Commodity Wireless Technologies and Radio Regulations

About SpectrumConsult

This consultancy was created to leverage the 40-odd years of experience in the ICT industry chalked up by its founder, Jan Kruys, while serving Cisco Systems, Agere Systems, Lucent Technologies, AT&T and NCR. This experience includes data communications, development of standards for secure networks and protocols – in ECMA and ANSI X9 – and more recently standards and radio regulations for wireless networks. Responsibilities included representing Cisco in the IEEE802.11 and 802.18 Committees, the Wi-Fi Alliance, the ETSI BRAN project and in the Regulatory Working Group of the WiMAX Forum. Today I represent Qorvo Utrecht BV, part of international Qorvo Inc, a major RF component supplier, in a number of ECC and ETSI gremia.
Prior experience includes more than 25 years of active participation in data communications technology analysis, network security, development and standardization as well as radio regulations. This work included the IEEE 802.11 Committee, Wi-Fi Alliance, the ETSI-BRAN and ERM project groups, a number of CEPT project teams and in ITU-R preparations for WRC 2003 at which 455 MHz of new, license exempt spectrum was made available for wireless LANs. Other valuable background includes participation in major EU R&D projects like Magic Wand (wireless ATM on OFDM) and FITNESS (MIMO for 3G and wireless LANs).
From these projects date contacts with regulatory policy experts and policy makers in the EC, and a number of EU member states, including the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands as well as in the research community.
I am a member of the IEEE Benelux chapter and have developed and submitted 20 patents (some still pending) on wireless networks and security technologies.

My CV is available here


Wireless technologies span a huge range of characteristics – from mobile telephony systems like LTE that operate in licensed spectrum to Wi-Fi with MIMO that delivers more than 3000 Mbits per second over short distances operating in license exempt spectrum. Bluetooth and Zigbee are other examples of wireless technologies that have successfully achieved widespread use.
License exempt wireless technologies have proven to be a very fertile ground for the development of new, innovative products and services. They find application in a wide variety of uses that is constantly increasing – from small cameras to large in-flight entertainment systems on board aircraft.
The emergence of the “smart grid” concept promises to revolutionize the generation, delivery and consumption of energy and water – the stuff of life for all of us. Wireless technologies will play a major role in the smart grid of the future.
To be effective, wireless technologies must be secure and able to protect the information they carry against eavesdropping as well as against active misuse. Although there is a choice of security techniques available, few are geared to match the complexity of the data flows and distribution of functions in large, interconnected networks that comprise both wired and wireless technologies. The wireless Intelligent Transportation Systems – Car-2-Car and V2X are examples – and the smart grid networks coming on-line – are examples of networks which open up new possibilities for services and applications, both for public use and for enterprise/institutional use.

License exempt spectrum

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are the poster children of how spectrum license exemption can enable the emergence of new technologies with major economic and societal impact. The provision of such spectrum started in the late 1980’s with the FCC opening the 2.4GHz band–already in use for industrial, scientific and medical applications – to “spread spectrum communications” designed to minimize interference and be robust against interference impact. Since then, regulators world-wide have followed suit. In 2003, the ITU-R added 455MHz of spectrum in the 5GHz band. This is the main growth area for wireless LANs using Wi-Fi MIMO technology. In addition, spectrum managers in the US and Europe are working towards the release of another 600+ MHz of spectrum in the 6GHz band.
However, some of this spectrum is in use by incumbent services – e.g. radar systems in the 5GHz band, fixed links in the 6GHz band – and conflicts about protective measures and interference burdens will be a constant factor for license exempt systems and services.
Following the success of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, regulators throughout the world have recognized the importance of spectrum liberalization as a means to foster the development of new, wireless IT and A/V products and services. The direction taken by the FCC, and more recently by the EU and some of its member states includes making more spectrum available for licensed, shared use and/or trading. This policy assumes that advanced technologies will solve the inevitable spectrum sharing issues.

Players and Fora

Key players in wireless technologies are ICT companies, notably the silicon providers, and the ICT standards bodies such as the IEEE’s 802 Committee, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the Wi-Fi Alliance, the Bluetooth SIG, the Zigbee Alliance – to name a few.
The regulatory authorities whose policies enable and shape these markets include the FCC in the US and the ECC in Europe. The latter develops spectrum policies that provide the technical basis for the EC’s technical regulations for radio equipment. These technical regulations are laid down in harmonised standards developed by ETSI and published in the EU’s Official Journal. Together with their national counterparts in leading countries like Australia, Brazil and Canada the regulatory authorities of the US and Europe co-operate in the ITU-R who provide an international framework for regulatory coordination of spectrum use.