Wireless Spectrum Finder: Telecommunications, Government and Scientific Radio Frequency Allocations in the Us 30 MHz - 300 GHz / Edition 6

Wireless Spectrum Finder: Telecommunications, Government and Scientific Radio Frequency Allocations in the Us 30 MHz - 300 GHz / Edition 6

by Bennett Z. Kobb
Pub. Date:
McGraw-Hill Companies, The


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Wireless Spectrum Finder: Telecommunications, Government and Scientific Radio Frequency Allocations in the Us 30 MHz - 300 GHz / Edition 6

ALL THE DATA YOU NEED FOR SPECTRUM PLANNING — IN ONE SOURCEInstead of poring through records of proceedings, federal code, and technical publications, quickly access essential information on that prime but invisible expanse of real estate, the public airwaves. In Wireless Spectrum Finder, veteran industry reporter Bennett Z. Kobb brings you impeccably researched, plain-English data and analysis of the regulatory, business, legal, and technical factors affecting each of more than 350 bands in the U.S. spectrum, including:

*Commentary helpful to anyone looking to exploit, change, or influence FCC rule-making
*Scientific definitions and allowable uses for each band
*Types of licenses and their geographic areas and business ventures
*Pointers to all original sources for regulations and proceedings
*Up-to-date FCC terminology and definitions
*Regulatory trends, including FCC deliberations on the use of ultra wide band (UWB), software-defined radio (SDR), and secondary markets in spectrum
*Effects of congressional legislation
*Explanations and insights on FCC rules and regulatory powers, including official footnotes

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780071375061
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
Publication date: 03/29/2001
Series: Professional Telecom Series
Pages: 497
Product dimensions: 6.04(w) x 8.96(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Bennett Z. Kobb is a Washington, D.C.-based technology writer and consultant.> As a trade journalist, he has covered policy and regulation at the Federal Communications Commission since 1983. He founded Federal Communications TechNews (now TR Wireless) and was editor of Cellular Radio News and Personal Communications Magazine, the first periodicals for the cellular telephone industry.

He co-founded (with Apple Computer) and served as the first executive director of the Wireless Information Networks Forum, a trade association of telephone and computer manufacturers.

He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a licensed radio amateur, and a contributor to Communications World on the Voice of America.

Bennett received a master's degree in telecommunications from the University of Colorado and a bachelor's degree in radio-television-film from the University of Texas.

After hours, he may be found amid flying objects as a devotee of juggling, the happiest art.

Read an Excerpt

...At this writing, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is examining the possibilities of Ultra Wideband radio (UWB, Docket ET 98153) and Software-Defined Radio (SDR, Docket ET 0©-47). These technologies are not limited to specific frequency bands but could enable communications across wide swaths of spectrum already in use by others, or on varying portions of the spectrum depending on immediate needs.

The FCC also is considering secondary markets (Docket WT 00-230) where licensees lease their spectrum usage rights to third parties. It created a type of secondary market in partitioning and disaggregation in which sublicensees provide wireless service in parts of a geographic area, or on frequencies, licensed to another party. The guard band manager licensing scheme in the 700-MHz spectrum is also a type of secondary market (see 746-764 MHz).

Paradigm Shift

UWB conveys data by varying the timing or phasing of extremely short radio frequency (RF) pulses. Several UWB techniques are available, but they all result in low-level emissions distributed across megahertz or gigahertz of spectrum, and therefore across the boundaries of numerous radio services. At this writing, FCC rules do not accommodate general UWB usage.

UWB research is focused on 2-6 GHz and other bands including low VHF The exact frequency range UWB will use is critical to the issue of interference to non-UWB services.

UWB can offer privacy, low likelihood of interference, low cost, high capacity, and, when used in radar and localizer applications, the power to make extremely precise measurements of distance.

Ground penetrating radar (GPR) has been a key application for UWB. Some GPRs are wheeled, lawnmower-like instruments that reveal X-raylike images of structures such as roads and bridges, for safety inspection.

Potential medical uses for UWB, the FCC says, "include the development of a mattress-installed breathing monitor to guard against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and heart monitors that act like an electrocardiogram except that they measure the heart's actual contractions instead of its electrical impulses . ...Other interesting UWB applications include liquid level sensors for everything from water conserving toilets to oil refinery tanks and the use of UWB technology to allow auto focus cameras to calculate distances more accurately." UWB also is used in experimental microphones that utilize radar instead of air to pick up sound from the vocal organs.

Defense, safety, and law-enforcement communities are also interested in the technology. Several companies have received conditional FCC waivers to manufacture and sell UWB radars and covert communication devices as long as distribution is limited and records are kept on purchasers and users.

Time Domain Corporation says that, "Ultra-wideband low power communications can prove beneficial in a host of applications that require relatively short range, large data capacity, a high degree of immunity to the adverse effects of multipath, and a low probability of unauthorized detection and interception."

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has stated that "UWB devices ...represent a radically different technology from that used in the conventional radios available when the [FCC] Part 15 [unlicensed device] rules were developed. UWB technologies use extremely narrow pulses with their concomitant ultrawide bandwidths, high repetition frequencies, and low duty cycles. The effects of these types of signals upon conventional systems, be they analog, digital, or pulse modulated, are not well understood.

"The proliferation of UWB systems centered near 2 GHz could cause serious problems to several critical, sensitive services important to both the government and the public," the NTIA said.

FCC Acts

After extensive lobbying by UWB interests, the FCC 'initiated a wideranging Notice of Inquiry (NOI), followed by a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in ET Docket 98-153, asking the industry for input on measurement techniques and methods of protecting incumbents from interference.

The NPRM tentatively concluded that, because most near-term UWB applications involve low power and short range, the FCC should regulate them under the Part 15 rules for unlicensed devices. The current Part 15 rules, however, pose two obstacles to the implementation of UWB technology. The FCC noted, "First, the wide bandwidth that is intrinsic to the operation of UWB devices can result in transmission of the fundamental emission into restricted frequency bands or into the television broadcast frequency bands, which is prohibited under the Part 15 rules.

"Second, the current emission measurement procedures specified in our Part 15 rules were developed for narrowband systems and may be inappropriate for, and pose unnecessary restrictions to, UWB technology, particularly impulse systems."

Characterizing UWB

"UWB can be viewed as an extreme form of spread spectrum," according to UWB developer XtremeSpectrum. "Consider that a spread spectrum system might have bandwidth of 20 MHz; while an UWB system might have 2 GHz. UWB systems have orders of magnitude more bandwidth than spread spectrum systems. This leads to a corresponding increase in process gain and all its attendant benefits . ...UWB systems can have orders of magnitude more simultaneous users in a cell, with the same data rate and multiuser interference level, than a conventional spread spectrum system."

Current spectrum stakeholders were unenthusiastic. "Clearly, it would be inconsistent with the fundamental tenets of the Commission's ...policies regarding Part 15 devices if the Commission were to amend its rules to accommodate the provision of unlicensed UWB radio systems, knowing that such systems can cause harmful interference within restricted bands and the TV broadcast bands," said the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association and the National Association of Broadcasters.

Representatives of Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment makers and users argued that "There is no question that UWB operations would increase the background noise in a given spectrum . ...Increases in background noise in the GPS frequency bands may reduce the ability of the GPS receiver to acquire a GPS signal or even to maintain tracking of a GPS signal, or cause errors in position or time accuracy. Any of these consequences is intolerable for a safety-of-life service such as GPS."

FAA Opposition

UWB will cause "interference to critical aeronautical safety systems," according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The agency was especially concerned about UWB radiation in the restricted bands in which FCC Part 15 rules permit unlicensed devices to emit only very lowlevel emissions.

"The FAA is opposed to any authorization of licensed or unlicensed UWB systems to intentionally radiate in these bands. It is likely that authorizing even limited operation of such systems will lead to further proliferation of UWB systems as new applications for their use are developed.

"The FAA has documented cases of radio frequency interference caused to such [aeronautical] services from non-licensed low power devices such as television antenna amplifiers, baby monitors, personal computers, and UWB operations. In each case, these incidents caused disruption to air traffic flow within the United States."

We are skeptical of the FAA's claim of "documented cases" of UWB interference to aviation. UWB systems have not been widely deployed and are not easily detected and identified. For this reason, we question FAA's flat inclusion of UWB in incidents that "caused disruption to air traffic flow."

In its FCC comments, Lockheed Martin Corporation urged caution. The company "requests that the Commission limit the initial scope of this proceeding, and not seek to implement a broad technical framework for UWB, even on a provisional basis." In contrast, Lockheed Martin Information Systems (LMIS) said that it "strongly urges the FCC to promptly move forward on approval of the ultra-wideband technology for widespread use. In addition, LMIS urges the FCC to consider higher power authorizations to allow for extended range coverage (at least several miles) of wireless high bandwidth data systems."

Cumulative Impact

Opponents of UWB have told the FCC that the aggregate effects of many UWB transmitters will produce harmful interference into licensed services. Yet "the Commission should not permit any obstructionist tactics to delay the introduction of new, innovative UWB technologies," according to Fantasma Networks, developer of UWB technology for broadband home networking. "UWB transmissions will, as a practical matter, be invisible to other radio services . ...In metropolitan areas toddy, many existing sources of harmful interference, including spurious emissions from highpower VHF and UHF transmitters, intermodulation effects (including the incidental mixing of authorized transmissions in metal structures), existing unintentional radiators, and existing incidental radiators, already 'aggregate' to create an increased level of interference or a raised noise floor.

"Because the link budget and the number of and site selection for central stations of radio systems being designed today must already account for this radio noise, authorizing UWB emissions at levels comparable to these already existing non-thermal noise sources will not lead to an 'aggregation' problem," Fantasma said...

Table of Contents

Introduction. Three Wireless Trends. Frequency Allocations. VHF(30 MHz-300 MHz). UHF(300 MHz-3000 MHz). SHF(3 GHz-30 GHz). EHF(30 GHz-300 GHz). U.S. and International Footnotes. Subject Index. Band Index.


One hundred and fifty years ago, the best-selling. books in America were emigrant's guides describing trails and their landmarks, watering places, and potential dangers to the thousands of people planning or making their ways across our continent.

Wireless Spectrum Finder is today's essential equivalent for all of us involved in spectrum-dependent technologies and services. Momentous changes are occurring in spectrum management, and any assumption about the future is fragile. Even so, unimaginable fortunes are being risked (and some are being made) through creative spectrum acquisition and habitation.

Some nineteenth-century emigrant's guides were assembled by people who never reached St. Louis, but this guide has unassailable credibility because, when it comes to making or describing a trail through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules, Bennett Kobb has "been there" and "done that."

To would-be users of spectrum, making one's way through the FCC process resembles the most antagonistic video-game treasure hunt ever, with unspeakable threats popping up everywhere. The format of the FCC rules is in part responsible. For any given frequency band, the applicable regulations may be strewn throughout five microscopic-print tomes of the Federal Code. Understanding a rule may also require combing the record of the proceeding in which it was developed and often reports from both the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Wireless Spectrum Finder does this research for us, and, along with straightforward facts and clear pointers to all the regulations for each band, the author develops especially insightful commentaries.

Anyone who hopes to exploit or bring about changes in the FCC rules needs the most effective and dependable guidebook. If Wireless Spectrum Finder didn't exist, each of us would have to create our own. We couldn't possibly do it as well.

James F. Loves

Jim Lovette is Director of Strategic Policies at Fantasma Networks, Ina.

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