NTIA proposals loosen 3.5 GHz restrictions

March 26th, 2015

NTIA has made several proposals in the FCC’s 3.5 GHz proceeding that would greatly increase areas of the country in which the proposed Citizens Broadband Radio Service can be provided.

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IEEE 802 and 3GPP step up collaboration on LAA

March 23rd, 2015

IEEE 802 and 3GPP are working together more on coexistence of Licensed Authorized Access (LAA) and Wi-Fi. Since November, each group has made a presentation to the other. There’s been an exchange of liaison statements, the latest on March 18 when IEEE 802 sent 3GPP two statements containing several requests and recommendations.

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Google files experimental applications to test in 3.5, 5.8, 24, 72, and 82 GHz bands

October 14th, 2014

On October 13 Google filed two experimental radio applications with the FCC. The first seeks permission to test in the 3.5 GHz band in Mountain View, California and in suburban Washington D.C. The second is for testing in the 5.8, 24, 72, and 82 GHz bands in Mountain View and San Mateo County, California. The applications are redacted. Most technical detail is unavailable, but here’s what’s visible.

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Google files to test millimeter-wave data with airborne terminals

September 25th, 2014

Google has applied to the FCC to conduct “airborne” testing of data over millimeter-wave frequencies in Northern Nevada. I saw the frequencies and thought this was another test of millimeter-wave radar for automatic cruise control; Google has applied to test that several times since 2011. The emission designators for the current transmissions, however, contain the symbols D1D; that’s data, not radar. An application to the FCC to test millimeter-wave data is a first for Google.

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Google files “confidential” application with FCC for drone tests in New Mexico

September 15th, 2014

Google has filed an application with the FCC to conduct drone tests in New Mexico. The company has sought confidential treatment of its application form and exhibits. All we have to go by now is one exhibit that’s been redacted for public consumption. Google provides some detail, and we can try to infer some more.

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Looking at radio wave interaction as an electromagnetic Newton’s cradle

July 16th, 2014

The interaction of radio waves in free space has never been much of a concern to this wireless engineer. Propagation models do a pretty good job of estimating received signal strength. Receivers are designed to select desired signals and reject undesired ones, within limits. “Interference takes place in the receiver,” I’ve heard more than once. Yes, there are a lot of signals in the air at once, but I’m more interested in the end result.

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TIA converges on the network of the future

June 9th, 2014

Once a year the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) holds a membership meeting that looks forward to tomorrow’s networks. Last week I moderated a spectrum panel at the “Network of the Future” conference in Dallas, and stayed for the rest of the wireless track (parallel tracks I didn’t attend related to software-defined networking and big data).

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Sinclair outlines converged broadcast/broadband vision

May 21st, 2014

Sinclair Broadcast Group, the country’s largest TV group owner, is also a communications technology proponent. With partner Coherent Logix, a developer of software defined radio (SDR) technology, it’s behind one of several systems up for consideration in the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) for next-generation television in the U.S.. The new standard will be known as ATSC 3.0.

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Google files with FCC for what might be connected-car experiment

March 14th, 2014

Update March 27, 2014: A few days after this application was filed, it was apparently withdrawn. The links below to the application form and exhibits no longer work, and I see no trace of the application. The essential application information is still in my original post below. I don’t know why the application was withdrawn. The application was apparently prepared by an engineer based at a Google office in Seattle. To me, it seemed incomplete in some aspects. Usually, such applications are prepared by Google’s attorneys; I speculate this caught the attorneys unaware, they didn’t like it, and they pulled the application for their review. Look for it to be recast and filed again. 


Google yesterday filed an application with the FCC for an experimental radio license that apparently involves connected-car technology. No specific location for the experiment is indicated; it’s to take place in the “Seattle and San Francisco areas.” A total of 10,000 transmitting units are involved, with 5,000 being custom experimental devices manufactured by Google, and 5,000 consisting of off-the-shelf CSR CSR8311 Bluetooth ICs, which the manufacturer describes as the “first Wideband Speech IC qualified for the automotive market” and “the first Bluetooth low energy IC ready for automotive use.” I speculate the IC will be used in combination with the Google device, for a total of 5,000 experimental radio systems. There’s only one frequency band (2402-2480 MHz) and one emission designator (1M00F1D) specified in the application; these parameters are consistent with Bluetooth, so the custom Google transmitter would seem to have Bluetooth-like emissions.

Supporting exhibits are usually filed with experimental applications. Google has done so, but designated them “not available,” presumably invoking confidentiality provisions of the FCC’s Rules. It’s standard FCC practice to have the applicant make the confidentiality request visible to the public. Google has not. Furthermore, from the exhibit descriptions, it appears Google has not even filed a confidentiality request. I expect the FCC to ask Google to do so and to make it public. If there are updates to this application, I’ll update this post.


Google files confidential experimental radio application at the FCC (updated)

January 23rd, 2014

On January 22 Google filed an experimental radio application at the FCC. The company has requested confidential treatment of the application, so significant portions aren’t publicly available.

As part of the filing, Google filed a request for confidentiality, which is public. It contains a few technical details. Two separate transmitter types are identified, both operating at low power in the range 76-77 GHz, and using FM and BPSK modulation. The 76-77 GHz band is used for short-range vehicular radar and, knowing Google’s interest in vehicles, it’s reasonable to assume that is what the experiment involves.

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Ofcom studies options for improving in-building mobile coverage

January 16th, 2014

A study commissioned by UK telecom regulator Ofcom examines tradeoffs among many mobile indoor-coverage technologies, and suggests the agency help consumers learn more about them.

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Positioning LTE Direct against other proximity-aware technologies

August 24th, 2013

LTE Direct, now being standardized in 3GPP as part of Release 12, is a platform for directly discovering and connecting nearby peers. Qualcomm and Samsung sponsored an LTE Direct workshop earlier this year in which several major operators participated. A few days ago Qualcomm made available a white paper, prepared jointly by some of the participants, that summarizes key points from the workshop.

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FCC boosts power limit for outdoor unlicensed 60 GHz links

August 11th, 2013

The FCC has adopted a Report and Order that raises the power limit for outdoor links operating in the 57-64 GHz band on an unlicensed basis. The average equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) limit is raised from 40 dBm (10 watts) to a maximum of 82 dBm (158,489 watts) depending on how high the antenna gain is. The peak power limit is 3 dB higher. The new power limit is comparable to others the FCC has in the fixed microwave services.This increase is expected to enable higher-capacity outdoor links extending to about one mile. Connection of buildings on a campus is one application, as is connections of small cells within a 4G macrocell. In addition to higher power limits, the FCC also changed the way 60 GHz emissions are specified for consistency with other rules, and it eliminated the need for certain 60 GHz devices to transmit an identifier.

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FCC OKs debris detection radar for airports

July 12th, 2013

The FCC has issued a Report and Order amending its rules to allow foreign object debris (FOD) detection radar equipment at airports. FOD covers a variety of debris that can collect on airport surfaces, possibly damaging aircraft. These systems will be permitted to operate in the 78-81 GHz band on a licensed basis. The FCC says it is considering other uses of the band in other proceedings. Mitchell Lazarus at the CommLawBlog provides a summary of this proceeding’s history and main issues.

LightSquared requests extension of experimental authority

July 12th, 2013

LightSquared has asked the FCC for extension of experimental authority to conducts tests in support of a proposed frequency swap, saying it needs more time.

In March, I wrote about the original request for this experiment. That authority expires July 20. On the new application form, LightSquared says it expects experimental operation to be completed by September 30, 2013.

The form is accompanied by a supporting exhibit, similar to the first, but with LightSquared taking the opportunity to “clarify” a few points:

  • When LightSquared says “continental United States,” it includes Alaska
  • LightSquared emphasizes that its cooperation with federal agencies extends to NOAA
  • Having had some coordination discussions with federal agencies,  LightSquared says it won’t conduct experimental operation at certain specified locations, but will at others if they are acceptable to the FCC, NTIA, and NOAA.