Are We Getting Any Closer To The Wireless Holy Grail?

from the keep-searching dept

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.

Filed Under: sdr, software defined radio, vanu bose
Companies: vanu

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  1. identicon
    Iron Chef, 26 Sep 2007 @ 11:58pm

    If the DSPs exist, anything can be updated remotely. This was the promise of UMTS in the late 1990s. UMTS later changed to HSDPA, W-CDMA, and the like. The problem exists in the frequencies being utilized- an antenna tuned to, say, 1900MHz is fixed at 1900MHz, and the DSP has to accommodate the incoming bandwidth, and also understand the protocol necessary to create an outgoing data stream. Additionally modulation techniques play a big factor in bringing something, anything, whatever it happens to be, to market.

    OFDM really messed things up, and now that virtually everything that utilizes OFDM is under patent of Qualcommm (by acquisition of Flarion) well, we get back to those patent discussions that TechDirt is so well known for.

    Sorry Mike. We need to revamp the patent system first. Only then can we start to look at application of real cool and unique ideas, and then we can start creating awesome businesses that benefit from the new bandwidth.

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