The Challenges of Software-Defined Radio

Carl Panasik and Chaitali Sengupta

The current move to create and adopt third generation (3G) wireless communications standards has raised tremendous expectations among engineers. To some extent, there is a perception that adopting the new standards will result, almost instantaneously, in being able to design a plethora of multi-purpose wireless Internet appliances with features and capabilities far beyond those found in today's wireless telephones and palmtop organizers.

Recent discussion in the industry has suggested that the coming months will bring a kind of super-communications/entertainment appliance. With form factors and battery life similar to today's wireless phones, this system will deliver high-fidelity audio and full-motion video from the Internet, while it also provides voice communications capabilities and serves such as a Bluetooth transceiver. It will access the wireless LAN at the office, serve as a cellular phone during the commute, and connect to another wireless LAN at home. It will recognize local wireless infrastructures such as high-speed data kiosks in airports. Most important, it will communicate flawlessly with the infrastructure anywhere in the world where users choose to take it.

Embedded in this set of expectations is a reasonable amount of fact. 3G appliances certainly will deliver features and capabilities beyond those currently available (2G) and recent introductions of 2.5G. Recent advances in Digital ...

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