The First IEEE Worshop on Wireless LANS: Preface

In 1979, Gfeller and Bapst published a paper in the IEEE Proceedings reporting an experimental wireless local area network using diffused infrared communications. Shortly thereafter, in 1980, Ferrert reported on an experimental application of a single code spread spectrum radio for wireless terminal communications in the IEEE National Telecommunications Conference. In 1984, a comparison between Infrared and CDMA spread spectrum communications for wireless office information networks was published by the author in IEEE Computer Networking Symposium which appeared later in the IEEE Communication Society Magazine. In May 1985, the efforts of M. Marcus led the FCC to announce experimental ISM bands for commercial application of spread spectrum technology. Later on, M. Kavehrad reported on an experimental wireless PBX system using code division multiple access. These efforts prompted significant industrial activities in the development of anew generation of wireless local area networks and it updated several old discussion in the portable and mobile radio industry.

The first generation of wireless data modems was developed in the early 1980's by amateur communication groups. They added a voice band data communication modem, with data rates below 9600 bps, to an existing short distance radio system such as a walkie talkie. The second generation of wireless modems was developed immediately after the FCC announcement in the experimental bands for non-military use of the spread spectrum technology. These modems provided data rates on the order of hundreds of Kbps. The third generation of wireless modem now aims at compatibility with the existing LANs with data rates on the order of Mbps. Currently, several companies are developing the third generation products with data rates above 1 Mbps and a couple of products have already been announced.

This workshop addresses issues associated with wireless local area networks. Its aim is to increase the participants' awareness of the current and future direction in the area and to create an interaction between researchers, leading industry developers and end users. The workshop begins with tutorials on the first day and continues on the second day with invited lectures by leading researchers in academia and industry.

The workshop is scheduled to follow the meeting of the IEEE 802.11 Wireless Access Methods and Physical Layer Standardization Committee for wireless local area networks, held from May 6 to May 9 at Worcester, Mass. The tutorial is designed for researchers, design engineers, computer scientists, students, and users who are interested in getting a general overview of technical aspects of wireless indoor radio networks. It will prepare the general audience for the lectures and discussions on the second day. The main lecture in the tutorial will cover principles of wireless indoor communications. This will be followed by three short tutorials on implementation issues. At the end of this day, a group of network managers will hold a panel discussion on the applications and issues regarding wireless LANs in an end user environment.

The invited lectures will start with an overview of wireless local networks and the existing regulations and standards.  The following sessions concern measurement and modeling of the indoor radio and optical propagations, spread spectrum application, and other emerging technologies.  At the end of the second day, the workshop features a panel discussion on the future direction of wireless technology.

Prof. Kaveh Pahlavan
Department of Electrical Engineering
Worcester Polytechnic Institute