The US Air Force is joining forces, so to speak, with computer scientists at the University of Buffalo for a project designed to improve wireless communication between its planes. Their focus will be on producing cognitive radio software that is smart enough to determine the most efficient and effective way to communicate across several different frequency ranges. The government has allocated $2.7 million to the four-year project.
What’s the Big Idea?
Cognitive radio “is the hottest topic in the wireless sector [nowadays],” says Worcester Polytechnic Institute professor Alex Wyglinski, and for good reason: The growing horde of mobile devices will require faster networks that can accommodate ever-greater streams of data. One big barrier in the way is the FCC, which bans the kind of frequency-hopping that makes cognitive radio work. The researchers will be able to test their software at an Air Force facility that operates outside of FCC rules, but the agency’s policies will have to change before that software can leave the lab and enter the real world.