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Software-Defined Radios in Our Future?

Software-Defined Radios in Our Future?

The FCC hopes to make it easier for companies to win approval for products that perform several functions – for example, devices that act as a cellphone one minute, and a Palm Pilot the next. Later, manufacturers could add capabilities to these devices, including making them act as FM receivers.
These devices, under development, are called software-defined radios. The commission considers them spectrum-efficient because the devices look for portions of the spectrum authorized for use but are being used at that moment.
At its final open meeting of the year, the commission Thursday voted unanimously to solicit public comment on software-defined radios and begin a rules process to create service rules and speed up the authorization process for these devices.
FCC officials said the current equipment authorization process takes about 30 days for any piece of equipment; they’d like to cut that time in half. The current process also assumes parameters of any piece of gear are fixed, which is not the case with software-defined radios. Functions such as signal generation, tuning and signal reception are performed by software which is controlled by high-speed processors.
Read more about it in an upcoming issue of Radio World.