Standard Article

Communication Processors for Wireless Systems

  1. Sridhar Rajagopal1,
  2. Joseph R. Cavallaro2

Published Online: 13 JUN 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470050118.ecse065

Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering

Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering

How to Cite

Rajagopal, S. and Cavallaro, J. R. 2008. Communication Processors for Wireless Systems. Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering. 1–11.

Author Information

  1. 1

    WiQuest Communications, Inc., Allen, Texas

  2. 2

    Rice University, Houston, Texas

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 JUN 2008


Communication processors are processors with specific optimizations to support communication systems. Communication processors exist in a wide variety of forms and can be categorized based on the communication system, such as wired or wireless and based on the layer in the communication system, which can be the physical layer, the medium, access, control layer, or the network layer. Communication processors can be categorized even more based on the application, such as audio, video,or data and the end system requiring the communication system such as a laptop, a cell phone, or a personal computer. As communication systems have evolved over the years, there has been an increase we in data rates; increase in algorithm complexity; need for flexibility to adapt to different protocols and environments; need to optimize over varying constraints such as area, power, and performance; and the need for supporting multiple interfaces, devices, and applications. In this article, we present a brief outline of the different types of communication processors and their processing requirements. We focus on the challenges in the physical layer design of communication processors with the evolution of communication systems.


  • wireless communications;
  • application specific instruction processors;
  • physical layer processors;
  • Mac processors;
  • network processors;
  • embedded systems