Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Research on Wireless Networks

The Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) located in Boulder Colorado is the research and engineering arm of NTIA within the Department of Commerce. The Institute provides studies and analytical services used by wireless users and designers to aid with Federal communications products relying on public wireless infrastructure.

The institute is actively investigating the kinds of wireless networks and services federal users will be seeing in the future. This is important since government communications services share common features with public services.

The Institute identifies interfaces, both software and hardware to allow a broad range of government wireless communications services to be developed and deployed.  Researchers are working on spectrum and propagation measurements, telecommunications and IT planning, telecommunications engineering, analysis, modeling, and telecommunications theory.

Successful government communications applications require levels of performance and quality of service that are not different from most private sector services. For instance, government data services can be elevated to the level necessary to preserve national security. For these crucial services, the requirements demanded from wireless service providers may be difficult to achieve using public networks.

While the constraints that wired infrastructure impose on wired network design are well known, wireless data transport constraints are less understood. Network centric designers often overlook unique characteristics of wireless that can lead to network functionality that is unavailable on wired infrastructure.

On the other hand, the wireless communications environment has numerous constraints that call for very sophisticated and complex network designs. The difficulty in designing applications for wireless environments is because the designer must be well versed in both networking and wireless disciplines.

The strengths of wireless can bring a new dimension to the way applications and federal users relate to data. However, the weakness of wireless since it is used to transport public data can have catastrophic consequences especially in networks where security is very important.

The Institute participates in technology transfer and commercialization efforts by developing cooperative telecommunications research with industry where benefits can directly help market opportunities. ITS has participated for a number of years in Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA) with private sector organizations and universities to design, develop, test, and evaluate advanced telecommunication concepts.

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