There is a growing consensus among researchers and technology leaders in the wireless community that cognitive wireless networks could indeed become the future for wireless communication networks. The most notable benefit of these networks is its ability for efficient use of valuable electromagnetic spectrum through dynamic spectrum access (DSA) techniques. The electromagnetic spectrum is a valuable common property resource for which there is an ever growing demand and hence one that requires careful management and attention. Given this, it may not be too long before the concept of a truly cognitive network moves past its present research and conceptual phase to become a commercial reality.
New analysis from the Technical Insights division of Frost & Sullivan (ti.frost.com), Cognitive Wireless Networks- Future Prospects, finds that cognitive networks are the next step in the technology-driven evolution phase of wireless networks.
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"The digital TV transition, expected to be complete by February 2009, will make way for fixed cognitive wireless networks based on the proposed 802.22 standards," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Arvind Arun. "These networks will help connect rural networks using technologies that will harness unused spectrum in the TV bands."
The transition from analog television broadcast to digital will free up some channels in the sub-800 MHz bands for use in wireless communications. This transition is driving the development of the 802.22 WRANs, which when realized will benefit not just rural America, but also developing countries and remote areas in developed countries. Cognitive radios using dynamic spectrum access techniques will provide network services by utilizing unused spectrum based on availability and defined usage policies.
"The vast majority of research initiatives in cognitive wireless networks are being done in countries with large wireless user bases such as Europe and North America," says Arun.
"A major contributor to this effort is the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)'s neXt Generation (XG) program. The XG program, ending this year (2007), has successfully demonstrated the feasibility of opportunistic spectrum access through trials by its phase three contractor, Virginia based Shared Spectrum Company," states Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Zachariah Thomas Z.
Notwithstanding the technology’s potential, the possibility of co-channel and adjacent channel interference from unlicensed devices operating in licensed spectrum causes concern among both regulators and licensed users. The regulators have to be convinced about the ability of the devices to operate according to regulatory norms, while providing the benefits cognitive wireless networks promise.
"Existing license holders pay a lot of money for the exclusive access to the spectrum and will need assurance that they will have be able to operate without interference," says Thomas. "A strong business case is also essential to warrant spectrum sharing with unlicensed users."
Going forward, despite the potential benefits of cognitive wireless networks, researchers and product developers have to devise technologies that will allay the justified concerns of regulators and primary users. Economists and business leaders will have to devise models for spectrum sharing and trading which will provide incentives for primary license holders to lease or share valuable spectrum with potential secondary users.
Cognitive Wireless Networks- Future Prospects is part of the Technical Insights Subscription. It provides an insight into the technology behind cognitive wireless networks and the directions the technology will take. The aim is to identify the need, evaluate the benefits and analyze the current and future trends as well as key development carried out by institutes, universities and organizations across the globe in the field of cognitive wireless networks. This research service extensively talks about technologies such as cognitive radios, spectrum management issues and the challenges facing the technology. In addition, there is an analysis of the wireless ecosystem to determine the stake holders who will benefit from this technology the most. Interviews with the press are available.
Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters, and research services.
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