wow! I would never have guessed this, but it goes right to the heart of our predicament:
The technology exists now for everyone in the world to have high-bandwidth communications (data and voice) with anyone else in the world for free, without any company or middle man whatsoever, using super cheap devices that cost less than $20. When something is free, it’s one less thing you have to buy, and one less thing you have to work for.
As far as radical abundance is concerned there is no functional difference between making everyone richer and making everything cheaper.
So what kind of technology enables the creation of a free worldwide communications network?
It’s called software defined radio, and it’s been around for more than a decade. It completely solves the spectrum scarcity problem by finding, negotiating, and determining moment-by-moment, on the fly, the most efficient frequency for any given communication. This happens at the device level, so it renders the need for centrally controlling towers, and their bandwidth bottlenecks, completely obsolete. By bypassing these lower bandwidth cell towers, this decentralized, p2p, spectrum allocation protocol increases available bandwidth over traditional cell networks by three orders of magnitude. The result is profound – by ditching wireless service companies we gain a one thousand fold increase in wireless bandwidth! The only problem with this plan is it’s illegal.
What we get instead are companies like Artemis Network’s licensing this technology (PCell) so that you’ll have to keep paying your wireless bill to use it.
Say again? You’ll have to keep paying your old company every month for something they no longer provide. Imagine a scenario in which up until now you’ve always paid Peter to fetch your daily water because he had the specialized tools to do so. Then one day you figured out how to do it yourself easier and cheaper. But because of some law on the books you still have to pay Peter for the water you’re getting yourself.
This is outrageous, but it is exactly the kind of situation we now have with PCell within the existing regulatory landscape. A middle man, a thief, or in this case your wireless service provider, is forcing you to pay the same “service” fee you’ve been paying for a service you no longer use, and they no longer provide.
Artemis Networks is calling this new technology “personal cellular”, but it is anything but. It’s completely owned and licensed by your wireless service provider.
This obscene state of affairs is enabled through enforcement of obsolete spectrum scarcity laws on a resource that is no longer scarce.
I repeat – the only reason we don’t have super fast, super cheap worldwide communications is because of artificial scarcity imposed by government regulation and coercion
Virtualisation builds on concepts already seen in cloud computing, whereby the services and capabilities offered by a system are decoupled from the underlying infrastructure that delivers them. In principle this could allow network operators to sell network capabilities, such as capacity, coverage and quality of service, rather than particular types of network access, and to mix and match the technologies used to deliver those capabilities in different environments. It could also enable network operators to expand and enhance the capabilities of their networks in a flexible way, by introducing new or enhanced technologies within an existing framework.
Virtualisation relies on new approaches to network architectures and much greater software control of these architectures. Early examples of work in this area are Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) and we are likely to hear much more about these concepts over the next few years.
Software-defined radio (SDR) is a radio communication system where components that have been typically implemented in hardware (e.g. mixers, filters, amplifiers, modulators/demodulators, detectors, etc.) are instead implemented by means of software on a personal computer or embedded system.
A software-defined radio can be flexible enough to avoid the “limited spectrum” assumptions of designers of previous kinds of radios, in one or more ways including wireless mesh network where every added radio increases total capacity and reduces the power required at any one node. Each node only transmits loudly enough for the message to hop to the nearest node in that direction, reducing near-far problem and reducing interference to others.
Many mesh networks operate across multiple radio bands. For example Firetide and Wave Relay mesh networks have the option to communicate node to node on 5.2 GHz or 5.8 GHz, but communicate node to client on 2.4 GHz (802.11). This is accomplished using software-defined radio (SDR)
Hands On: Cheap Software Defined Radio
So this is the big boys utilizing SDR, but shows where the tech is at:
Reconfigurable antenna (Maybe what we’ll see in mobile phones)
A re-configurable antenna is an antenna capable of modifying dynamically its frequency and radiation properties in a controlled and reversible manner. The reconfiguration capability of re-configurable antennas is used to maximize the antenna performance in a changing scenario or to satisfy changing operating requirements.
Marmote SDR: Experimental Platform for Low-Power Wireless Protocol Stack Research
The goal of the project is to create a novel low-power experimental platform for wireless networking research and education.
The proposed Marmote platform breaks with the prevailing approach to wireless sensor network (WSN) hardware, which combines a general purpose microcontroller with a highly integrated radio transceiver, and places a flash-based Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) along with a flexible Analog Front-End (AFE) in the center to become:
The above approach allows for interfacing and experimenting with different type of sensors including analog radio front-ends. In contrast with the “traditional” integrated radio chip solution this enables access to the physical layer and, hence, to baseband firmware development.
The Marmote platform has a modular structure that comprises the following 3 layers:
An example of a modern commercial $4500 SDR Transceiver: Matchstiq SDR combines a broadband RF transceiver with CPU/FPGA processing to provide a complete stand-alone software defined radio solution
a Software Defined Radio peripheral capable of transmission or reception of radio signals from 10 MHz to 6 GHz. Designed to enable test and development of modern and next generation radio technologies, HackRF One is an open source hardware platform that can be used as a USB peripheral or programmed for stand-alone operation.
RF Analyzer Android App for the HackRF and RTL-SDR
The PSDR is a completely stand-alone (no computer needed), compact, Portable Software Defined Transceiver (hence the name, sorta). Originally designed for backpacking use by Ham Radio operators. It includes complete coverage up to about 30Mhz (plus 144Mhz), it has a 168Mhz ARM processor, color display, and an innovative interface.
Vector Network Analysis (which includes antenna analysis) and GPS functions are included.
The entire design is Open Source. The electronics are designed and laid out to be easy to understand and tinker with. In addition to source code, schematics, board layout and parts lists, articles and videos describing the theory of the design are being created.
Examples of DVB USB sticks that can be utilized as SDR receivers and as cheap as $10
rtl-sdr looks to be a great source for utilizing these cheap receivers
Microsoft are showing interest in SDR with Ziria - Wireless Programming for Hardware Dummies
Software-defined radios (SDR) have a potential to bring major innovation in wireless networking design. However, their impact so far has been limited due to complex programming tools. Ziria addresses this problem. It consists of a novel programming language and an optimizing compiler. It is able to synthesize a very efficient SDR code from a high-level PHY description written in Ziria language.
OpenAirInterface.org is an open-source platform (GNU GPL v3) for experimentation in wireless systems primarily targeting cellular technologies (LTE/LTE-Advanced and beyond) and rapidly-deployable mesh/ad-hoc networks | Users can build an LTE compliant base station with USRP B210 with the OCXO for less than 1900 Euros
OpenAirInterface: An Open LTE Network in a PC
OpenBTS_UMTS software is a Linux application that uses a software-defined radio to present a standard 3GPP air interface to user devices, while simultaneously presenting those devices as SIP endpoints to the Internet. This forms the basis of a new type of wireless network which promises to expand coverage to unserved and underserved markets while unleashing a platform for innovation, including offering support for emerging network technologies, such as those targeted at the Internet of Things
Internet Simplicity, Flexibility & Costs:
- It’s all software, it’s all IP, and it’s open for innovation.
- A handset or modem appears as a SIP device, without the need for any special software on the device.
- For small networks, the network hardware can be reduced to a single commodity server with a software-defined radio.
- Any IP connection can serve as backhaul, including point-to-point WiFi.
- All of the software runs on Linux and connects with commonly used IP protocols, so the core network can be virtualized as a cloud service.
- Proprietary software found in a conventional cellular network can be replaced with open-source applications.
- Because the new network is based on IETF internet-age protocols,developers do not require additional training to deal with archaic legacy technologies
libLTE is a free and open source LTE library for SDR mobile terminals and base stations. The library does not rely on any external dependencies or frameworks.
The project contains a set of Python tools for the automatic code generation of modules for popular SDR frameworks, including GNURadio, ALOE++, IRIS, and OSSIE. These tools are easy to use and adapt for generating targets for specific platforms or frameworks.
Cognitive Radio is another area of experimentation and in use at Virginia Tech:
Cognitive Radio Network (CORNET) Testbed (uses the libLTE library)
What’s the difference between adaptive, cognitive, and intelligent radios?
Adaptive radio: An adaptive radio can monitor its own performance as well as modify the associated parameters in order to constantly adapt and achieve the most efficient communication link (the quality of service, or QoS).
Cognitive radio: Cognitive radios provide a step further in complexity compared to adaptive radios. A cognitive radio is aware of its environment and state of operation (e.g. localisation, RF spectrum usage, and local regulations). A cognitive radio can make behavioural decisions by constantly comparing and analysing its environment against the radio objectives and possibilities in order to maximize the communication link’s QoS
Intelligent radio: Intelligent radios are cognitive radios that are capable of self-learning (often related to the concept of “machine learning”). Self-learning radio provides the end-user with the possibility of increasing performance even further by performing self-adaptation to meet cognitive objectives and by making decisions based on experience
SDR in space
The CubeSat Project is an international collaboration of over 40 universities, high schools, and private firms developing picosatellites containing scientific, private, and government payloads. A CubeSat is a 10 cm cube with a mass of up to 1.33 kg
SWIFT Radios for CubeSats
Google have developed radioreceiver
An application to listen to broadcast stereo FM and AM radio from your Chrome browser or your ChromeBook computer using a $15 USB digital TV tuner
SAFE as a SDR ChromeApp
Research: Ant-Based Routing Schemes for Mobile Ad Hoc Networks PDF
In this paper, we have presented an overview of swarm intelligence applied to routing schemes in ad hoc networks. Inherent properties of swarm intelligence as observed in nature include: massive system scalability, emergent behavior and intelligence from low complexity local interactions, autonomy, and stigmergy, or communication through the environment.
These properties are desirable for many types of networks. Ant-based approaches hold great promise for solving numerous problems of adhoc power aware networks. Swarm intelligence however is a new field and much work remains to be done. Comparison of the performance of swarm based algorithms has been done by emulation. Analytic proof and models of the swarm based algorithm performance remain topics of ongoing research.
Mobile Clouds: Exploiting Distributed Resources in Wireless, Mobile and Social Networks