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Radio Technology SIG

The whole wireless business depends on our ability to design, build and operate large-scale radio networks, and therefore on understanding the basic science, engineering and economic realities that govern them. Successful radio systems rely on a complicated mixture of analogue and digital technologies, depend on advanced materials technology, and frequently require advanced mathematical design techniques. Enormous investments have been made in digital and software technology for mobile devices and the fruits of this are visible in many exciting new products.

However, designing the radio and antenna system of a modern handset is already a major challenge. With new systems such as LTE and LTE-Advance coming along, whilst legacy 3G and 2G systems stay around for many years, future devices will need to operate on several standards and across ten or more bands ranging from 500 to 2600 MHz; LTE – Advance will bring the need to operate on multiple bands simultaneously; and MIMO techniques will need multiple receivers and transmitters in the same device. And yet the radios to meet these challenging requirements will need to fit into tiny hand-held gadgets, consume milliwatts of power, and cost little more than today’s products.

There is growing awareness of the need for fundamental innovation in radio technology to enable tomorrow’s products to actually deliver the performance promised by the new standards. Companies operating in the industry are also uncomfortably aware of a growing shortage of talented and creative engineers to make these innovations, which needs a blend of deep technical knowledge and insight with a highly practical approach to designing hardware.

The Radio Technology SIG will aim to increase the awareness of the scientific and engineering limits on radio communications; and the opportunities that could be exploited to improve the state-of-the-art. Examples of topics for consideration could include:

  • The balance between the political realities of spectrum regulation and the business implications of different band allocations
  • State of the art in the key enablers such as amplifiers, filters, oscillators, antennas, propagation, and digital processing technology and the scientific developments that could advance the state of the art
  • The dependence of overall system economics on technology limits
  • Identifying the choke points where the enabling technology is limiting business opportunities, which themselves create opportunities for innovation

The work of the proposed SIG should be of interest to practicing engineers developing radio infrastructure and terminals; those concerned with the economics of telecommunication systems including operators, regulators, and potential investors; and academics wishing to identify fruitful topics for future research and develop the future technology leaders.

Activities will include workshops with presentations from industry stakeholders exploring major topics; themed colloquia to share information on technical developments; masterclasses on specific areas of specialist design; and potentially drafting group reports on specific areas of concern on behalf of the Cambridge wireless community.

The Radio Technology SIG Champions

Mark Beach,
University of Bristol

Brian Collins,
BSC Associates

Diego Giancola,
PA Consulting

Peter Topham,
Qualcomm Technologies International Ltd.

Contact the SIG champions at

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Recent Event - To review the presentations from the last event please visit our RESOURCES page

Next Event

Radio Technology SIG - 'New developments in multiple access schemes' - Cambridge

Multiple access schemes are essential for any communication method that shares common channels. Early telephone systems relied on human operators to switch calls to trunk lines. Modern digital systems rely on a wide range of techniques that control access in wired and wireless systems, including LANs and four generations of public mobile radio systems.
The quest for ever greater efficiency in spectrum use, increased capacity and reduction in latency is driving the investigation of novel non-orthogonal systems for 5G, such as PD-NOMA, SCMA, PDMA, LPMA, and MUSA.

Speakers will review the background of multiple access schemes and explain the potential advantages of new developments.