Government Boosts Funding
for Wireless Technology Project at UT Dallas
Effort Would Provide First Responders With Phones That Have Universal Connectivity
Sept. 24, 2007
The federal government has extended a contract with researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas to develop wireless communications technology that can easily skip from one standard to another, enabling ubiquitous connectivity.
The technology is being developed for emergency workers, but it’s expected to find eventual consumer applications as well.
Known as software-defined radio, the secret to the technology lies in software modules that run on an all-purpose processor. That differs from the usual approach, in which cell phones are hardwired to work with just one type of signal.
Different software modules let the technology work with multiple standards. Compatibility with future standards is expected to be just a matter of wirelessly downloading new software.
“We hope that one day we won’t have to throw away old cell phones, PDAs and other communications devices, but simply update their software,” said Kamran Kiasaleh, who is principal investigator for the project. Kiasaleh is a professor of electrical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at UT Dallas.
Software-defined radio is also expected to pave the way for what’s known as cognitive radio, a technology in which devices will automatically search for and use whatever part of the communications spectrum is available.
The Justice Department contract began in September 2006. Based on the researchers’ progress, it’s now been extended to run through August 2008 with $450,000 in total funding. Kiasaleh and two other UT Dallas researchers – Poras Balsara and Dinesh Bhatia, also professors of electrical engineering – are working closely with Texas Instruments on the project.
About UT Dallas
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 14,500 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The University offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UT Dallas, please visit the University’s website at www.utdallas.edu.