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Software-Defined Radio Technologies for Criminal Justice and Public Safety Communications

NlJ awards Laneman and ND RadioWare Group $550,000 to bring software-defined and cognitive radio technologies closer to practical application for public safety communications.

Investigator(s):  J. Nicholas Laneman

Sponsor:  National Institute of Justice

Funding:  $550,000

Timeframe:  9/1/06 to 9/30/11

Abstract:  This project was performed by investigators in the RadioWare Group at the University of Notre Dame to bring software-defined and cognitive radio technologies closer to practical application for public safety communications. In particular, the effort centered on making commercially available, open-source hardware and software tools more suitable for rapid prototyping of public safety waveforms and applications. The project involved three main focus areas:

  • Smaller form factor, portable, and low-cost SDR hardware suitable for rapid prototyping
  • Waveform and application software for interoperable voice and data communications
  • Algorithms and protocols for cognitive radio and dynamic spectrum access

Significant progress has been made in each of these focus areas, to the point that the Notre Dame team has the expertise and a flexible platform on which to rapidly prototype new communication waveforms, cognitive frequency and waveform selection, automatic waveform identification and network bridging, and application user interfaces. Progress was reviewed three to four times per year by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) CommTech Program Managers and Technology Working Group (TWG) members, through program meetings and semi-annual progress reports. The project has led to a number of spinoff grants and contracts and broad dissemination of the research results through top-tier publications and a visible project website.