Disruptive approach to software defined radio

Disruptive approach to software defined radio

Bangalore: This was my first Mobile Monday (MoMo) meet and it was great to meet established and budding entrepreneurs in the mobile and wireless space.

I had heard about Pradeep Malhotra’s Vanu Inc. and the work they do with software defined radio (SDR). The interesting aspect of this software is that it runs on a general-purpose processor rather than on digital signal processing technology. This makes Vanu’s approach disruptive. Vanu’s advantage is that as processors get better and faster, the same implementation can be ported with little difficulty to leverage on the latest advancements.

SDR is at present not practical on a mobile but Vanu sees this as a future goal. Current technology requires that the radio frequency front-end be duplicated for different access standards. The business case for Vanu is also not obvious at present but there is much promise in an evolving market with multiple standards. I think there are still many challenges ahead for Vanu.

As for the demo of QuillPad by Tachyon Technologies, I know how difficult it is to type Indian characters using conventional keyboards and even more so on the mobile. Even Google’s Indic Transliteration does not live up to user expectations. Tachyon’s approach of using a trained data set of common patterns is innovative. The input mechanism is more user-friendly. Before coming to this meeting, I tried the online QuillPad for Tamil. The product is by no means done and dusted. For example, try typing “Thekkady". It makes the same mistakes as Google. Hopefully, Tachyon will win the race.

Arvind Padmanabhan is an independent senior telecom consultant in the wireless domain with 10 years of industry experience.