Tektronix, Virginia Tech collaborate on developing cognitive radio

Beaverton, OR—Tektronix Inc. reports that it’s conducting joint research with the Mobile and Portable Radio Research Group (MPRG) at Virginia Tech University to develop Cognitive Radio (CR) technology and a test methodology for it.


Beaverton, OR— Tektronix Inc. reports that it’s conducting joint research with the Mobile and Portable Radio Research Group (MPRG) at Virginia Tech to develop Cognitive Radio (CR) technology and a test methodology for it. This effort extends an existing research relationship with Virginia Tech that began with developing integrated solutions for characterizing and testing Software Defined Radio (SDR). Tektronix manufactures test, measurement, and monitoring instrumentation.

Because CR is the evolution of SDR, Tektronix and Virginia Tech explain their joint research is the first effort to establish a test methodology for cognitive algorithms, which will enable a radio to be aware of its environment. The use of cognitive radio will provide flexible spectrum utilization to meet the dynamic needs of commercial and military/government users.

CR builds on SDR to adapt to changing communications protocols, and inserts a new element—the radio’s ability to recognize its environment and learn by drawing on artificial intelligence. CR can sense its environment and location, and then alter its power, frequency, modulation, and other parameters for more efficient spectrum use by negotiating the best transmission path to overcome obstacles. Traditional radios are fixed to operate within spectrum blocks as authorized by a country's communications agencies. In addition, CR could theoretically allow multidimensional reuse of spectrum in space, frequency, and time, which would significantly reduce spectrum and bandwidth limitations, which have impeded wireless technology expansion in the U.S. and worldwide.

“The use of cognitive radio technology has the potential to vastly improve the efficiency of spectrum usage at a time when there is a scarcity of available spectrum and wireless communication services are rapidly increasing,” says Jeff Reed, professor and MPRG’s deputy director. 'Our joint research is the first of its kind, and will provide a repeatable test methodology for testing and validation of Cognitive Radio software algorithms. We expect that this design will serve as a test bed for manufacturers to use in developing products. Tektronix test technology is fundamental to the success of our research to validate the use and operation of cognitive radio, and we’re very excited to continue to build on our relationship.”

MPRG reports that its Open-Source Software Communications Architecture (SCA) implementation has already been successfully integrated with existing Tektronix equipment in support of SDR. Tektronix provides a unique capability of real-time spectral and digital time-domain analysis tools. This integrated approach enables engineers to simultaneously evaluate the RF, base-band and DSP logic associated with a given spectral event, a critical validation step in the design of Cognitive Radios. Tektronix will continue to assist in providing test and measurement equipment in support of the open-source SCA test bed for engineers doing Cognitive Radio development.

'We’re pleased to extend our relationship with Virginia Tech, one of the nation's premier academic institutions,' says Rich McBee, senior VP of Tektronix’s communications business. “Test equipment is crucial to enable the development of efficient Cognitive Radio systems that marry artificial intelligence with radio technology and drive innovation for the future of wireless communications.”

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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