The objective of spectrum management is to enable the optimum number and types of services to coexist.
Radio signals are able to coexist in the same physical space on account of the ability to isolate signals by using the physical characteristics of their transmissions. One of these characteristics is spectrum.
Radio frequency spectrum is the continuum of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation from 9,000 Hz (9 kilohertz) to 300,000,000,000 Hz (300 gigahertz). In the simplest sense, one may isolate multiple users of spectrum by allocating different bands of this continuum to them.
Spectrum management, however, is much more complicated than simply allocating frequencies. It is desirable and necessary to reuse spectrum. Thus, other physical characteristics of transmissions are also used to isolate spectrum users. Spectrum management is the oversight of all characteristics of electromagnetic radiation.
The goal is to prevent users from harmful interference while allowing the optimum use of the spectrum. The problem is complex since the characteristics of electromagnetic radiation vary with time, space and frequency.
Many federal agencies use radio frequency spectrum to perform vital operations. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) manages the federal government’s use of spectrum, ensuring that America’s domestic and international spectrum needs are met while making efficient use of this limited resource.
NTIA carries out this responsibility with assistance and advice from the Interdepartmental Radio Advisory Committee and by many other processes, such as:
- Assigning frequencies
- Maintaining spectrum use databases
- Establishing and issuing policy regarding allocations and regulations governing the Federal spectrum use
- Reviewing Federal agencies’ new telecommunications systems and certifying that spectrum will be available
Competition for radio spectrum in the 5G era has intensified in recent years, particularly in bands that are optimal for mobile systems (approximately 200 MHz – 4 GHz). This factor has had a dramatic impact on the perceived (and actual) value of spectrum and has biased decisions for spectrum re-allocation heavily in favor of the private sector.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers two courses in Spectrum Management:
Participants learn a wide range of material to familiarize those new to the spectrum management and frequency planning arena with the latest tools, techniques, methods, trends and issues related to spectrum and frequency planning.