OFDM Technology Selected for Real-Time Road Safety and Traffic Management Applications Standard

IEEE 802.11a Variant Paves the Way for High-Speed Mobile Data Communications

The OFDM Forum, an association organized to promote a single worldwide OFDM standard for high-speed wireless communications, today endorsed the Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) 5.9 GHz Standards Writing Group's technology selection to provide the interoperability for DSRC Public Safety-based applications.

A variant of the IEEE 802.11a standard, this roadside application proposal, known as 802.11a/RA, uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) in its next generation wireless communication networks.

As a sub-group of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the DSRC 5.9 GHz Standards Writing Group was responsible for testing, evaluating, and selecting a proposal to address broadband wireless distribution for use in real-time road safety and traffic management applications, as well as a variety of commercial and private traveler services. There are several early-adopter applications for 802.11a/RA, including automatic toll payment, vehicle/bus probes, tractor-trailer interface, truck data log polling, route specific traffic advisories, and safety vehicle warning systems.

"The use of OFDM technology for the ITS and Telematics industries opens the doors to a new generation of interoperable wireless ITS communications devices," said Ramez Gerges, TCFI principal engineer. "This decision will allow the development of standard-based products specifically designed for the high-speed mobile data communications requirements for road access."

The OFDM Forum's Broadband Mobile Wireless Working Group submitted the initial OFDM technology-based proposal to the DSRC committee last November. The final vote, held on August 24, 2001 in El Segundo, California, went 20-2 in favor of 802.11a/RA. Both the ASTM subcommittee and the Standards Writing Group will meet in Albany, New York, on September 13 and 14, to develop an action standard.

The OFDM Forum would like to thank its member companies who played an active role in generating this proposal, including Intersil, Caltrans' Testbed Center for Interoperability (TCFI) at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), Georgia Institute of Technology, and University of California, Berkeley (PATH).

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