Wireless Communications

February 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The National Spectrum Consortium, a Defense Department research and development organization, is central to the Pentagon’s efforts to gain dominance in the 5G arena.

The United States and China are locked in a competition to take command of fifth-generation spectrum technologies known as 5G. Because those technologies will enable autonomous vehicles, smart cities and battlefield operations, the leading nation will reap commercial, economic and military benefits. To spur U.S. innovation, the Defense Department is largely relying on the National Spectrum Consortium, a research and development organization designed to develop revolutionary spectrum-related technologies through collaboration among industry, academia and government agencies.

January 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Research supported by the National Science Foundation could help the United States leapfrog past fifth-generation wireless networks, enabling an array of smart city technologies.  Krunja/Shutterstock

A National Science Foundation effort to ensure U.S. national leadership in wireless technologies will not stop at fifth-generation capabilities commonly referred to as 5G.

The extensive program, Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR—pronounced power), already has established testing grounds in three states—Salt Lake City, Utah; Raleigh, North Carolina, and New York City. Additionally, the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently released a request for proposals for a rural broadband testing area. The goal is to establish four city-scale testbeds, which NSF officials refer to as platforms. Each platform will ultimately be connected virtually as a shared innovation lab for wireless research.

January 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
One of four phased array antennas is mounted on the top wall of Columbia University’s engineering building as part of the COSMOS wireless testbed, designed to test emerging wireless capabilities in an urban environment.

Across 15 blocks in New York City sit the beginnings of an extensive wireless testbed, which will help advance driverless car, smart city and other technologies for the modern urban environment. The outdoor laboratory, known as COSMOS, provides a platform for researchers to experiment with a low-latency, ultra-high bandwidth wireless network during everyday life in West Harlem.

December 11, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The Defense Department has added to new 5G-related requests for prototype proposals to its efforts with the National Spectrum Consortium. Credit: Wit Olszewski/Shutterstock

The U.S. Defense Department has released two more draft requests for prototype proposals seeking fifth-generation (5G) wireless solutions. The newly announced projects are for smart warehousing and asset management for Naval Supply Systems Command and augmented reality and virtual reality at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

October 3, 2019
 

Sprint Communications Co. L.P., doing business as Sprint, Reston, Virginia (N00244-19-D-0013); and Manhattan Telecommunications Corp., doing business as MetTel, New York, New York (N00244-19-D-0014), are awarded an estimated $993,500,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price contract for wireless services and devices in support of the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, other Department of Defense agencies, and federal agencies. The contract will include a base period, September 30 to November 7, 2019, due to an on-ramp to the existing Spiral 3 Wireless Services multi-agency contracts. The awards have three one-year option periods which if exercised, would make the total value of the contract $993,500,000. 

December 11, 2018
Posted by Julianne Simpson
NIST researcher Jelena Senic drives a robot used to measure the performance of different antenna beam patterns. Photo Credit: NIST

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers have developed a method for assessing and selecting optimal antenna design for future fifth-generation (5G) cellphones and other wireless devices and base stations.

5G systems will avoid crowded, conventional wireless channels by using higher, millimeter-wave frequency bands. Because transmissions at these frequencies lose a lot of energy along the way, received signal strength can weaken. One solution is “smart” antennas that can form unusually narrow beams and quickly steers them in different directions.

August 1, 2013
By Master Chief Petty Officer Chris Vertin, USA (Ret.), Lt. Col. Scott Brooks, USA, and Lt. Col. Dave Hernandez, USA

 

A new 4G capability known as JOLTED TACTICS offers tactical units up to 10 times the wireless bandwidth, data rate and delivery speed of 3G networks. The Internet protocol-based system is designed to provide robust communications to dismounted special operations forces teams and general purpose forces at the tactical level. The system leverages innovations in 4G Long Term Evolution cellular technologies, software-based encryption and mobile Ka-band spread spectrum satellite communications to rapidly deliver megabits of data to mobile, dismounted teams equipped with specially configured mobile devices such as smartphones or netbooks.

April 2008
By Henry S. Kenyon

April 2008
By Rita Boland

April 2008
By Henry S. Kenyon

 
The goal of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) Chip-Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC) program is to provide warfighters with enhanced radio communications and jam-resistant navigation systems.
Chip-scale time keepers offer accurate frequency location, lower power requirements for messaging, detection and navigation equipment.

September 1999
By Michelle L. Hankins

Air link protocol makes waves with effective spectrum use.

An evolving technology promises efficient spectrum use to enable bandwidth on demand in wireless broadband access systems. The technology is being implemented in point-to-multipoint systems operating across the millimeter wave region to provide wireless communications transmissions.

September 1999
By Henry S. Kenyon

Trends point to a time when equipment could be automatically upgraded by accessing stored codes and waveform algorithms.

Internet accessible data libraries are looming as an important element in the continuing evolution of communications devices. By being able to hold a variety of waveform and signal processing algorithms on chips and in databases, these information storehouses give users enhanced flexibility in selecting specific material when and where they need it.

September 1999
By Henry S. Kenyon

New family of algorithms provides breakthrough in digital satellite and radio communications.

Engineers are using a new class of algorithms capable of encoding and decoding communications at speeds close to transmission channel maximum capacities, a feat that has eluded engineers since the 1940s when a theoretical limit to channel capacity was first defined. Under development since the early 1990s, these algorithms are now being tested in proof-of-concept devices.

December 2001
By Henry S. Kenyon

Legal, allocation problems hamper wireless technology rollouts.

Regulatory and spectrum issues may delay widespread release of third generation wireless technologies in the United States and Europe. The root of the difficulty is the lack of available bands for new applications in North America and questions surrounding rule-making authority in the European Union.

December 2001
By Henry S. Kenyon

Program allows mobile devices to operate on any network.

Cellular telephone users may be closer to achieving their dream of making telephone calls or accessing messages and services from anywhere in the world. Researchers have developed a software architecture that allows global roaming across all types of wireless systems. The technology offers the potential for upcoming third generation wireless telecommunications systems to operate beyond the current patchwork of regional and national networks.

June 2001
By Henry S. Kenyon

Manportable unit pushes mobile networking limits.

A prototype personal communications and situational awareness system may provide U.S. warfighters with an advantage in tactical combat. The device will link soldiers to a mobile voice and data network with the capability to share important information among individuals and entire units. A built-in inertial geolocation subsystem will enable troops to determine their location even if global positioning system signals are jammed or unavailable.

June 2003
By Henry S. Kenyon

Semantic web technology offers smarter, more efficient data searches, information sharing.

U.S. Defense Department researchers are developing software that may be capable of accurately understanding the nuances of human language. The technology promises to greatly enhance a spectrum of computer-based systems—from commercial Web browsers and personal virtual assistants to advanced intelligence gathering and command and control systems.

December 2003
By Maryann Lawlor

 

To introduce its Centrino mobile technology products, Intel Corporation's mobile messengers march through Times Square in New York. It was the company's biggest product launch since the Pentium processor 10 years ago.

Mobile technologies come home.

December 2003
By Henry S. Kenyon

New rule promotes automated frequency-shifting methods to prevent spectrum clashes with commercial, government users.

A recently adopted international standard protects military radar and scientific satellite transmissions against potential interference from wireless local area networks. It provides a toolkit and guidelines for manufacturers to modify their products to switch automatically to alternate channels when these signals are detected.

December 2003
By Henry S. Kenyon