Engineering professor becomes part of SMART Hub to improve wireless spectrum accessibility

Alireza Vahid contributes new transmission and reception data options


Associate Professor Alireza Vahid is part of the Spectrum Management with Adaptive and Reconfigurable Technology Hub.

The wireless spectrum has become very crowded real estate, and work is underway through a new technology research center to improve spectrum access, co-existence, and security. Addressing these challenges will require new technology applications and resources, said Alireza Vahid of Rochester Institute of Technology.

Vahid is one of the university representatives on the Spectrum Management with Adaptive and Reconfigurable Technology (SMART) Hub, an industry-academic partnership based at Baylor University. With a background in understanding wireless data communication, his collaborative work will involve building system algorithms to coordinate the multi-faceted transmission demands of wireless networks.

“The center is the start of a journey that brings new opportunities to improve the resource that we all use and share in some way,” said Vahid, an associate professor of electrical engineering in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering.

Formally launched early this year, the SMART Hub is led by Charles Baylis, a professor of electrical and computer engineering in Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science. SMART Hub consists of 17 institutions contributing expertise in communication systems, radar, circuits, spectrum security, economics, and policy. Demands on the overall system are a result of many more commercial, defense, and general users. Other factors include the need to manage general use with strategic applications.

“In certain frequencies, more than one application may need to co-exist with others introducing additional challenges. There are many factors to be considered when using the radio spectrum today and in the future such as spectrum efficiency, security, privacy, and co-existence,” said Vahid, who is an expert in wireless communications systems and networking as well as modern data storage technologies. 

“These problems are not new,” he said. “We have known of these for decades, but it was not as pronounced a problem as it is today with the 5G and 6G networks, and the increased demands across a shared network.”

Leading wireless spectrum users such as the Army have specific needs; others need adaptable resources to support different applications and frequencies.

“How much sensing capability is needed? How many users can be served? In terms of policy, data limits or access, what can we manage and what is the tradeoff between this and privacy concerns?” he asked.

Both military and corporate organizations recognize the dwindling spectrum space will soon have an impact on users. The need has led researchers to pursue new approaches to spectrum communication, which will be the focus of SMART Hub.

“We will be working on groundbreaking technology that will revolutionize how we use the spectrum,” Baylis stated in a recent SMART Hub release. “Rather than fixed systems that use the same frequency and stay there, we’re designing systems that can adapt to their surroundings and determine how to successfully transmit and receive. It’s a true paradigm shift that requires the type of collaboration we will have in SMART Hub.”

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