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Research A Boost For Digital Data

Caption: Katharine Holdsworth: "Wireless data transmission is becoming the new international trend in progressing towards a 'knowledge economy' and advancing the e-commerce industry."

From the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology For immediate release


Research by former Canterbury University student Katharine Holdsworth is paving the way for enhanced digital wireless communications around the world.

Dr Holdsworth looked at how she could improve methods of digital wireless transmission for Lower Hutt company DMC Stratex Networks. Her research has provided the firm with a better understanding of how digital data is transmitted and will lead eventually to smarter coding, with significant implications for the Internet.

Dr Holdsworth's project was supported by the Graduates in Industry Fellowship (GRIF) scheme of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. GRIF students do research projects with companies for their degrees. In her case it was for a PhD. Originally, from Gisborne, she is a graduate of the Electrical and Electronic Engineering School of the University of Canterbury.

"In wireless systems, the communications channel, or bandwidth, is essentially like a pipe through which you are trying to squeeze as much data as possible," says DMC's vice president of research and development, Royce Pullman.

"Using wider pipes is not necessarily the answer because it uses more of the radio spectrum, which is now a scarce and increasingly valuable resource.. The key to getting increasing amounts of information down that pipe lies in better coding and equalisation." Dr Holdsworth says communication technology is advancing phenomenally, "and has become an extremely important field of research and development".

"Originally communication was limited to a now-unacceptable quality of voice over an analogue telephone or radio network," she says. "But digital communication is superseding analogue, with overwhelming technological and economic advantages. Digital networks now successfully transmit high-integrity digital information as computer-generated and other forms of digitised data, such as audio and video." Demand is growing as digital transmission improves, with implications for the Internet because more data can be transmitted by wireless.

Dr Pullman says modulation,coding and equalisation are techniques that are now commonly used to improve the performance of digital microwave systems, but they are usually applied independently.

"What is unique about Katharine's work is that she has shown that further improvements can be gained by combining these techniques in a co-ordinated way," he says.

Dr Holdsworth says the growth in digital communication technology has benefited many communities.

"It has enabled them to use affordable, useful and valuable communication tools," she says. "Wireless data transmission is becoming the new international trend in progressing towards a 'knowledge economy' and advancing the e-commerce industry.

"Fixed-access wireless systems operating alone or with others will play a vital role in this trend and are being viewed as a viable means of providing broadband access to homes and businesses." But more advances in signal processing, modulation, coding and radio-frequency technologies will be needed, she says.


Contact: * Dr Katharine Holdsworth. E-mail: * Dr Royce Pullman, vice-president of research and development, DMC Stratex Networks, 24 Bridge St, Lower Hutt. Ph: (04) 569-2170. E-mail: * Nigel Metge, Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (Auckland Office), (09) 912-6730, or 021 454-095.


Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525.


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