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Spectrum Sharing, Spectrum Management, and Cognitive Radio

(EM Spectrum - IOTA)

- Spectrum Management 

Spectrum management is the process of regulating the use of radio frequencies to promote efficient use and gain a net social benefit. The term radio spectrum typically refers to the full frequency range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz that may be used for wireless communication. Increasing demand for services such as mobile telephones and many others has required changes in the philosophy of spectrum management. Demand for wireless broadband has soared due to technological innovation, such as 3G and 4G mobile services, and the rapid expansion of wireless internet services.


- Spectrum Sharing

Spectrum sharing is a way to optimize the use of the airwaves, or wireless communications channels, by enabling multiple categories of users to safely share the same frequency bands. Spectrum sharing is necessary because growing demand is crowding the airwaves. Smartphones, the Internet of Things, military and public safety radios, wearable devices, smart vehicles and countless other devices all depend on the same wireless bands of the electromagnetic spectrum to share data, voice and images. 

Spectrum Sharing introduces a new way of rolling out 5G that re-uses hardware/spectrum/sites, increases coverage of mid/high band, and offer a clear path to 5G stand alone, allowing operators to shift capex investments from new sites to new 5G stand alone use cases. 

The majority of new frequency bands allocated to 5G are in mid- and high-bands. To enable cost-efficient, wide-area 5G coverage and improve mid- and high-band spectrum utilization, it is necessary to also operate 5G in lower frequency bands. However, most operators today have long term evolution (LTE) technology in those lower bands. Entirely re-farming carriers from LTE to NR is not currently feasible due to the high penetration of existing LTE devices and the high traffic volume that they generate. 

Spectrum sharing transforms the end-user experience. Firstly, by opening up wide-area 5G coverage to give end-users unprecedented access to enhanced 5G use cases. Secondly, by enabling 1ms scheduling  for best spectral efficiency as well as to enable new, low latency 5G SA (Stand Alone) use cases. Finally, when paired with carrier aggregation, enabling higher peak rates across a larger coverage area.  

To enable cost-efficient, wide-area 5G coverage it’s necessary for 5G to also operate in lower frequency bands where most operators have currently deployed LTE technology. Entirely re-farming carriers is not feasible due to the high penetration of existing LTE users and the high traffic volume they generate. Spectrum sharing therefore allows the introduction of 5G on existing 4G bands without re-farming carriers and with minimal impact on live end-user service. 

For a 5G SA (Stand Alone) implementation, spectrum sharing can rapidly enable the continuous coverage required, bringing the full advantage of network slicing and lower latency to power new business opportunities across a multitude of industries in cities, on factory floors and roads worldwide. The coordination of devices at 1ms is a key spectrum sharing capability that will support these low latency use cases.


[More to come ...]


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