Friday, September 4, 2015

Harmonization | 5G Bands

Spectrum harmonization delivers many benefits, including higher economies of scale, better battery life, improved roaming, and reduced interference along borders.

As regulators make more spectrum available, it is important that they follow guidelines such as those espoused by 4G Americas
1.       Configure licenses with wider bandwidths.
2.       Group like services together.
3.       Be mindful of global technology standards.
4.   Pursue harmonized/contiguous spectrum allocations.
5.       Exhaust exclusive use options before pursuing shared use.
6.       Because not all spectrum is fungible, align allocation with demand.

Emerging technologies such as LTE benefit from wider radio channels. These wider channels are not only spectrally more efficient, they also offer greater capacity. Figure 1 shows increasing LTE spectral efficiency obtained with wider radio channels, with 20 MHz on the downlink and 20 MHz (20+20 MHz) on the uplink showing the most efficient configuration.

Figure 1: LTE Spectral Efficiency as Function of Radio Channel Size
Of some concern in this regard is that spectrum for LTE is becoming available in different frequency bands in different countries. Roaming in many cases is based on GSM or HSPA on common regional or global bands.

The organization tasked with global spectrum harmonization, the International Telecommunication Union, periodically holds World Radiocommunications Conferences (WRC).

Harmonization occurs at multiple levels:

q  Allocation of radio frequencies to a mobile service in the ITU frequency allocation table.
q  Establishment of global or regional frequency arrangements, including channel blocks and specific duplexing modes.
q  Development of detailed technical specifications and standards, including system performance, RF performance, and coexistence with other systems in neighboring bands.
q  Assignment for frequency blocks with associated technical conditions and specifications to appropriate operators and service providers.31
Figure 2 shows the harmonization process.

Figure 2: Spectrum Harmonization

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