This summarizes a selection of applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during April and May 2011. These are related to TV white space, electromagnetic compatibility testing, train control, point-to-multipoint communications, satellite communications, radar, unmanned aerial vehicles, GPS, ultra-wideband, mobile satellite service, UMTS, mobile broadband picocells, wireless backhaul, and IEEE 802.11p. The descriptions are sorted by frequency.
Recent contributions to the mobile broadband spectrum debate are reports from NAB and CTIA. I envisioned a “dueling reports” piece, but they mostly complement each other. Below I walk through the main points, adding some of my own views.
Most cellular operators are beginning the transition from 3G technologies to 4G LTE. That will mainly be for high-speed data and not voice, support for which will come years later. Communications engineer Jim Murphy describes some of the networking issues that make voice impractical on LTE on day one. To his comments I’d add that the preferred LTE voice solution is VoIP on the IP Multimedia System (IMS) framework, which has had slow adoption in the mobile community.
Jim’s example is from the 3GPP family of technologies, of which LTE is part. Most 3GPP2 operators, such as Verizon Wireless, are also planning a migration to LTE. They migrate from a different family of technologies, those specified in 3GPP2 and which include cdma2000 developed largely by Qualcomm. In Verizon’s transition, high-speed data on cdma2000 networks, now provided by EV-DO, will migrate to LTE. Voice will stay on cdma2000 1x for several years. That’s not a problem, because that technology keeps improving. The latest version, called cdma2000 1x Advanced, has achieved a 50x increase in voice capacity over the predecessor IS-95 system launched in 1993.
Both 3GPP and 3GPP2 3G voice feature a soft-handover (make-before-break) scheme that allows for, essentially, a circuit-switched connection. Yes, you’ll be able to run Skype and other VoIP services on 4G LTE data networks, if you want. In terms of the total user experience, however, most will prefer the seamlessness of standards-based integrated voice capability.
VoIP is the future. For 4G voice, though, it’s just great in theory at this time.
This summarizes a selection of applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during July 2010. These are related to high-frequency data, military communications, environmental data collection, synthetic aperture radar, WiMAX, sensor networks, interference-resistant communications, LTE, rail transportation, air traffic control, white space networks, and RFID.
- Harris filed an application (with supporting exhibits) for experimental license to operate on various frequencies between 3 and 15 MHz to test an experimental high-frequency wideband waveform that is intended to operate at either 12 kHz bandwidth or 24 kHz bandwidth to allow faster data transfer via high-frequency communications.
- Harris also filed an application (with supporting exhibit) for experimental license to operate on 4.94-4.99 GHz in support of development of US Army’s Warfighter Information Network: Tactical (WIN-T) and Future Combat Systems (FCS) programs. Equipment is to consist of the HNRe2 Highband Network Radio, manufactured by Harris. Harris says the HNRe2 is comprised of four elements: 1) the Baseband Processing Unit, 2) the Highband RF Unit (HRFU), 3) an Inertial Navigation Unit (INU), and a GPS device. The HRFU further consists of an upconverter, a High-Powered Amplifier (HPA), a Switched Beam Antenna (SBA), a Low-Noise Amplifier (LNA), and a downconverter). The test network will consist of five fixed nodes and one mobile node. The FCC has asked Harris to justify extended testing in a band that is primarily allocated for non-government public safety use.
- Canon U.S.A. filed an application (with supporting exhibits) for special temporary authority to operate wireless devices in support of a private technology and product exhibition from September 1, 2010 through September 3, 2010 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, NY. Canon is planning to import many wireless devices from Japan to be used with displays during the exhibition. These devices are not FCC compliant and not expected to be FCC compliant until after the exhibition. Frequencies requested include 315.0-315.7 MHz, 2.40-2.50 GHz, 5.18-5.67 GHz, and 61.6-62.5 GHz. This application was granted on August 11.
This summarizes a selection of applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during June 2010. These are related to aircraft systems, WiMAX, sports telecast support, public safety communications, tactical cellular service, medical telemetry, satellite, antennas, radar, white-space devices, weapons telemetry, spacecraft communications, and broadcasting.
- AAI/Textron Systems Corporation filed an application (with supporting exhibits) for experimental license. The company wants to test its Shadow 200, Aerosonde, Orbiter and other unmanned aircraft systems. This is related to work for the United States Marine Corp. Operation is to be on 310-390 MHz, 902-928 MHz, 1090 MHz, 1350-1390 MHz, 1700-1859 MHz, and 4400-4999 MHz. Transmitting equipment is manufactured by Microhard Systems Corporation, Free Wave Technologies, Advanced Microwave Products, Global Microwave Systems, and Microair Avionics.
FCC staff has asked for several items of information before approving the application. The FAA operates in the frequency bands 328.6-335.4 MHz, 1090 MHz, and 1215-1390 MHz; FCC staff asks for coordination of these bands with the FAA Regional Office. In addition, the frequency bands 225-328.6 MHz and 335.4-399.9 MHz are used for military purposes, and the applicant was asked to coordinate with NTIA’s Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC).
- AAI/Textron Systems Corporation also filed an application (with supporting exhibits) for special temporary authority to operate on 420-450 MHz and 2000-2400 MHz for a government project apparently involving the Orbiter miniature unmanned aircraft system. There is not much information about the proposed operation, and FCC staff has asked for more details.
In correspondence to the applicant, FCC staff notes that the “Aerospace & Flight Test Radio Coordinating Council (AFTRCC) oversees the frequency bands; 1435-1525 MHz, 2310-2320 MHz, and 2345-2390 MHz. These frequency bands need to be removed or need to be prior coordinated.”
- Sportvision filed an application (with supporting exhibits) for special temporary authority for testing of an automobile race track wireless data system that is to provide data communications between vehicles in a race track and one or more fixed base stations installed along a track. Operation is to be on 2395-2400 MHz.
One application seen for this system is video image enhancement for television broadcasting of automobile racing events. The would allow television viewers to see, displayed on screen, the real-time location of cars during a racing event.
The vehicles would be equipped with GPS receivers and other sensors that generate a data packet every 200 milliseconds. The wireless system would collect those packets and deliver them to a control station in real time. “The radio itself is a direct sequence spread spectrum unit, using production radios for 2.4 GHz. The system may ultimately be deployed on an unlicensed basis in the 2.4 GHz band or elsewhere, but the high noise levels in that band in the test locations (commercial automobile race tracks) are unsuitable for development and testing of the product.”
“An Intersil baseband processor performs the Direct Sequence modulation and demodulation. It is part of a five-chipset developed for the 802.11b standard. It uses 1/4th of the standard 802.11 speed resulting in a narrow occupied RF bandwidth.”
The frequency band requested is allocated on a primary basis to the Amateur Radio Service, and coordination is to be performed with the ARRL. This application was granted on June 4.
This summarizes a selection of applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during March 31 – April 15, 2010. These are related to WiMAX, unmanned aerial vehicles, radar, cellular networking, rural broadband, ultra-wideband, satellite, software defined radio, white space, adaptive networks, and amplitude companded side band.
- Clearwire filed an application for special temporary authority (with supporting exhibits) to test WiMAX equipment at various locations in California on 2502-2568 MHz. The purpose of the test is to validate the ability of equipment to operate satisfactorily in the presence of collocated equipment licensed to Sprint in the 800 and 1900 MHz bands.
- DataSoft Corporation filed an application (with supporting exhibit) for experimental license. The company says it is developing a Software Defined Radio platform featuring a configurable 400 MHz to 4000 MHz transceiver intended for markets requiring an adaptable, programmable, or cognitive radio such as TV white space, smart grid, and home networking. The experimental license is to support testing of the transceiver in a TV white space application. Due to lack of available white-space client devices, the applicant proposes using re-banded Wi-Fi equipment in the experiment. Operation is to be in Scottsdale, Arizona on 500-540 MHz.
- BAE Systems filed an application (with supporting exhibit) for experimental license to test a wireless link for use by the US Army between a soldier’s night weapon sight and night vision goggles. The wireless link will utilize WiMedia MB-OFDM Ultra-wideband technology. Operation is to be on 3.168-4.752 GHz.
- Honeywell filed an application (with supporting exhibits) for experimental license to test integration of a direct digital radio link into small unmanned aerial vehicles. This is in support of two US Army programs and one US Navy program. The radio is manufactured by AeroVironment, Inc. Both command and control, as well as video downlink, utilize the same radio. Frequency bands requested are 1711.5-1721.5 MHz and 1755-1848 MHz. Operation will be in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
- Texas Tech University Wind Science and Engineering Research Center filed an application (with supporting exhibit) for special temporary authority to operate a Ka-band mobile radar systems in support of tornado research. Operation is to be at 34.86 GHz.
- Kestrel Signal Processing filed an application for special temporary authority to allow “testing of a novel cellular network technology that is compatible with standard GSM cellular handsets.” The operation will be on the grounds of, and overlap in time with, the Burning Man event held near Gerlach, Nevada Aug. 30 – Sept. 6, 2010. Operation will be on 869-894 MHz and 1930-1945 MHz.
- CenturyTel Broadband Wireless filed an application for special temporary authority to assess the performance of equipment manufactured by IPWireless (but not yet FCC type accepted) for providing 700 MHz rural broadband service. Operation is to be at Monroe, Louisiana on 736-746 MHz.
- Inmarsat Hawaii filed an application (with supporting exhibit) for special temporary authority to initiate a program of experimentation designed to facilitate the introduction of a new Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) user terminal type. The testing would attempt to gain knowledge with respect to link quality and to validate Inmarsat’s theoretical approach. Testing also would evaluate the interaction of the new terminal type with Inmarsat’s ground infrastructure. Inmarsat proposes to test the terminal type in the 1626.5- 1660.5 MHz transmit band and 1525.0-1559.0 MHz receive band.
- Cobham Defense Electronic Systems filed an application (with supporting exhibit) for experimental license to operate in Lowell, Massachusetts on various frequencies between 902 and 5925 MHz. Apparently, this is to be experimentation in support of the DARPA program Wireless Network after Next (WNaN). As the exhibit explains, the WNaN “program goal is to develop and demonstrate technologies and system concepts enabling densely deployed networks in which distributed and adaptive network operations compensate for limitations of the physical layer of the low-cost wireless nodes that comprise these networks. WNaN networks will manage node configurations and the topology of the network to reduce the demands on the physical and link layers of the nodes. The technology created by the WNaN effort will provide reliable and highly- available battlefield communications at low system cost.”
- Radio Design Group filed an application (with supporting exhibit) for experimental license to test a wireless intercom system that will utilize an Amplitude Companded Side Band (ACSB) RF platform. The applicant expects this to provide a stable and robust signal that is efficient in terms of transmission bandwidth and power. The applicant also expects this system to allow for an occupied bandwidth of 15 kHz per audio path including guard band. The system will be tested on 174-216 MHz and 470-512 MHz in the vicinity of Grants Pass, Oregon.
This summarizes a selection of applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during February 8-12: mobile satellite terminals, white space, smart grid, satellite infrastructure, submarine communications.
- Xtreme Hi-Tech files an application (with supporting exhibits) for experimental license to test a new type of mobile satellite antenna while it is mounted on an SUV. Operation it to be on 14.0-14.5 GHz in suburban Washington DC. Photos accompanying the filing show a Commtact mobile satellite terminal, which Xtreme Hi-Tech sells.
This describes a selection of applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during January 30 through February 7: surveillance radar, airborne telemetry, mobile services, satellite, and amateur radio.
- Lockheed Martin filed an application (with supporting exhibit) for an experimental license to operate three models of ICx Radar System’s perimeter surveillance radar on 35.5 GHz for R&D and customer demonstrations. This will occur at various locations in the US, but primarily in Syracuse, New York.
- Honeywell filed an application (with supporting exhibits) for special temporary authority to operate in the 1625-1725 MHz range while integrating a new AeroVironment radio with an unmanned aerial vehicle used by the military. A key feature of the radio is that both command and control, as well as video downlink, can be accomplished using the same unit. Operation will be in New Mexico . There is concern about protecting the 1660.5-1668.4 MHz radio astronomy band, and discussions are ongoing.
AT&T issued a press release announcing an upgrade of its wireless network air-interface to High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 Mbps technology.
Of equal note is the company’s comments on its backhaul connections. Not only can older backhaul networks constrain data throughput, they can fail to meet latency requirements for good-quality VoIP. AT&T says most of its mobile backhaul data will be carried on fiber-based, HSPA 7.2-capable backhaul networks by the end 2010, with deployment continuing into 2011.