NYU Wireless' Rappaport is savoring the Big Apple

Tammy Parker, FierceWirelessTech

Nearly 41 years ago, Motorola's Marty Cooper made the first-ever cellular phone call while walking in midtown Manhattan. Four decades later, NYU Wireless aims to ensure New York's continuing role on the wireless industry's cutting edge.

NYU Wireless, as of Jan. 1 part of the newly formed NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, is headed by wireless researcher, educator and entrepreneur Ted Rappaport. NYU Wireless' main research thrusts target wireless communications and signal processing; Big Data, algorithm development and related topics such as compressed sensing; and medical applications for wireless.

Talking recently with Rappaport helped me appreciate how closely aligned these seemingly disparate research tracks are. For example, compressed sensing can be used in medical radiology to improve the time it takes to get an MRI image, but it also offers an exciting signal processing technique for use in future wireless networks.

"If you look at the adaptive arrays of the future, the multi-path energy is pretty sparse. Compressed sensing will be a part of algorithms to allow the beams to find where to point to when you're trying to make a cell phone call in the millimeter-wave future," Rappaport explained.

That "millimeter-wave future" is also a big part of NYU Wireless' research agenda. NYU Wireless students recently completed a unique millimeter-wave propagation database of measurements made throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Indeed, Rappaport told me New York's "real-world urban jungle" provides a great setting for wireless research and experimentation. Of course, he had to add, "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere."

Check out this special On the Hot Seat Feature for more insights from Rappaport regarding NYU Wireless, millimeter-wave spectrum and 5G.--Tammy