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Spectrum Management

Spectrum Engineering

The radio spectrum does not just appear as bands and sub-bands: these are man made constructs that have been engineered into being because such sub-division fitted a market need and made sound engineering sense. By determining a frequency allocation table, engineers determined that users would be able to coexist in relative harmony to enjoy the benefits that spectrum use would bring. Spectrum engineering is the set of activities that go together to permit decisions to be taken and policy to be developed.

In the first instance, spectrum engineering involves modelling. Options are postulated and evaluated though simulation. A typical example would be the use of WiMAX using frequency division duplex in the spectrum block left between two frequency division duplex sub-bands used by UMTS/3G. There is nothing certain about this possibility. Guard bands are perhaps needed - but how large should they be? Similarly, WiMAX comes in a variety of forms using a host of RF channel bandwidths. How should the band be channelised? Much depends on how users will be licensed - national, regional or even local. And all of these and other decisions are part of the world of spectrum engineering.

Spectrum engineering also depends on involvement with others. Economies of scale are essential to ensure that manufacturers can make subscriber devices at prices that the market can accept. This means harmonising the spectrum engineering decisions and hence harmonising the bands for use by specific services and technologies. Where neutrality is to be embraced, the simulations and models must accommodate all likely services and technologies. And cooperation must extend to cross border coordination since radio waves do not respect man-made borders to nation-states.

Spectrum engineering involves band planning, spectrum re-farming, cross border coordination and the development of cross border agreements on spectrum use, and spectrum modelling and simulation. InterConnect Communications' consultants have assisted many of the world's regulators and operators in spectrum engineering and have been instrumental in assisting these customers to ensure that the decisions made were technically and practically sound.