Cognitive Radio Hype?

Posted in artificial intelligence at 10:56 am by JamesNeel

In this post, Keith attempts to place cognitive radio on Gartner’s Hype Cycle and notes that SDR is emerging from the “Hype Trough” with actually useful SDR products now coming to market and posits that cognitive radio is near the peak of inflated expectations as evidenced by the large number of CR conferences.

If it’s not too indulgent, I’ll both agree and disagree with Keith.

If you consider cognitive radio to be the “magic black box” that will solve all of wireless networking problems (snicker, but that’s not an uncommon sentiment and one which I think is consistent with an assumption of embedding true AI into a radio), cognitive radio will most definitely follow Gartner’s cycle. It’ll be years before we have the cheap computational power and software processes necessary to realize the required artificial intelligence. In the mean time, cognitive radio will be dramatically overhyped, which when the hype is not quickly realized, make most people pessimists on the technology which will induce a hype trough. Eventually, however, AI will be embeded in your radio (likely shortly after the Singularity) and the stages of Gartner’s hype cycle will be complete.

However, if you consider cognitive radio to be a shift in the wireless networking design process to one that allows design decisions to be made by “intelligent” devices post-deployment, then I don’t think Gartner’s cycle will apply. The emergence of actual SDR noted by Keith will (and in some cases is) dramatically shorten the transition time from algorithm conception to deployment. Thus when researchers conceive of an intelligent algorithm consistent with the cognitive radio design paradigm, we’ll be able to almost immediately transition it to productive realizations. Of course the better coupled an organization’s algorithm design and testing processes are with its deployment processes, the faster the transition from concept to productive implementation will be.

For example, consider Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) which is certainly a long ways from a realization of cognitive radio the magic black box, but is an example of the cognitive radio design paradigm. DSA (while we’re still researching it!) is already being standardized in 802.22, 802.11h,y, and 802.16h. Likewise other realizations of the cognitive radio design paradigm (edge security, intelligent RRM, cognitive routing…) should also move so quickly from conception to implementation that neither the hype peak nor the hype trough will have time to build prior to productive deployments.

So, I’ll agree with Keith that cognitive radio as ”artificial intelligence embedded in a radio” will most definitely follow Gartner’s hype cycle. However, there’s another deployment path for cognitive radio wherein envisioned cognitive radio capabilities are deployed as a series of intelligent algorithms incorporated into radios. The transition time for these algorithms will be much shorter because the goals are much more manageable. Further, other trends in the wireless world (such as the emergence of SDR from the hype trough) will so shorten the transition period that the hype bubble (peak and trough) will not have time to build prior to deployment.

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