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SDR Forum Study Looks At Cognitive Radio

DENVER, CO—With the rapid emergence of cognitive radio (CR), this hot-button technology promises to achieve the vision of multimedia wireless services anywhere, anytime, and with any device, according to a study commissioned by the Software Defined Radio (SDR) Forum (, a nonprofit international industry association for reconfigurable wireless technology. A cognitive radio intelligently determines which communication channels are in use and automatically switches to an unoccupied channel.

Prepared by technology consultant Jim Gunn, a specialist in digital wireless and multimedia communications, the 62-page study— “The Cognitive Radio Market”—provides a look at the technology that many industry stakeholders identify as an essential enabling technology to achieve future goals in key wireless- industry market segments, including the commercial, public-safety, and military sectors.

The study envisions that in the developing CR era, purchases of cellular phones, laptops, and other devices will be motivated by user applications such as mobile TV, wireless web access, and games, in addition to those involving voice. It further predicts that CR will be a substantial product and application differentiator and that those who embrace the technology “should be positioned for superior market successes.”

According to the report, the key near-term goals for CR are spectrum efficiency—it estimates improvements ranging from 3 to 10 percent—and spectrum availability to support emerging requirements and market opportunities. The longer-term goal is cognitive capability, enhanced through SDR technology, not only for spectrum efficiency, regulatory effectiveness, licensing, and spectrummanagement purposes but also for adaptively anticipating and accommodating user needs.

The commercial markets for wireless technologies are clearly the largest for SDR and CR, in terms of both units shipped and revenues, the report finds. The key opportunities in this sector entail improved spectrum efficiency and availability as well as cognitive capabilities for network and terminal configurations to support emerging triple/quadruple play, multimedia, and multi-radio initiatives.

The report also discusses regulatory issues, including the FCC’s initiative on new SDR rules and regulations facilitating CR.

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