July 15, 2002
Washington Technology's report, "Breakthrough Technologies," featured airwave experiments conducted by Jon Peha, Associate Professor of ECE and EPP, and Associate Director for the Center for Wireless and Broadband Networking's Wireless Systems division, and Marvin Sirbu, Professor of EPP, ECE, and GSIA. A section of the article, "Using the airwaves more efficiently: Researchers are finding ways to share, rather than divide, radio spectrum," describes how they measured the amount of bandwidth used by radio stations, cellular phones and other users of the airwaves. The two professors and some students set up lookout posts on top of a CMU building and on a bluff overlooking Pittsburgh, and found different bands of the spectrum were used sporadically.
Measuring samples of spectrum may be more like observing activity on a highway. You see bursts of cars, you see gaps. There is real value to the fact we share that highway, Peha said.
Other hot advances covered in the piece include the supercomputing trend toward 64-bit processors, the move to Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6), and using an extension of the World Wide Web called the Semantic Web to program smarter devices.