June 24, 2024

Radio Revolution

Smart radios are a sleeper technology. They’re being developed right now; they’ll have a huge impact; but they’re not getting anywhere near the attention they deserve.

Smart radios rely on computer processing power, rather than simple analog circuits, to extract information from the electromagnetic spectrum. This simple idea has profound implications for wireless communication, implications that we are only just beginning to understand.

Radio Revolution” is a new paper by Kevin Werbach, published by the New America Foundation and Public Knowledge. It’s the best introduction I’ve seen, for a nontechnical or semitechnical audience, to smart radios and their implications.

So far, this area is one of the real success stories for the U.S. government’s technology policy. The FCC seems to “get it” and is moving in the right direction, although cautiously.


  1. The FCC has issued a new NPRM on smart radios. There’s a lot of extremely important material in there.

  2. I believe GNU Radio and other software-defined radio can be a key method of attacking digital rights mandates – see my blog post of a little while ago:

    Broadcast Flag – fighting it with Open Source

  3. Salon posted an article on GNU Radio, a free SDR project, a few years back.