A practical approach to cellular communications standards education
Document typeConference report
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
Rights accessOpen Access
The cellular communications industry is steadily growing and expanding to solve the needs of governments, businesses and communities. Standards are fundamental to enable cooperation while promoting competition. The companies involved contribute and agree on appropriate technical specifications to ensure diversity, compatibility and facilitate worldwide commercial deployment and evolution. The specifications of cellular communications standards are extensive, complex and intentionally incomplete to spur innovation and differentiation. This makes standards education a difficult endeavor, but it is highly demanded by the wireless industry. This paper describes a practical approach to teaching cellular communications standards. Our methodology leverages software-defined radio technology and uses the abstraction layer and operating environment (ALOE) to provide a practical learning environment that facilitates developing many of the needed technical and soft skills without the inherent difficulty and cost associated with radio frequency components and regulation. We define six learning stages that assimilate the standardization process and identify key learning objectives for each. We discuss our experiences when employing the proposed methodology at Barcelona Tech in Spain, compare the approach with an equivalent class at Virginia Tech in the US and make the following observations: (1) The complexity of standards need to be abstracted and presented in a form suitable for a given class. (2) Educating about cellular communications standards is most effective when students are immersed in the process. (3) Hands-on activities need careful preparation and close guidance.
CitationMarojevic, V., Gelonch, A.J., Reed, J. A practical approach to cellular communications standards education. A: ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition. "2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition". American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), 2018, p. 1-18.