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Cognitive Radio for LTE & Beyond
Cognitive radios change frequencies, modulation schemes and other parameters under the control of spectrum databases, radio frequency (RF) sensing technology or both. Regardless of how they're controlled, their goal is to find temporary, often fleeting vacancies around other users so they can transmit, receive or both the sharing part that the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report envisions. Though cognitive radio often is perceived as a technology that's still years from widespread commercial use, the reality is just the opposite. Bluetooth is one example of an existing, mainstream application of cognitive radio techniques.

Even so, cognitive radio could be used in many additional ways so much so that it's reasonable to say that current applications only scratch the surface of what the technology could do. For example, a next-generation cognitive radio could enable commercial broadband services to co-exist with government services. Doing so would enable regulators to shoehorn more services into each band in order to alleviate the spectrum shortage.

The rise of cognitive radio also will affect the market for TVWS database services beyond the baseline information about which frequencies are available in a geographic area. A database administrator could provide additional information for a fee, such as the condition of each available frequency. But when cognitive radio technology advances to the point that its RF-sensing features are sophisticated enough gather that information, the market for administrator-provided information will diminish, although it's unlikely to go away completely.

The cognitive radio vendor ecosystem is relatively large for a technology that's five years or more from widespread commercial adoption. The ecosystem includes major companies such as Alcatel-Lucent and InterDigital and small companies and startups such as Carlson and xG. As with any new technology, there are also plenty of vendors on the sidelines, waiting to see if cognitive radio has enough traction to justify investing in it, either by creating it from scratch in house or acquiring a vendor that's already a promising player in cognitive radio.

Cognitive radio is a term that's slowly entering the telecom lexicon, thanks partly to the PCAST report, but it's widely misunderstood. This situation makes it easy and likely for some vendors to jump on the cognitive radio bandwagon once it takes off in cellular and other industries. So when comparing cognitive radio vendors, investors and service providers should scrutinize the candidates in terms of how long they've been developing or preferably selling cognitive radio products, the age and depth of their patent portfolios and their participation in trials.

Cognitive Radio for LTE & Beyond identifies and analyzes key issues affecting the market for cognitive radio. It explores a variety of potential applications, including cellular offload, small cell backhaul, fixed broadband and self-organizing/self-optimizing LTE networks.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (4gltei1112_toc.pdf)
Cognitive radio has been in development in one form or another for more than two decades, and it's already in commercial use in technologies such as Bluetooth, but it has largely flown under the radar so far. The PCAST report, the National Broadband Plan and various TVWS trials have all nudged cognitive radio into the limelight. Granted, reports and trials typically become historical footnotes after a few weeks or months, but cognitive radio also can leverage the perception among regulators and cellular operators that there's a severe spectrum shortage.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Companies mentioned in this report include: Adaptrum Inc.; Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU); Bell Labs, a subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU); Cambium Networks Ltd.; Carlson Wireless Technologies Inc.; Comsearch, a CommScope Inc. company; Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG); InterDigital Communications LLC (Nasdaq: IDCC); Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT); Shared Spectrum Co.; Telcordia Technologies, recently acquired by Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC); Texas Instruments Inc. (Nasdaq: TXN); and xG Technology Inc.
Total pages: 15
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