Mitigating the Spectrum Crisis in Military Flight-Test Systems

Event Date: April 3, 2014
Speaker: Professor Erik Perrins
Speaker Affiliation: University of Kansas
Sponsor: Prospective ECE faculty candidate
Time: 10:00am
Location: MSEE 239
Contact Name: Professor David Love
Contact Phone: 765-496-6797
Contact Email:

A decades-long spectrum crunch on flight-test ranges—such as Edwards Air Force Base—has forced a migration to new frequency bands and has spurred research on many wireless communications topics. We begin with a survey of the research areas involved, the funding sources, and future research topics. This is followed by an in-depth presentation of a selected project: a spectrumefficient burst-mode synchronization scheme for a packet-based airborne network.

The problem of “synchronization” between a transmitter and a receiver can be compared to the way in which a person “synchronizes” themselves with a printed page. The reader must first orient the page correctly—using known markings such as the text itself as a guide—before reading can commence. Some of the page is “wasted” on blank spaces and punctuation, but these are necessary in order to communicate clearly. In a similar fashion, the receiver must lock onto a burst transmission and orient it correctly—using a known data message called a “preamble.” Because the preamble “wastes” spectrum that could otherwise be used for the message, it is of interest for the preamble to be as short as possible. We present the two main findings of our research, which are (1) the optimal synchronization preamble, and (2) novel receiver algorithms that are able to acquire this preamble with asymptotically optimal accuracy. These results have broader applicability to low-complexity, low-power settings such as sensor networks, green communications, and machine-to-machine communications.

Erik Perrins is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at the University of Kansas, where he has been since 2005. He received his Ph.D. degree in 2005 from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. Prior to his Ph.D. work, from 1998-2004, he was with Motorola, Inc. in Schaumburg, IL, where he was engaged in research on land mobile radio products. He is also active as an industry consultant on problems such as reduced-complexity receiver design and receiver synchronization. His current research interests include digital communication theory, spectrum efficiency, synchronization, channel coding, energy efficient communications, power line communications, and complexity reduction in receivers. He is currently serving as an Area Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Communications, and is currently the secretary of the Communication Theory Technical Committee within the IEEE Communications Society.