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CTVR Licenced to Operate on a New Wavelength


The Centre for Telecommunications Value-chain Research (CTVR) has been awarded the world’s first software-radio test licence. The licence will be used to investigate and develop more flexible ways of communicating to mobile devices, including ‘thinking radios’ and other cutting-edge communications systems.

Radio frequencies are valuable assets - particularly for mobile phone operators who have paid huge sums for them in the past – and as a result are very tightly regulated. Yet despite their commercial value, many parts of the frequency spectrum are under-utilised.

To investigate and develop products that can take advantage of these unused frequencies, researchers require access to frequency bands, a means of sensing current usage and a flexible system that can hop between the available bands. Science Foundation Ireland-backed CTVR already has the required software, so the awarding of the licence by ComReg opens up tremendous commercial opportunities, explained CTVR director, Professor Donal O’Mahony.

“Our research will put Ireland at the forefront of intelligent communications system research and development and create a pool of people with valuable expertise,” said Professor O’Mahony. There is also enormous commercial potential for local spin-out companies, who will have a clear head start in this area. Dynamic spectrum allocation is a key component of future mobile communications systems.”

“Flexible use of frequencies - known as dynamic spectrum allocation - is a key component of future mobile communications systems,” explained Dr Linda Doyle, who leads this research area within CTVR. “The licence means we will be the first research centre in the world to practically investigate the commercial potential of dynamic spectrum allocation.”

By the end of this year CTVR will have product prototypes of cognitive or ‘thinking’ radios, which improve communications by automatically seek less crowded frequencies and adapting to their environment. As well as building a test-bed for its own experiments, the centre hopes to facilitate researchers from other countries.

Caroline Bolster | alfa
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