FCC officials are preparing for much-anticipated cognitive radio products being available during the next three years, a Motorola official said during the opening keynote address at last month's IWCE/MRT Wireless Summit in Charlotte, N.C.

“The FCC's talking about [cognitive radio] product being available by 2010,” said Chuck Jackson, Motorola's vice president and director of system operations.

An extension of software-defined radios, cognitive radios will feature transceivers that automatically detect unused spectrum and transmit signals over the available frequencies. Jackson said he was “surprised” upon hearing FCC officials' belief that cognitive radios would be available this decade but supports the agency's notion of testing the technology in the so-called “white spaces” between television channels.

If developed and made available at affordable prices, cognitive radios promise to utilize spectrum much more efficiently than today, he said. Ultimately, the technology could be “revolutionary,” making frequency coordination irrelevant and drastically altering the monetary value of licensed frequencies, he said.

“Thirty years from now, the whole idea of blocking out a piece of spectrum that's yours could start to be foreign,” Jackson said.