Are we running out of wireless spectrum?

By Frank Dzubeck, Network World |  Networking

The WPAN using IEEE 802.15 is another story when it comes to spectrum utilization. Currently WPANs use Bluetooth at 2.4 GHz within a short-distance radius. However, they will use a new wireless communications technology called Ultra Wideband, currently in the approval process at the FCC. Ultra Wideband uses high-frequency microwave pulses with low-power intensity as a communications mechanism. Ultra Wideband transmissions cross all spectrum layers without interference, and as a security side benefit all transmissions are self-encrypted. Today, the distance cannot be great due to its low power, but per-user bandwidth speeds of 40M to 100M bit/sec can be demonstrated in the laboratory.

Ultra Wideband is a transmission technology that is not intimately tied to a media access control layer; therefore it has the potential of being applicable to IEEE 802.11 and 802.16 with new coding and signal processing research. This lower-layer technology, coupled with the efficiencies of higher-layer IP and the guarantees of QoS, could meet user bandwidth demands over the LAN, WPAN and access WAN.

Ever-advancing research and technology is freeing us from the spectrum conundrum and its political side effects. We may be running out of allocated wireless spectrum, but not the ability to deliver broadband communications capability to a range of users throughout the U.S.

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