Just three decades after the first generation of wireless telephone technology was introduced, engineers, wireless operators, and industry analysts are talking about the best way to split the fourth generation broadband spectrum into more usable parts.

It could get messy, LBA Group’s Chris Horne warns.

Horne’s warning came in a discussion at last week’s 4G World 2011 Expo at Chicago’s McCormick Place exhibition hall. LBA’s chief technical officer was part of a WCAI three-person panel that weighed how to parse spectrum by rebanding 2Ghz in the mobile broadband spectrum and by holding incentive auctions.

Congress is considering auctioning of extra TV spectrum for use by wireless carriers. Besides freeing up spectrum to meet increasing wireless phone demands, the auctions could raise up to $30 billion for the strapped public treasury. The auction idea was handed to a so-called congressional “supercommittee” that has been saddled with reducing public debt by a trillion or more dollars. The lawmakers are 30 days away from the mandated end of their deliberations, so the fate of the incentive auctions could be determined in pretty short order.

In the panel discussion, Horne stressed the importance of the rebanded spectrum being made available in a comprehensive way to avoid interference problems. Fracturing the spectrum into smaller pieces without fully integrating the consequences of the partitioning will create a whole new set of issues, he said.

Horne was joined on the panel by Don Brittingham of Verizon Wireless and Paul Sinderbrand of Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP. Paul Kirby, senior editor of TRDaily, moderated the discussion.

LBA’s Chris Horne (left) and Paul Sinderbrand of Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP were two of the three panelists dissecting the spectrum issue.
LBA’s Chris Horne (left) and Paul Sinderbrand of Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP were two of the three panelists dissecting the spectrum issue.

All three of the panelists stressed the need to implement spectrum change in a way that will avoid piecemeal problems; one suggestion was to pair the AWS-3 band with the 1755-1780 MHz band. Furthermore, Brittingham said he would have wireless carriers share the 1755-1780 MHz spectrum with satellite signal systems, perhaps through a dynamic spectrum access procedure.

Some 12,000 industry members, half of them executives and senior leadership people, crowded into the massive McCormick Place venue during the four days of the expo.

Since 1963, LBA has been providing RF equipment and engineering consulting services for radio and television broadcast and wireless communications. Please contact Mike Britner at mike.britner@lbagroup.com to discuss specific requirements.

About The Author

LBA Group, Inc. has 50 years of experience in providing RF asset solutions and risk management for industrial and telecommunications infrastructure assets. The group is comprised of LBA Technology, a leading manufacturer and integrator of radio frequency systems, lightning protection and EMC equipment for broadcast, industrial and government users worldwide; the professional consultancy Lawrence Behr Associates and LBA University, providing on-site and online professional training. The companies are based in Greenville, N.C., USA.

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