TLF Readers on Spectrum Commons

by on March 26, 2007

Having smart readers is great! Check out the comments to my post on wireless commons, wherein TLF reader who actually know what they’re talking about elaborate on the strengths and weaknesses of unlicensed spectrum and mesh networks. For example:

In general, the concept of spectrum commons is intuitively appealing. Unlicensed spectrum has already proven its value with the proliferation of WiFi and the spectrum commons approach dangles the possibility of extending the promise of unlicensed spectrum to a near utopian degree. This is always presented as an superior alternative to the sclerotic bureaucracy of the FCC making decisions on spectrum use. However, in the real world where people are actually building modems, radios and consumer devices, the regulatory context of the FCC provides more than just an economic model of how spectrum is used (i.e. spectrum as property with markets vs unlicensed or common spectrum). It also provides a technical context for engineers who design and build the technology. RF is pretty wacky stuff and although increasing computational power and antenna technologies are of critical importance and key enablers to new wireless architectures and protocols, they don’t eliminate the world of cavity filters, intermodulation distortion, adjacent channel interference, etc.

Ultimately, the either/or approach is problematic. Spectrum commons, like unlicensed spectrum before it, hold great promise and regulatory bodies should embrace it by making spectrum available. But it’s also 10 or 20 years away from being ready for primetime. There’s a lot of usable radio spectrum. The real answer is to embrace and enable multiple approaches and philosophies of spectrum usage.

More good stuff here.

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