Saturday, October 13, 2007

Managing "Open Access", "White Spaces", & Unlicensed Spectrum

There's more than a few issues and challenges open for consideration and debate when it comes to allowing more and more "open access" and license-free use of the radio spectrum as the authors of this 2005 white paper attempt to point out....

"Managing Shared Access to a Spectrum Commons"
(Presented at the IEEE DySpan2005 - Baltimore - November 2005 By William Lehr and Jon Crowcroft)


The open access, unlicensed or spectrum commons approach to managing shared access to RF spectrum offers many attractive benefits, especially when implemented in conjunction with and as a complement to a regime of market-based, flexible use, tradable licensed spectrum.

However, as a number of critics have pointed out, implementing the unlicensed model poses difficult challenges that have not been well-addressed yet by commons advocates.

A successful spectrum commons will not be unregulated, but it also need not be command & control by another name. This paper seeks to address some of the implementation challenges associated with managing a spectrum commons. We focus on the minimal set of features that we believe a suitable management protocol, etiquette, or framework for a spectrum commons will need to incorporate.

This includes: (1) No transmit only devices; (2) Power restrictions; (3) Common channel signaling; (4) Mechanism for handling congestion and allocating resources among users/uses in times of congestion; (5) Mechanism to support enforcement (e.g., established procedures to verify protocol is in conformance); (6) Mechanism to support reversibility of policy; and (7) Protection for privacy and security.

We explain why each is necessary, examine their implications for current policy, and suggest ways in which they might be implemented.
We present a framework that suggests a set of design principles for the protocols that will govern a successful commons management regime. Our design rules lead us to conclude that the appropriate Protocols for a Commons will need to be more liquid than in the past: (1) Market-based instead of C&C; (2) Decentralized/distributed; and, (3) Adaptive and flexible (Anonymous, distributed, decentralized, and locally responsive).

Offered as suggested background reading and insight in light of the big push for these by the TV "white spaces" proponents, the Cognitive Radio/SDR folks, and the Google's, Intel's, and Microsoft's of the new wireless world.


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