Listen:

Download as MP3

The University of Arizona is part of a group receiving more than $5.5 million to develop the next generation of wireless communication.

The Broadband Wireless Access and Applications Center aims to create the fifth generation of wireless data service. The company hopes to increase the amount of data that can flow over their part of the electro-magnetic spectrum.

As more devices use wireless communication, the part of the electro-magnetic spectrum they use gets more clogged.

The center’s goal is to ease the clog in wireless’ next generation. They've compared the situation to traffic.

“If we start demanding that we double the traffic on roads every year, that’s a big crunch. How are we going to handle that?," said Tamal Bose, electrical and computer engineering professor at the UA. “The roads are built up, and we have nowhere else to build. So we have two solutions: One is to make the lanes narrower and the cars smaller so we can fit more cars; the other is we increase the speed limit.”

Researchers aim to do both; they are shrinking the size of the wave and increasing the speed the data travels along that wave.

They have also come up with a third solution: finding a way to utilize less-used parts of the spectrum as well, similar to people taking Grant Road when they know Speedway Boulevard has a traffic jam.

The company will work on this for, approximately, the next five years with a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation and another $4 million in investment money from the wireless communication industry.