Room on the Road: The Sophisticated Future of Spectrum Sharing

Wireless Week
January 31, 2017
By Diana Goovaerts

The call for more spectrum is a never-ceasing refrain from ever-expanding telecommunications companies. Many, though, have already acknowledged that communications airwaves are a finite resource, and sooner or later they’re going to have to learn to share.

But what does the picture of a shared spectrum future really look like? Beyond basic time-sharing, what control mechanisms will we see?

According to Kevin Kelly, CEO of government network solutions contractor LGS Innovations, the future of spectrum sharing will be much more sophisticated than the relatively simply shared-use arrangements in use today. Kelly likened the progression to a newly built highway that quickly fills with cars, necessitating the creative use of the lanes available, as with carpool and emergency lanes.

“Right now if I do spectrum sharing, I’m going to grab on to this channel, this frequency, I’m going to use it for five hours, and then I’m going to shut down my transmitter and then maybe somebody else uses it,” he explained. “What if we’re so sophisticated that your radio and my radio use the same frequency and we turn the transmit and receive pairs on and off within milliseconds of each other – on, off, on, off – and we share it simultaneously but at very discreet intervals? That’s a whole other level of intelligence where you’ve got to get into sophisticated network timing and sequencing of transmitters and so forth.”

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