What will lead future traffic increase? (a thought from IEEE PIMRC 2011)

The 22nd IEEE PIMRC conference was held in Toronto, Canada on 11th-14th September 2011. PIMRC is one of the large and well-established conferences in wireless communications area. I remember that ten technical sessions were run in parallell in the PIMRC in 2010. This year, it was thirteen sessions running in parallel! It is very difficult to choose which session to attend as the number of choices increses, which is a drawback of such a big conference. On the other hand, plenary and keynote talks tend to be good in large conferences, which was the case in PIMRC 2011 as well.

While I was listening to plenary talks given by two speakers with computer science (CS) background (Victor Bahl at Microsoft research and Henry Tirri at Nokia research), an interesting question came to me: how advancement in computer science (CS) will affect wireless communications research?

Let me explain it more in detail. Future wireless architecture will be very much dependent on the requirements of end users, i.e. what kind of application the users will use. Though we are talking about 1000-fold increse in wireless traffic in the coming ten years, I don’t have a clear idea what will contribute to the vast amount of traffic. Looking back, it have been new applications offered by Internet companies (e.g. Apple and Google) that led to radical changes in traffic demand. I can guess that future demand in wireless networks will be hugely affected by applications created in a few years.

Internet companies envisage cloud computing, virtual reality, and many others. Knowing successful future applications will help wireless researchers design future wireless architecutre. We can even go further by jointly designing wireless systems and applications for better user experience with lower cost. Isn’t it worth trying?

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