Feeds

EU forms an opinion on CUS'ing

But wants to see more polite radios

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Common Use of Spectrum such as the 2.4GHz band that makes Wi-Fi possible should become more prevalent to drive innovation and efficient spectrum use, the EU Spectrum body says. But legislation may be needed to ensure radio systems play nicely together.

The Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSGP) was asked to look at Common Use of Spectrum (CUS) in May last year, and has now published a draft opinion for comment. The group recommends that more spectrum be allocated to CUS, but stopped just short of saying all spectrum should be available for common use.

Radio frequencies across Europe are either allocated or sold, and have historically been tied to a specific technology and application. The UK is leading the world in removing restrictions on what spectrum can be used for, but UK regulator Ofcom is firmly of the opinion that he who pays most for spectrum will use it most efficiently, so giving away chunks of bandwidth for free doesn't really fit the model.

Between the prime real estate of licensed frequencies are gaps where anyone is pretty much allowed to do anything. For example 868MHz is often used for wireless light switches and plugs, while 434MHz is a favourite for keyfobs. In these spaces radios are expected to play nicely with each other, adopting "politeness protocols", and implementing "politeness rules" set by the local regulator. The former could involve scanning for unused frequencies or hopping around the place like Bluetooth, while the latter might include restrictions on broadcast power or accuracy of tuning.

The nice thing about these gaps is that manufacturers can bring products to market really quickly. The bad thing is that there's no guarantee of service: the bands can become overcrowded and are almost impossible to clear if the regulator later decides to sell them off.

CUS isn't restricted to unused spectrum, the RSGP considered the potential of allowing anyone to use any frequency, as long as they avoid interfering with the licensed user. This is the way that Ultra Wide Band is permitted, between 4.2 and 4.8GHz, across Europe - UWB is very low power, and so shouldn't interfere with other uses.

The opinion formed by the RSGP (pdf) is that CUS is a good thing, but within allocated bands, and they'd like to see more of those across Europe. The group would also like to see some of the less-populous areas in the EU used as wireless test-beds, as happens in Ireland, so new licensing models can be tried out.

In the meantime some more snippets across the dial could be allocated to CUS, and proper-sized chunks at the top of the dial where there's not a lot happening right now.

In this respect the RSGP is in agreement with UK-regulator Ofcom, which also sees such little value in the frequencies above 40GHz that it's prepared to give some of it away. Such high frequencies are hard to use, at least with today's technology, and the RSGP suggests that some EU money be spent finding ways to use it in a more productive fashion.

The opinion is still a draft, and comments are welcomed until the fifth of September. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.