Policies of Wireless Systems

Location: Pittsburgh

Semester Offered: Spring

Cross listed Courses:

Course Number Department Units
18-650 Electrical and Computer Engineering 12
19-403 Engineering and Public Policy 12
19-713 Engineering and Public Policy 12
95-824 Heinz College 12

This course will address public policy issues related to wireless systems. It investigates policies related to a wide variety of emerging wireless systems and technologies, including current and next-generation cellular systems, wifi and white space devices, emerging methods of accessing spectrum, communications systems for emergency responders (firefighters, police, emergency medical services), current and next-generation television, and satellite communications. This can include the government role in facilitating the creation of infrastructure, in advancing competition among broadcasters and communications service providers, in using scarce spectrum efficiently, in promoting public safety and homeland security, and in protecting privacy and security. Because these are inherently interdisciplinary issues, the course will include detailed discussions of technology, economics, and law, with no prerequisites in any of these areas.



Class format

Lecture and project-based

Home department


Target audience

ECE, EPP, and Heinz MS/Ph.D. students.

Background required


Learning objectives

  • Learn about today's and tomorrow's most pressing wireless policy controversies, including spectrum management, and the policies that govern different wireless systems. These wireless systems include next-generation cellular, next-generation broadcasting, personal/local communications (e.g. Wi-Fi), and wireless systems for emergency and disaster response (e.g. firefighters).
  • Gain an understanding of how wireless policy affects technology choices, and how wireless technology affects policy choices.
  • Learn how wireless policy is shaped by different actors, including equipment makers, the United Nations, the Federal Communications Commission, Congress, technical standards bodies, and more.

Faculty and instructors who have taught this course in the past

Jon Peha