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Monday, April 13, 2009

Averting radio spectrum saturation, opportunistically

From ICT Results:
Mobile users want better video calls, streaming television and faster downloads, placing more demands on the limited radio spectrum available to operators. Could handsets that intelligently sense their radio environment and opportunistically grab free bandwidth be a solution?

A team of European researchers believe they could be. Whereas most recent initiatives aimed at making more efficient use of the radio spectrum have looked at spectrum management from the network end, the team behind the ORACLE (Opportunistic Radio Communications in unLicensed Environments) project focused instead on making handsets actively manage how and when they use the network.

ORACLE’s pioneering approach promises to minimise bandwidth saturation in both licensed bands of the radio spectrum, such as that used to carry mobile phone signals, and unlicensed industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) bands – the kind used by WiFi networks and RFID chips.

“With demand booming for new services, both in terms of the number of connections and also quality, we need to find better ways of utilising the radio spectrum available to us… otherwise we will reach a point of saturation,” notes Dominique Noguet, the head of the Digital Architecture Design and Prototyping lab at Minatec CEA-LETI in France and coordinator of the ORACLE project. “We are dealing with a finite resource, but one that can be reused in novel ways,” he adds.

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