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How Lasers Can Light the Path to Spectrum Sharing

May 17, 2024


Lidar, a sensing method that uses light waves, has been around since the 1960s when the United States developed it as a military technology for defense and aerospace uses. But the advent of publicly-available lidar data has made it a crucial tool for helping radio scientists inside and outside of government better predict where objects like trees and buildings will likely interrupt a wireless signal. These more accurate predictions can enable more opportunities for government and non-government users to share the airwaves.

By measuring the time it takes for a laser pulse to return to its sending point, a lidar system measures and records the shapes and heights of buildings, trees, and other surface features to create a very precise three-dimensional model of an environment. Spectrum sharing relies on these propagation models to predict signal strength between two points, such as a cell phone and a government system like an air traffic control radar.  

With high-precision information about the environment, radio scientists can better understand the layout and orientation of obstructive objects — known as “clutter” — that can decrease an interfering signal’s strength, increasing the ability of multiple systems to share the same spectrum.

A Bright Future for Wireless Innovation at the RIC Forum

May 16, 2024

Byline: Jeremy Glenn, Program Management Specialist

The future of wireless innovation is bright.  

NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS), in collaboration with the Department of Defense’s FutureG Office, recently hosted the RIC (RAN Intelligent Controller) Forum in Dallas, Texas.  

Thanks to our incredible partners from U.S. federal agencies, governments abroad, academia, and industry, we had a packed house filled with live technology demonstrations from around the world. The event showcased what’s possible when government, academic and industry collaborate and share technical knowledge.  

The demonstrations and high engagement from attendees underscored why the RIC Forum is drawing such a high level of international attention and interest. Thanks to advances in the RAN Intelligent Controller, or RIC, Open RAN has the potential to spur energy efficiency, automation, spectrum management, and more.  

Open RAN is an approach to radio access network design that leverages open, interoperable, and standards-based elements to form a virtualized and disaggregated network. The RIC is the intelligence that controls the network’s behavior. When third party xApps and rApps are deployed in the RIC, the network can dynamically optimize the network for new priorities like energy saving, security, or spectrum management.  

Transforming Spectrum Sharing: NTIA Seeks to Fund Innovation in Software Defined Radio Technology

May 14, 2024

By: Charles Cooper, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management

NTIA’s new round of funding from the $1.5 billion Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund presents a unique opportunity to advance spectrum-sensing technology, in turn potentially driving more efficient use of airwaves for the public and private sectors.

Spectrum sharing is an effective way to increase commercial access to spectrum resources while protecting and enhancing government operations. Spectrum-sensing technology incorporated into a sharing system or framework could protect incumbent operators while making more spectrum available for other beneficial uses. These sensor technologies would be able to detect and identify government radio signals among all of the various radio signals and avoid interfering with them.  

One objective of this funding opportunity’s second focus area is to propel the development of advanced Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology that meets the needs of modern mobile networks. Projects funded under this initiative will target several critical advancements:

An Update on Implementing the National Spectrum Strategy

April 25, 2024

By Charles Cooper, Associate Administrator, NTIA Office of Spectrum Management

NTIA is hard at work implementing the National Spectrum Strategy. First up: initiating technical studies of spectrum bands – including a process to streamline funding to federal agencies – and kicking off the exploration and demonstration of advanced spectrum management techniques including Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS).

On the band studies, NTIA is streamlining the pipeline plan process so that federal agencies can obtain funding from the Spectrum Relocation Fund (SRF)—what is commonly referred to as “pipeline” funding—for their studies.  Right away, we will be using this streamlined SRF process for both the Lower 3 GHz band and the 7/8 GHz band studies.  We expect that more than 10 federal agencies will seek funding, and our hope is this streamlined process will make the application process easier and quicker for these agencies.

Agency requests for SRF funds generally involve several steps.  

Building an NTIA to Meet This Historic Moment

April 24, 2024

By Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator 

At NTIA, tech policy is what we do. From connecting everyone in America to the Internet, to managing federal airwaves, to crafting policy for emerging innovations like artificial intelligence systems, our goal is to make sure important technologies are developed in the service of people and progress.

To help reach that goal, I’m pleased to announce key additions to our leadership team.

Shiva Goel will join the Office of the Assistant Secretary as Senior Advisor for Spectrum Policy. He joins NTIA from the Federal Communications Commission, where he served as Legal Advisor to Commissioner Geoffrey Starks. Mr. Goel was previously a partner in the telecom, appellate, and litigation practices of Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP, where he advised on wireless, space policy, and universal service issues.  

Francella Ochillo joins NTIA as Director of Public Engagement. Ms. Ochillo is a technology policy expert who specializes in promoting digital citizenship. She comes to NTIA from Georgetown University, where she served as a Technology and Society Fellow. She has served as a non-profit leader, an academic, and an attorney.