Getting the most out of spectrum resources

Radio Frequency Users Association of New Zealand (RFUANZ)

By Corey Weir, Chairman, RFUANZ
Monday, 11 May, 2020



Getting the most out of spectrum resources

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Comms Connect and RFUANZ have been forced to postpone the annual conference and Gala Dinner until 9–10 September 2020. However, this date too remains fluid and an additional date has been pencilled in for 28–29 December 2020.

The venues remain the same as before, ie, the Lower Hutt Event Centre for the conference and exhibition and Te Papa, Te Marae for our Gala Dinner. The latter will be held on the evening of 9 September at this stage; however, confirmation of all these dates will be advised as things settle down. We wish to thank all our partners for continuing to support the RFUANZ and its events, especially during this disrupted period.

Much has been written about the Level 3 Installers Training Programme and the ease with which it can be undertaken. Now is the perfect time to begin while you have some time on your hands. You might qualify for the Fees Free program; but if not, then perhaps apply under the Student Loan Scheme, which has no up-front payments.

There is always assistance if you wish to undertake further study. For more information please visit the training section of our website, https://rfuanz.org.nz/training.

With the advent of the changeover from older analog radio technologies, and with many of the long-term radio spectrum management rights coming to an end, there is plenty of work being done to assess the best way to redistribute the available spectrum. We hope this is being done to achieve the best outcomes for all users of the spectrum and to maximise its benefit to society. The RFUANZ encourages all members to be a part of the discussions so that the Radio Spectrum Management team gets the full picture of the possible allocation options.

Two bands currently under review in New Zealand are 1710–2300 MHz and 3410–3800 MHz. These are currently used for anything from wireless microphones to fixed links, space operations to fixed multipoint broadband, and cellular technologies. Some allocations are nationwide and some are regional.

One of the questions I hear being asked a lot is, ‘How do we allocate this spectrum to get the most out of it and not waste it?’ This becomes more important as the frequencies get higher and the non-line-of-sight performance reduces. What you find is that when allocating large chunks of spectrum nationwide there will invariably be multiple areas where the service provider will never use the spectrum it owns, meaning it is essentially wasted. This is even more of a problem in countries like Australia with its large geographical area.

Spectrum users in New Zealand and Australia have been watching the developments in the USA ever since the FCC completed rules for the Citizens Broadband Radio Service in the 3.5 GHz band. These rules enable more efficient use of radio spectrum in smaller geographical areas with spectrum sharing, using dynamic spectrum access system databases. We have also seen many radio manufacturers back this type of technology as well, which is what is required to make any new idea successful and affordable.

Closer to home we have Federated Wireless Inc in Australia, which has been working for a long time to create a spectrum controller to enable more bandwidth for technologies such as private LTE and industrial IoT applications. Submissions to the ACMA regarding ‘spectrum sharing’ closed in September 2019 and it will be interesting to see what the outcome of the discussion will be. You can read the submissions here: https://www.acma.gov.au/consultations/2019-10/new-approaches-spectrum-sharing-consultation-252019.

The RFUANZ would like to ensure that all users of radio spectrum understand the new opportunities that could be brought about by this new approach to getting the most out of the limited spectrum available, and we encourage you to do your own research and participate in the ongoing debate.

Finally, workshops on how to become an Approved Radio Engineer or Approved Certifier, which were to have been held the day prior to Comms Connect New Zealand, have now been postponed. As yet we have not been advised of alternative dates. Should you have any questions or need to know more, please contact info@rsm.govt.nz.

Criteria on how to become an Approved Radio Engineer or Approved Certifier can be found on the RSM website at https://www.rsm.govt.nz/engineers-and-examiners/how-to-become-an-approved-radio-engineer-or-certifier/.

Corey Weir

Chairman

Radio Frequency Users Association of New Zealand

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