Future of Wireless Communications Book

I am pleased to say that I was invited to contribute a chapter to the book of this name, edited by Prof. William Webb, Head of R&D for Ofcom. I have just finished working on it and am looking forward to seeing the result in print later in the year.

This is the second edition of the book- the first edition is now five years old.

I am amongst prestigious company, and can only hope that my chapter lives up to this in some small way. My co-authors are:

  • Editor: Professor William Webb: Head of R&D and Senior Technologist for Ofcom
  • Professor Peter Cochrane. Previously CTO at BT and now involvedwith a wide range of ventures, start-ups and innovative consultancies.
  • Professor Dennis Roberson. Previously CTO of Motorola, now at the Illinois Institute
  • Tomi Ahonen. Author of a wide range of books focussing around 3Gservices, applications and marketing.
  • Stephen Temple. Senior strategist at Vodafone and one of the keydrivers behind the emergence of GSM.
  • Padmasree Warrior. CTO at Motorola.

In my contribution, I have first divided the next twenty years into three fairly arbitrary periods of five years, five years and ten years. For reasons which will become clear if you read the book (to be published towards the end of the year), I have given these names as follows:

  • 2007-2011: The age of wireless proliferation
  • 2012-2016: The age of wireless similarity
  • 2017-2026: The age of wireless mundanity

In each age I have divided my thoughts regarding the future of wireless into the following general areas:

  • Services & Applications: what people are doing with wireless;
  • Devices: what people are using to access their wireless services: the user’s means of access to the wireless world;
  • Infrastructure: the changing equipment and system topologies for providing users with wireless access and interconnection to other systems and data sources;
  • Air interfaces: the ‘over the air’ language via which devices and networks intercommunicate;
  • Spectrum: the electromagnetic medium which permits wireless to work in the first place.

The first four of these follow a fairly conventional communications hierarchy. The last deserves a special mention, however. Spectrum, in the context of wireless communications, acts as the ‘layer zero’: the very stuff of which wireless consists. As result, I have paid special attention to its characteristics and impacts on the development of future systems and technologies.

I am confident that many of my predictions will be proven true and equal confidence that I will be utterly wrong in some important respects. Indeed, in several cases I have included predictions which may seem extreme in order to provoke discussion and to illustrate some important points. I look forward to discovering which predictions become realities over the coming years. In the meantime, I welcome hearing of your own opinions on how wireless is likely to develop over the next 20 years.


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