[Note: This item was originally posted on Esme Vos' excellent Muniwirless site.]
What We Want
In network utopia, everyone will be connected across the digital divides of economics and geography. In network utopia, everyone will be connected with enough “bandwidth”—enough bits—that there will no longer be any impediment to innovation. Reaching network utopia may be possible by looking at where the most bits are: radio spectrum. Although spectrum has been treated like a scarce resource for almost one hundred years, today’s emerging technologies are altering this perception. There is actually an abundance of spectrum—more than enough for everyone.
Where We Are
Today’s communications technology is moving toward a world of all-digital transmitters and receivers. These advances in technology, combined with the swift evolution of mesh-based transmission and switching protocols, are opening up a new set of possibilities for unique new services utilizing intelligent wireless networks. These networks will contain smart transmitters, receivers, and switches. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently coined a term to describe these types of wireless devices: cognitive radios (CRs). Today’s Internet is perhaps the best example of a self-regulating structure that embodies these new technological approaches to communications in the networking domain. However, to date, many of these innovations have not moved into the wireless networking arena.