Imagining Radio: Mental Models of Wireless Communication

New Frontiers in Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks, 2nd IEEE International Symposium on 17-20 April 2007, pp. 372 - 380, 2007

9 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2008

See all articles by Jean Pierre De Vries

Jean Pierre De Vries

University of Colorado at Boulder Law School - Silicon Flatirons Center

Date Written: April 17, 2007

Abstract

Policy discussions about wireless communication are usually framed in terms of spectrum, signals, and radios. Spectrum is sometimes conceptualized as a space, and sometimes as a resource; sometimes those two are combined into a spatial resource - land. There are two common mental models for wireless signals: as objects moving through space, or as sounds, particularly speech. Radios are modeled as people. The spectrum/signals/radios approach is not the only way to model spectrum; a Wireless as Internet model is emerging. Mismatches between mental models and the underlying phenomena can inspire faulty intuitions. I explore the policy implications of mental models for wireless communication by analyzing three cases: the Open Spectrum movement, the FCC's Interference Temperature rule-making, and the Cognitive Radio research program. Powerful metaphors like cognitive radio carry the risk of generating unrealistic expectations and unwarranted reactions among policy makers, and may mislead researchers by conditioning their assumptions and interpretations in unjustified ways.

Keywords: communications policy, cognitive radio, interference temperature, metaphor, policy implication of mental models

JEL Classification: K23, L96, O33

Suggested Citation

De Vries, Jean Pierre, Imagining Radio: Mental Models of Wireless Communication (April 17, 2007). New Frontiers in Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks, 2nd IEEE International Symposium on 17-20 April 2007, pp. 372 - 380, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=965477

Jean Pierre De Vries (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder Law School - Silicon Flatirons Center ( email )

1070 Edinboro Drive
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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