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The Democratisation of Radio

Radio is going open source in a big way.

The future of radio hardware is an antenna connected to a GPIO pin on your computer. Open source and ubiquitous MIPS will soon give you the capability to transmit and receive any waveform at any frequency. From DC to daylight. You will no longer be locked into proprietary chip sets and waveforms specified by closed source vendors and standards committees. Regulatory authorities will be facing huge challenges.

Until recently, if you needed radio, you needed inflexible and expensive hardware. Or a chip set, dominated by "closed" vendors who try very hard to limit your open source "rights" to hack. As the amount of MIPs available to us relentlessly increases, this is all changing. Radio hardware is evaporating into software. From end user applications, right down to the physical layer. This software can be open, and so inexpensive that it will be almost "free" as in beer.

Now we own the stack. This talk will explain why this is a good thing for you, open source and the world. We will explore trends in Software Defined Radio, and look where we are going in the future.

This talk will also look at the finite nature of radio spectrum, how it is regulated today, and why this model is about to be disrupted in the same way that "downloads" have disrupted the entertainment industry.

David Rowe

David Rowe has 25 years experience in the development of DSP-based telephony and sat-com hardware/software. David has a wide mix of skills including software, hardware, project and business management, and a PhD in DSP theory. In 1968 at age 9 months he was crawling towards power points, and it’s been all downhill since then. He received his first Amateur Radio license at age 13, and in the early 1980’s his first Z-80 based computer. In 2006 he quit an executive position in the satellite communications industry to become a full time open source developer. Since then David has worked on open hardware and software projects in VOIP, developing world communications (villagetelco.org), echo cancellation, speech compression, and digital voice over HF radio. David's other interests include his popular blog (rowetel.com), Electric Vehicles, travel, the Skepticism (critical thinking) movement, Amateur Radio, and swanning around Adelaide on his bike drinking lattes. David has been a popular speaker and red wine drinker at every lca.conf.au since 2008, and in 2012 his presentation on Codec 2 was voted best of conference.