This chapter introduces digital wireless communications systems and the spectrum landscape.
Many textbooks begin with a good historical overview of wireless communications andexcellent insights (see for instance[3
, 5, 7]), and we will not attempt to reproduce them; let
us simply summarize in a few statements the major innovations in wireless system.
Early smoke signals and carrier pigeons may of course be seen as a form of wirelesscommunications, but offer little modern interst. Early coding schemes can be attributed tothe british scientist Robert Hooke for inventing large mobile panels coding the letters of thealphabet (1684). More elaborate schemes appear in the late 18th century, including thenoteworthy optical telegraph invented by the French physicist Claude Chappe (1791);these large signaling towers transmitted coded words (rather than letters) over longdistances, and were developed in the following years into a large network over major citiesin France and surrounding countries. This precursor to radio communications sufferedhowever from outages due to fog or rain, and in a sense is still rather reminiscent of current microwave, millimeter-wave, or infrared radio links.True radio communications were of course based on the work of Maxwell and theexperiments of Hertz. The first use of radio to transmit coded information was probably
proposed by Tesla in the 1880’s, and the first radio communication systems were
described in his papers around 1991. Nearly simultaneously, Marconi patented thetelegraph and demonstrated to the world the usefulness of mobile communications withships crossing the English Channel. Interestingly the infancy of radio communicationsalready emphasizes the importance of some important points: 1) certain radio frequenciesovercome line of site obstructions and weather impediments, 2) mobility is the mainapplication, 3) patent protection is paramount.The next major advances in radio systems were developed during and after world wartwo, and benefitted from significant research around radar and remote sensing.S
ubsequently, different applications flourished: TV broadcasting in the 1940’s probably has
the merit of introducing the first standardization of communications technology, leading tomajor television standards, (NTSC Color Standard in 1953, and recently ATSC DigitalStandard in 2009). Standards have become very important in all aspects of wirelesscommunications, and will be analyzed in more details further.