November 29, 2010

Speeding Up the Information Highway

Halim Yanikomeroglu and Rozita Rashtchi are road builders, but their tools of the trade aren’t bulldozers and paving trucks. Instead, these researchers are using computers and engineering innovation to create a new wireless highway that will change the way we communicate, learn and do business in the future.

Yanikomeroglu is a professor in theDepartment of Systems and Computer Engineering, and Rashtchi is a PhD student who came to Carleton from Iran. Together, they’re helping to develop the next generation of wireless networks in a project initiated by RIM (Research in Motion) and funded by the 2010 President’s Doctoral Fellowships.

“Manufacturers are producing more sophisticated technologies all the time,” says Yanikomeroglu, “but right now those gadgets have limited capabilities. So we need to improve the infrastructure in order to maximize their potential.”

“As more advanced technologies come forward, it inevitably creates equality across society”

Wireless networks have a generalized lifespan of about a decade. The current generation is the third, and a fourth generation is on the horizon, so producers are making mobile devices adaptable to both. Yanikomeroglu and Rashtchi are looking further ahead to a fifth generation that will enable high data rate transmission, resulting in improved wireless broadband connectivity. The superior networks will mean better and faster access to services such as e-health, e-government, e-learning and e-business.

“As more advanced technologies come forward, it inevitably creates equality across society,” says Yanikomeroglu.

A key to the fifth generation network success lies in what Yanikomeroglu has termed ‘relay technology’ that allows users to utilize the wireless signals from each other rather than from a core base station. It’s a more economical solution that doesn’t result in loss of signal strength, and it appeals to manufacturers because their products will work efficiently for most users, regardless of location.

“As a researcher, it’s rewarding to know people will be interested in your work,”
says Rashtchi of the project. “It’s definitely a privilege to be able to work on one of the most current issues in the world right now.”

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