Software-Defined Radios

New Scientist writes:

A device capable of skipping between incompatible wireless standards by tweaking its underlying code has been given world’s first go-ahead for outdoor trials in Ireland.

Ireland’s communications regulator Comreg has issued the licence for publicly testing a “software-defined radio” device, which has been developed by researchers at the Centre for Telecommunications Value-Chain Research (CTVR) in Dublin.

The device can impersonate a multitude of different wireless devices since it uses reconfigurable software to carry out the tasks normally performed by static hardware. “I’m interested in a future where a single device can use every possible frequency,” says Linda Doyle, who heads up the CTVR project, which is one of several competing projects worldwide.

The technology promises to let future gadgets jump between frequencies and standards that currently conflict. A cellphone could, for example, automatically detect and jump to a much faster Wi-Fi network when in a local hotspot. Devices could even decide for themselves which standard to use and might even be able to tease information from overlapping, or interfering, signals.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.