Wireless Communications in the Massively Broadband® Era

As the cellular industry rolls out fourth-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) across the world, one has to believe that we are witnessing the dawn of an amazing new era, where wireless becomes so pervasive and intertwined with everything we do in life, just as the pen and paper are today. We are at the dawn of the Wireless Renaissance. Since I wrote “The Wireless Revolution” article for the IEEE’s Communications Magazine in 19911, we have witnessed the transition from first generation analog FM cellular phones, operating at carrier frequencies of 850 MHz, to today’s 4G LTE devices and smartphones with download speeds that will, in a year or two, approach 500 Megabits per second at carrier frequencies of approximately 2 GHz. With multi-gigabit per second, 60 GHz Personal Area Networks (PAN) now available under the IEEE 802.11ad standard and the WiGig and Wireless HD labels, the ability to retrieve from the cloud all of the content in our lives within seconds is now a reality. What is more, the required engineering know-how needed to catapult wireless to its renaissance is being born in these new LTE and 60 GHz technologies. But as awesome as the capabilities of LTE and 60 GHz Wireless LAN are, these are simply cumbersome first steps toward what the future holds in the coming decade.

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