Research & Innovation

Stevens Ph.D. Student Honored for Software Controlled Wireless Radio System for Public Safety Applications in 2013 SDR Design Challenge

The Wireless Innovation Forum, a non-profit international industry association dedicated to driving the future of radio communications and systems worldwide, recently announced Stevens as the third-place winner of the 2013 SDR Design Challenge, a competition for student-designed innovations related to software designed radio.

Team Attila – led by computer engineering doctoral student Vidya Sagar and advised by Stevens faculty members Dr. R. Chandramouli and Dr. K. P. Subbalakshmi – was honored for its project, “Application QoS Aware Cognitive Wireless Networking.” 

The project proposes a software controlled radio system that uses intelligent algorithms to integrate different wireless networks on mobile devices, providing ubiquitous connectivity, interoperable communications, reliable mobile video streaming, immediate deployment and seamless mobility. These features are requirements for mobile applications used by public safety officials and first responders, who cannot afford to lose their connection in an emergency.

 “The goal of the project is to improve quality of services such as connectivity, web browsing and videos offered by various applications on modern wireless devices,” said Sagar. “These devices are able to connect to more than one network, such as Verizon or Comcast Wifi, but which network is best to use for which application, such as Skype or YouTube, is an open question.”

Team Attila built a “cognitive” radio system over such multi-radio devices which makes decisions about network resources by analyzing application layer QoS requirements and network link quality. The system intelligently scans the available networks and identifies which one is best to transmit and receive data. If a network is compromised, it then switches to the next open network instantly without the user losing the connection to his or her application.

“We demonstrated our system’s dual capability to adapt against various network conditions, such as jamming and link failure, and also to manage radio resources to improve the quality of service for applications such as video,” Sagar said. “Our technology can efficiently provide high quality video streaming and web connectivity even in poor or dynamically changing wireless links, which can be ideally used in first responder networks and telemedicine.”

The project stems from SpiderRadio, a wireless technology startup co-founded by Chandramouli and Subbalakshmi which markets cognitive radio technologies which can sense the radio spectrum, detect primary users or interference, and switch channels to maintain dynamic spectrum access. 

“The team is now focused on improving the cognitive engine by optimizing it towards better power management and security,” said Sagar.

The 2013 SDR Design Challenge challenged six teams working a broad range of project topics related to software defined radio to compete for prizes. The competition took place at Virginia Tech on Wednesday, May 29, 2013, during the annual Wireless @ Virginia Tech Symposium and Wireless Summer School in Blacksburg, VA. Judges for the event included Ben Hilburn from Ettus Research, James Neel of Cognitive Radio Technologies and Richard Taylor of Harris Corp.