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The field of wireless and mobile communication has a remarkable history that spans over a century of technology innovations from Marconi's first transatlantic transmission in 1899 to the worldwide adoption of cellular mobile services by over four billion people today. Wireless has become one of the most pervasive core technology enablers for a diverse variety of computing and communications applications ranging from third-generation/fourth-generation (3G/4G) cellular devices, broadband access, indoor WiFi networks, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) systems to embedded sensor and radio-frequency identification (RFID) applications. This has led to an accelerating pace of research and development in the wireless area with the promise of significant new breakthroughs over the next decade and beyond. This paper provides a perspective of some of the research frontiers of wireless and mobile communications, identifying early stage key technologies of strategic importance and the new applications that they will enable. Specific new radio technologies discussed include dynamic spectrum access (DSA), white space, cognitive software-defined radio (SDR), antenna beam steering and multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO), 60-GHz transmission, and cooperative communications. Taken together, these approaches have the potential for dramatically increasing radio link speeds from current megabit per second rates to gigabit per second, while also improving radio system capacity and spectrum efficiency significantly. The paper also introduces a number of emerging wireless/mobile networking concepts including multihoming, ad hoc and multihop mesh, delay-tolerant routing, and mobile content caching, providing a discussion of the protocol capabilities needed to support each of these usage scenarios. In conclusion, the paper briefly discusses the impact of these wireless technologies and networking techniques on the design of emerging audiovisual and multimedia applications as they migrate to mobile- Internet platforms.
Date of Publication: April 2012