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Return to: 2006 News Releases

SDR FORUM RELEASES NEW REPORT ON SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO TECHNOLOGY FOR PUBLIC SAFETY

DENVER, CO, May 8, 2006 - The Software Defined Radio Forum has released a new report, "Software Defined Radio Technology for Public Safety," that outlines potential benefits of software defined radio (SDR) as well as critical issues that need to be addressed. The culmination of a year-long study on how SDR technology could impact public safety communications, the report was written by the Forum's Public Safety Special Interest Group (SIG), which includes public safety personnel, public safety land mobile radio (LMR) vendors, software developers, regulators, commercial cellular companies, academic and government researchers, and contractors supporting federal interoperability programs.

The report notes that most public safety LMR products now being developed use SDR technology to support multiple protocols but that the real promise lies in SDR supporting multi-band and multi-service radios. Multi-band radios potentially include "waveforms" (software that controls radio operating parameters, such as frequency and modulation) that allow reconfiguring as a VHF, UHF or 800 MHz radio, as needed - a big step in addressing the challenges of interoperable communications. Multi-service radios could be reconfigured to operate on LMR, commercial cellular or 802.11 systems, which would help realize a system-of-systems concept and provide significantly greater communications capabilities in a single device than are available today.

Other potential benefits identified in the report include performance enhancement using cognitive capabilities, in which the radio or network operating parameters are modified based on real-time detection of the radio frequency environment - thereby setting the stage for building smart networks that can adjust to dynamic conditions, including interference and channel loading. The report also indicates that SDR technology can reduce life-cycle costs by enabling software functions to be upgraded without wholesale system changes and by facilitating migration to new protocols and standards.

Although SDR technology is already reaching the market, the real payoff for public safety is not yet a reality, and the report identifies a number of major issues that remain to be addressed, including:

  • Technical (antennas, front-end processing, and security are key challenges);
  • Economic (better cost models are needed to quantify the cost impact of SDR); and
  • Standards (existing SDR standards work addresses internal radio software architectures such as the military's Joint Tactical Radio System - although public safety standards such as P25 have addressed interface standards).

The SDR Forum report analyzes these issues in detail and outlines the steps necessary to address them and to expedite the integration of SDR technology into public safety communications systems.

The SDR Forum Public Safety SIG is now moving forward to tackle specific issues identified in the current report and is also developing reports on how existing public safety standards and regulations support SDR security requirements; cognitive radio applications for public safety; and a cost model for analyzing SDR impacts.

The new "Software Defined Radio Technology for Public Safety" report can be downloaded from the SDR Forum website (http://www.sdrforum.org/appr_docs.html, Document 2006-A0001).

About the SDR Forum

The SDR Forum, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, is an international industry association dedicated to supporting the development and deployment of software defined radio systems that enable flexible and adaptable architectures in advanced wireless systems. Presently numbering more than 125 organizations, the SDR Forum's membership spans commercial, defense and civil government organizations, including wireless service providers, network operators, component and equipment manufacturers, hardware and software developers, regulatory agencies, and academia from Asia, Europe, and North America. The SDR Forum's administrative office is headquartered in Denver. The SDR Forum website is www.sdrforum.org.

Return to: 2006 News Releases