Monthly Archives May 2010


EU-funding to Wireless@KTH

Posted by: Jenny Minnema   /   0 Comment

(First published Sep 22, 2009)

Smarter use of radio frequencies
jens_2EU will contribute with 3 M€ to the project QUASAR with Professor Jens Zander at
Wireless@KTH as a coordinator. Total cost for the project is 4.6 M€ and among the partners are industry, operators and universities in six European countries. The QUASAR project will explore the best and most cost-effective way to use the radio frequencies for mobile communication.

The need for the radio spectrum for the rapidly growing broadband access services is evident. Abundant and fast access to spectrum has three main advantages: it fosters rapid innovation in wireless systems and services lowering entry barrier on the market; it enables affordable mobile broadband access to all; and makes new energy efficient wireless systems possible.

– About ten years ago the idea of Cognitive Radio was proposed as a solution to make more efficient use of the spectrum, Professor Jens Zander explains. This is a smart radio system that uses frequencies that for the moment are unused. IT is a secondary use of already licensed, but inefficiently used spectrum,

Low spectrum occupancy in a number of measurement campaigns worldwide has been the basis for claims of large gains in spectrum efficiency by cognitive radio. However, little research has been done to substantiate these claims.

The QUASAR project aims at bridging this gap between the claims made in conventional cognitive radio research and practical implementation by assessing and quantifying the “real-world” benefits of secondary (opportunistic) access to primary (licensed) spectrum. The analysis is based on two key features of cognitive radio: the ability of the secondary users to discover the opportunity to use the spectrum, and assessing the electromagnetic impact of secondary user transmissions on primary system (receivers).

– Novel approaches are taken as we go beyond the conventional notion of detecting “spectrum holes”, Professor Zander says. We are treating spectrum opportunity discovery as a data fusion problem, as well as new schemes that cope interference from multiple uncoordinated secondary users.

QUASAR will provide a comprehensive analysis of the techno-economical environment and provide detailed roadmaps and guidelines on how to apply and analyze new opportunistic spectrum access business models.

We will finally provide specific and reasoned proposals to go beyond the current regulatory framework. A balanced project team will provide results of high scientific quality and strong impact on the regulatory process and wireless business, Professor Zander concludes.

QUASAR – Quantitative Assessment of Secondary Spectrum Access
Coordintaor: Wireless@KTH

RWTH, Germany
TKK, Finland
Yonsei University, Rep of Korea
British Telecommunications PLC, UK
Bundesnetzagentur, Germany
University of St Cyril & Methodius, FYR Macedonia
Post & Telestyrelsen, Sweden
Office of Communications, UK
Finnish Comm. Reg. Authority, Finland

Center for RF Measurement Technology, Högskolan i Gävle, act as subcontractor to KTH


mark2Mark T. Smith in the foil room out in Kista. Wireless communication in underground trains is simulated here.

That’s what’s so great about Spotify and Iphone and why they’re so successful, says Mark T. Smith. They offer interaction and convey feelings.

– Who was the important person to me who compiled this Spotify list? A close friend, or perhaps an artist who I really like. It is feelings that have driven these product developments, explains Mark T. Smith.

He adds that the Iphone has grown from just a telephone to something much greater. It is not completely clear what the Iphone really is, but one thing is for sure: it is much more than just a phone and it brings out a lot of positive feelings in its users.

– That is the goal of our research – to make IT products interesting. Weave classic design into modern IT. Make technology into something more than just a box. Because there are no limits to what can be done, says Mark T. Smith.

As another example of feelings-driven technology he mentions the creation of smart billboards in the underground, which will be able to communicate with passengers’ mobile telephones and encourage interaction. It is quite possible to make these now.

But the opposite situation exists, when feelings trip up a technical product or service. Mark T. Smith remembers when he was involved in a project some years ago, which was a variant of the intelligent home. The presentation ended and the audience was completely silent. In the end, one woman got up and said that she would not want to live in such a house under any circumstances.

The intelligent home does not have lots of cameras, explains Mark T. Smith. Or windows that open when it is warm, or alarms that come on automatically in the night.

– People hate things like that. The home feels like a jail that is spying on its inmates, says Mark T. Smith.

He describes a new project he is involved with at the moment, in collaboration with Ericsson. It is called Home Assurance and among other things it measures the electricity consumption of the owners’ appliances and assesses whether everything is working well on the basis of that information.

– That is the thing – that’s where the feelings come in. People want to know that everything is OK – that’s enough. They don’t want to control every little thing that happens in detail, says Mark T. Smith.

“People hate things like that. The home feels like a jail that is spying on its inmates.”
Mark T. Smith.

That is exactly what Home Assurance is all about. The assurance that everything is OK is not a camera picture from the bedroom, but the fact that the iron consumes almost no electricity. People’s integrity is not threatened either; you can see the television is switched on, but not which channels are being viewed at the moment.

Mark T. Smith tells another anecdote about a restaurant owner who had a problem. He had to visit all his restaurants to check that everything was working as it should. He spent a lot of time, energy and resources in making these visits, and so some students were given the task of making the process more efficient.

The students put so-called RFID tags – about the same technology as used in contactless cash cards – on almost everything, so that they could track what was happening.

They then worked out a number of ingenious numerical values. If the fridge was opened x number of times, for example, that meant that everything was running smoothly. If x number of plates passed a certain point from the kitchen to the restaurant, everything was OK. The personnel did not have any problems with the new technology because no individuals were being monitored. The solution was so good that it won several prizes.

– The restaurant owner was able to check all of his restaurants quickly and easily from his mobile phone and make sure that everything was working well. Then he could relax, says Mark T. Smith.

Peter Larsson, KTH Info

Will measure feelings

• As well as the goal of making IT products interesting, Mark T. Smith and his colleagues intend to research into how feelings and technology can be measured.

• Mark T. Smith regards IT products as a value chain: server -> services -> unit (e.g. mobile phone) -> communication -> feelings.

• Do you use an optical mouse? Probably. Then you should know that Mark T. Smith is one of the researchers that developed the optical unit in the mouse.