RAWCON ’99 Conference Report

The 1999 IEEE Radio and Wireless conference (RAWCON ’99) was held in Denver, CO August 1–4, and proved to be a great success. This conference has evolved over the past few years into a very solid technical meeting, which emphasizes the interdisciplinary understanding of technologies for wireless applications. Approximately 300 attendees from 22 countries participated in an outstanding technical program comprising a keynote address, 45 oral presentations, 29 poster presentations, two panel sessions and two tutorial workshops as well as a small exhibition.

Dale Hatfield, head of the Office of Engineering and Technology at the US Federal Communications Commission, delivered a keynote address entitled “The Regulatory Challenges of New Wireless Technologies: Ultrawideband and Software Defined Radios.” His presentation also addressed the importance of wireless communications, particularly fixed wireless access, in realizing the pro-competitive, deregulatory and universal service goals of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

In keeping with its philosophy of integrating the technical disciplines that compose wireless communications, RAWCON again offered single-track sessions starting at the system level and working down to the component level. At the system level, several papers dealt with the many factors that affect the number of users a system can serve. These factors range from network management and channel allocation to adaptive modulation, smart antennas and propagation conditions. At the component level, many design choices in amplifiers, RFICs, modems and passive components have system-level cost and performance impact that can be understood only by a thoroughly interdisciplinary approach. While most of the presentations were oral, the program also included two highly interactive evening poster sessions with receptions located in the exhibition area. A number of authors selected the poster format to stimulate audience feedback about the presentation of their work.

A broadband wireless access operator’s forum was held on Monday evening with participation by three key technical executives from the fixed broadband wireless access industry. Peter Soltesz, Sr., director of advanced technologies, WinStar Communications; Lou Olsen, director of technology development, Teligent Inc.; and Ray Nettleton, chief technology officer, Formus Communications Inc. addressed important technical challenges faced by the industry, with an emphasis on equipment requirements. There was also a Tuesday evening panel session on wireless standardization conducted by six leaders of international standardization projects, which explored the broad issues of this frequently confusing area of commercial activity.

Rounding out the technical meeting were two half-day tutorial workshops. Sunday afternoon’s workshop on smart antenna technology was led by Glenn Golden of Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, while Monday morning’s workshop on wireless personal area networks including Bluetooth and HomeRF was led by Dr. Robert F. Heile of the GTE Technology Organization. Both workshops were well attended and well received.

The 312-page proceedings of RAWCON ’99 have been published and are currently available from the IEEE service center at www.rawcon.org/publications.html. Additional information, including specific presentations, can be accessed at www.rawcon.org.

RAWCON will be held again in Denver in 2000, but the dates have changed to September 10–13 in order to avoid the peak holiday and airfare seasons. The RAWCON 2000 advance call for papers is available now at www.rawcon.org/acfp2000.html. 

Microwave Journal Staff