History of the Wireless Telecommunications Symposium (WTS)

The mission of the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona is the advancement of learning and knowledge by linking theory and practice. In keeping with this mission and recognizing the multi-faceted and interdisciplinary nature of mobile communications and wireless networking, since its founding in 2002 the objective of the Wireless Telecommunications Symposium (WTS) has been to foster the exchange of information among industry, government and the academic community relating to advances in wireless communications technology, management, policy, applications, and security. In its almost twenty years of existence WTS has evolved from a half-day student-led, on-campus, university event to a prestigious, multi-day, international conference featuring some of the most respected executives and government officials in the wireless communications industry as well as applied researchers whose papers are later published and distributed globally. Changes to WTS from one year to the next have been made incrementally. Throughout its evolution, a strong interdisciplinary program, respected speakers, enjoyable social events, attractive and accessible conference sites, and student participation have remained at its core.

Most of the major organizations in the wireless communications industry have participated in WTS. Among the many executives, government officials, and researchers who have spoken at WTS are three “Fathers of the Internet” (Vinton Cerf, Robert Kahn, and Leonard Kleinrock) and the “Father of the Cell Phone” (Martin Cooper). WTS has held approximately 160 invited speaker presentations, 35 tutorials/workshops, and 35 panel discussions dealing with a variety of business, technology, policy, applications and security topics. In addition, approximately 950 papers have been presented at WTS: 81% of which have been published in IEEE Xplore; 16% published in the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Telecommunications and Networking (IJITN) as conference papers or in a few cases scheduled as invited papers; and 3% as poster papers. Expanded WTS papers have been published in special issues of IJITN and by Springer.

WTS was held on the Cal Poly Pomona campus from 2002 to 2008. Since 2009 it has been held in five major U. S. cities (New York City, Washington, DC, Chicago, Phoenix, and Tampa) and two European cities (London and Prague), in some cases more than once. In 2020 and 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic WTS was held virtually. WTS 2022 is planned for Pomona, California.

At the forefront of WTS has been Cal Poly Pomona’s Computer Information Systems Department: faculty member Dr. Steven Powell, now Professor Emeritus, founded WTS and since its inception has led it as a self-funded, organized, and run enterprise. Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Business Administration, the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, and to a lesser extent the College of Engineering, have provided critical administrative and operational support for WTS. The principal source of technical support for WTS from an organizational perspective has been the IEEE Communications Society. From time to time corporate, and other professional organizations and universities have lent their financial and technical support. Key to WTS’s success has been the operational and technical support provided by the expanding network of individual volunteers, some of whom have been involved in WTS since its earliest days.

Below is a year-by-year summary of each WTS conference that has been held. Following the conference summaries are a list of selected WTS invited speakers; a list of WTS Welcoming Speakers; a list of WTS Distinguished Service Fellow Award Honorees; a list of WTS Distinguished Fellows; a list of WTS Tutorials & Workshops; and a list of WTS Panel Discussions.