniques, especially with passive uses.

Coexistence is defined to be when two or more applications use the same band at the same time and/or same location, yet do not adversely affect one another.

Examples of coexisting systems may include passive and active systems (eg, radioastronomy and 5G wireless communication systems) or two active systems (eg, weather radar and Wi-Fi).

The foundation is looking for breakthroughs on both the wireless communication hardware and the algorithmic/protocol fronts through synergistic teamwork.

The aim is to benefit society by improving spectrum utilisation, not just spectrum efficiency.

“The key aspect of this new solicitation, building upon the previous SpecEES program, is a focus on effective spectrum utilisation while ensuring coexistence, especially with passive uses. This will require substantial innovation in wireless technology,” the program solicitation notice says.

“Research proposed under this solicitation must go beyond past programs that focused mainly on spectral efficiency (bits/s/Hz) and energy efficiency (bits/joule). Developing new methods or techniques for spectral coexistence will enable wireless systems and networks to support the high performance (eg, higher data rates, lower latency) and dense deployments that will be needed by future applications operating in spectrally adjacent channels or in co-channel.

“Wireless research and development today is hampered by a closed ecosystem due to the lack of innovative new hardware and standards development processes that limit the adoption of new concepts and technologies in a timely fashion.

“Innovations in hardware technologies — including novel RF front-ends, software-defined-radios (SDRs) and application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) — and revisions to existing standards (eg, cellular and Wi-Fi) to leverage these innovations could be significant enablers for future wireless networks and systems.

“Research that will enable the above will likely provide immense societal benefits provided that the integrity of passive receive-only uses is also preserved.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/pdm

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