Commodity Wireless Technologies and Radio Regulations


If European industry is to be able to compete in the global wireless markets, radio regulations must shift in focus towards broadly applicable rules and away for the application and apparatus orientation of today. The EC’s Radio Equipment Directive further complicates matters by insisting on effective and efficient use of radio spectrum implemented in a measurable way. A major barrier to progress is the absence of suitable metrics for shared spectrum use and the efficiency of shared spectrum use. Such spectrum sharing metrics are required that provide a basis for that shift.
The technical paper Technology Agnostic Regulation for License Exempt Spectrum, co-authored with Dr. Peter Anker and published in January 2018 in the magazine Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance (DPRG) which succeeded INFO, also of the Emerald group. This paper provides spectrum sharing metrics and metrics for the effectiveness of adaptive medium access, out-of-band leakage and interference tolerance. The paper provides a complete toolkit for spectrum managers to define spectrum usage profiles for license exempt frequency bands that do not inhibit or restrain technology development and innovation and assure efficient spectrum use.

A more comprehensive view on spectrum sharing metrics was developed in the paper Sharing License Exempt Spectrum based multi-dimensional metrics, co-authored with Dr. Peter Anker and Dr.Roel Schiphorst, covers the intersection of technology and regulation. It has been published by INFO (Emerald group). By going back to basic physical considerations, the paper shows that two metrics – one for spectrum load and one for spectrum sharing efficiency – are sufficient to prevent misuse and to stimulate efficient use of scarce radio spectrum without throwing out the baby with the bathwater. De blogpost “Competition and Compliance” shows potential benefits of this approach.

Basic metrics for spectrum sharing, based on physical considerations, are developed in the publication Spectrum Sharing Metrics, also co-authored with Dr. Peter Anker and Dr.Roel Schiphorst, and was published by INFO (Emerald group) in 2014. It provides the foundation for the two publications above.

The book Sharing RF Spectrum with Commodity Wireless Technologies, was co-authored with Dr. Luke Chian of Wituners Ltd and published by Springer in September 2011. The book provides a broad background to spectrum matters and regulations as well as to commodity wireless technologies and their spectrum sharing behavior. The book also addresses the importance of wireless network management in realizing the full potential of license exempt wireless networks.

“Wireless Mesh Networks” – chapter 16 of Emerging Technologies in Wireless LAN under editorship of Benny Bing of Georgia Tech was published by Cambridge University Press, 2008. This extensive chapter deals with all aspects of wireless mesh networks making use of commodity wireless technologies.


Wi-Fi performance remains a difficult issue that is often dominated by the idea that more megabits per second is always better. The white paper Wi-Fi Performance and Capacity Analysis puts matters in a different perspective.

The advance of LTE – the long term evolution of cellular systems – is creating friction over interference from and towards incumbent users. A major concern is the secondary role that license exempt gear seems to play in the spectrum world. Notwithstanding the fact that the economic value of this type of equipment and the value generated by its use runs into many tens of billions, the amount of spectrum assigned to it is a fraction of the spectrum assigned to cellular systems. You will find more on that subject in License Exempt Spectrum for Short Range Devices and in the blog post “Unlicensed Value”.

High Density Networking involving a mix of devices is becoming a reality fast – faster than many have anticipated. The problems caused by HDH networking are numerous and potentially disastrous. The document High Density Wi-Fi Networks analyzes the issue and points towards ways forward.

Before the advent of IEEE 802.11 with MIMO, Voice over Wi-Fi used to be an issue. The white paper VoIP en Wi-Fi (in Dutch) describes this underlying causes and provides a solution based on channel assignments.

Optimizing Wi-Fi performance with dynamic RF power management or channelization gives different results – see the white paper Automatic Power&Channel management in Wi-Fi Networks.