February 3rd, 2010

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Link Harvest: Impact of MIMO and Beamforming on 5 GHz spectrum


Interesting. The author suggests that open spectrum at 5 GHz can be made much more useful by using MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) signal processing and beamforming rather than omnidirectional transmission.

It's been known for some time that "smart antennas" could massively improve performance of transmitter/receiver stations. Indeed, back several years ago, the FCC modified the rules for unlicensed devices to take this into account. As the author is plugged into the industry, I'm not sure if this suggests a wave of new devices or simply a reaction to the current "spectrum crisis" talk and the focus on opening new spectrum for CMRS (what normal people know as cell phone service).

Wireless policy in the US has a huge blind spot in that it is very heavily CMRS focused. Well, with something like 200 million devices in use in a multibillion dollar industry, that's understandable. But a lot of growing applications, especially machine to machine (M2M), get shafted as a result. Not sure if the improvements in MIMO and beamforming have significant policy implications yet, but need to flag for further monitoring.
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Assisted Suicide, My Perspective On The Jewish Perspective

I have seen a number of friends site to Terry Prachett's excellent piece in favor of legalizing assisted suicide. It inspires in this Orthodox Jewish public policy wonks two responses. The first is a policy wonk's perspective on what the impact of legalizing assisted suicide would do. I am not so blase as Prachett that we would not see a shift in attitude on when to assist/encourage the choice for suicide among the vulnerable. I have a low and suspicious nature, and am aware of how dreadfully fast social attitudes can change. I agree that there is no evidence to support my suspicion from those states that permit assisted suicide, so I would not block legislation on that score. But I have seen how the helpless are treated in our current system when they have no family or advocate to protect them, and it does not stretch my imagination so much to imagine how a few short years can transform the idea of death with dignity to a justification for "encouraging" folks totally dependent on expensive care that they'd be much better off in a "happier place."

But again, as any system can be abused, I do not consider this suspicion grounds to base policy. I merely note that it cannot casually be dismissed as a "boogeyman," and that any system of assisted suicide must have some proper protection to eliminate the likelihood of abuse.

My second reaction is a reflection of a religious nature: why God does not permit suicide as understood in the traditional Jewish framework, as understood by me.
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