by Mike Masnick
Wed, Sep 26th 2007 11:39pm
For years and years we've been hearing about how software-defined radio was the holy grail of wireless technologies. The idea is that the wireless radio is software-based, rather than hardware-based, and therefore can change on the fly. Thus, a single device can, in theory, do a lot more. For example, it could automatically find the best network and switch you to that network, even if it involves a totally different type of network. That's cool in theory, but it's very, very difficult and can lead to a lot of complications. There was a lot of hype about the technology a few years ago, but it's been pretty quiet for a while. That may be changing as Vanu Bose's company is starting to get some new press coverage long after his SDR company first got attention (in part, because he's the son of the founder of Bose, the speaker company). Of course, reading through the NY Times article on Vanu, it doesn't sound like we're really getting anywhere near the big vision of SDR that people talked about half a decade ago. Instead, it's still being used for very basic things. That's not to say it's not a promising, and potentially revolutionary, technology. It's just to note that we're still a very long way from it living up to its potential, even if the press is suddenly writing about it again.