MOUNTAIN VIEW, CAR&D efforts for radio communications are being intensified as defense establishments realize their personnel's need for the latest generation of tactical radios. Software-defined radio (SDR) is expected to evolve into cognitive radio (CR), which could potentially transform future communications. In the US, both SDR and CR technologies are poised to replace legacy hardware in the defense domain with the deployment of radio systems that support over-the-air (OTA) software.

In addition to driving defense and public-safety infrastructure, a report from Frost & Sullivan titled, "SDR & CR: Strategic Portfolio Management," asserts that SDR systems are expected to assume importance in driving commercial wireless communications. The study also assesses the diverse factors influencing developments in the SDR/CR space while evaluating the key component technologies enabling the SDR and CR paradigms.

"SDRs can ideally implement any waveform, tune into any frequency band, transmit/receive with any modulation, and support various systems, protocols, and interfaces," notes Technical Insights Research Analyst, Archit Subramanian. "Furthermore, they support speeds of 100 Mb/s, which is significantly higher than those supported by contemporary systems of 100 Mb/s."

Size, weight, and power reduction continue to be key challenges in the defense arena. While manufacturers have been attempting to reduce the size and footprint of radio systems, power regulation and robustness remain serious concerns. The miniaturization of radio systems has therefore been at a standstill.

Cost is another factor constraining market progression. Although the development cost of SDRs remains high, there is likely to be a decline after the initial spate of testing is completed. The report emphasizes that cost efficiency and economy are the new guiding philosophies in the acquisition community. For more information, visit www.technicalinsights.frost.com.

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