Spectrum rules should be relaxed to meet data demands, claims DSA

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Wi-Fi, spectrum sharing and dynamic spectrum access are all vital to meet booming data demands, the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance has claimed.

Sama Nwana, Executive Director of the industry body, has said the traditional method of selling spectrum through auctions will not be enough to meet the expected growth in data usage, with the Internet of Things set to turbocharge the amount of mobile connections.

Nwana, a former Group Director of Spectrum Policy at UK regulator Ofcom, said several solutions need to be in place to cope. He said Wi-Fi offload was a significant solution to dealing with data traffic, citing European Broadcasting Union figures which said 45 percent of total mobile data was offloaded onto a fixed network through Wi-Fi or femtocell in 2013.

He added that new dynamic access technologies could be used to share spectrum bands that are not being used in most of the places most of the time. Finally, he said the industry needs to look at how existing assigned spectrum is accessed, suggesting new dynamic methods could help satisfy data usage.

Nwana commented: "Returning to the sharing theme, dynamic spectrum access refers to a set of technologies which allow wireless users to share access to spectrum: (i) enabling regulators to tailor the technical conditions to the particular location and time where the sharing is to occur; (ii) maximising spectrum usage efficiency and facilitating innovation; and most importantly, (iii) protecting incumbent services from harmful interference."

He said license exempt networks, using the likes of Bluetooth, Zigbee and RFID devices, are another means of connecting people and things. He said he expected new Wi-Fi technology such as IEEE 802.11ac and 802.11af to complement these.

Nwana made the remarks at the Pacific Telecommunications Council conference in Hawaii.

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