Rappaport: Wireless communications are resurgent
A standing-room-only crowd was compelled by a tour de force talk called "The Coming Renaissance of the Wireless Communications Age," which was delivered by Dr. Ted Rappaport at the Enterprise Wireless 2012 Leadership Summit on Oct. 11 in Nashville, Tenn. The holder of more than 100 patents in wireless design, as well as an entrepreneur and author, Rappaport is the David Lee/Ernst Weber professor of electrical and computer engineering at NYU-Poly. He also is professor of radiology at the NYU School of Medicine; director of NYU Wireless, a research center that combines NYU-Poly's engineering program with NYU's medical school; and professor of computer science at the NYU Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences; and
An engaging and energetic speaker, Rappaport made the ambitious wireless research done by his graduate students come alive as he detailed their work modeling and measuring millimeter wave cellular in the New York City urban environment. That work revealed no outages for cells smaller than 200 m, leading to predictions that on-chip and integrated package antennas at millimeter wave frequencies will enable massive data rates, far greater than today's 4G LTE.
Rappaport also reported on the work done by the 100 graduate students and 25 faculty comprising NYU Wireless. The start up — bankrolled by $9 million in annual funding from NSF, NIH and private enterprise — has a mission to solve problems for industry, create research leaders and develop fundamental knowledge and new applications using wireless technologies. Among the opportunities being explored are those in wireless medicine. In anesthesia, for example, wireless technology can help integrate independent devices operating in different areas of the hospital (pharmacy, labs, dispensary, patient-care units, and physicians), all producing massive amounts of disparate, non-standard data and creating interconnectivity, which is key to successful outcomes.
Tremendous potential also exists for cardiac electrophysiology, where, as Rappaport explained, "the wireless revolution has not yet hit." Even with the current level of technology, electrophysiology physicians currently are able to cure arrhythmias that previously were incurable. Implantable devices, clinical electrode arrays and flexible silicon electronics meant to improve electrode arrays in the body are areas where Rappaport sees opportunities for wireless innovation.
Rappaport predicts that in the "massively broadband era," wireless technology will obviate print, magnetic media and wired connections, in "revolutionary ways." He further predicted that while it took 30 years to go one decade in wireless carrier frequency (450 MHz to 5.8 GHz), we will advance another decade in the next year (from 5.8 to 60 GHz). By 2020, Rappaport predicts, we will have devices well above 100 GHz and 20 Gbps in 5G and 6G cellular networks. He sees millimeter wave wireless communications as a "rich research field for low-power electronics, integrated antennas, space-time processing, networking and applications — a new frontier." Rappaport concluded that "the renaissance of wireless is before us. Massive bandwidths and low-power electronics will bring wireless communications into new areas never before imagined, including medicine and the hospital of the future."
Rappaport's presentation keynoted the three-day symposium and exhibit event, held at the Loews Vanderbilt in Nashville on Oct. 2-4, and co-hosted by EWA and USMSS. The Summit also featured EWA's first T-Band User Group meeting, attended by 40 representatives of wireless sales and service providers from 11 major cities impacted by the FCC's T-Band freeze; a review of international digital radio standards; and two sessions on "real-world strategies" from NEXEDGE® and ConnectPlus® operators. The exhibit hall was sold out in advance for the Summit's three networking events that provided premium interaction opportunities with attendees.
The 2013 event will be Oct. 2-4 at the Union Station Doubletree Hilton in St. Louis, Mo. Full details on the program will be available at www.enterprisewireless.org soon.