Internet users increasingly chafe at being tethered to the
end of a wire. They are looking for ways to take the Internet with
them wherever they go and access it whenever they want, the way
millions of them carry cellular phones for wireless voice communications. In addition, as wireless sensors (RFID's, video cameras, controllers and actuators) are embedded into the physical world, future mobile data devices will provide new location- and content-aware services very different from today's email and web applications.
At WINLAB, we believe that a systems approach is required for understanding the technical challenges and opportunities associated with the future evolution of the mobile Internet. It is observed that wireless systems are rapidly migrating from planned centralized architectures to distributed ad-hoc structures involving a multiplicity of radio technologies (see figure below). The future system can be thought of as a "network of wireless networks" seamlessly interconnected to the wired Internet. The emerging heterogeneous ad-hoc wireless network requires a number of new enabling technologies including adaptive software-defined radios, methods for spectrum coordination, protocols for self-organizing networks, and software techniques for location- and context-aware service creation. More details on some of the solutions under consideration at WINLAB can be found under research areas and focus projects .
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