Good Neighbors: How and When to Share Spectrum

With so many wireless technologies today — smartphones, autonomous vehicles, the internet of things — we rely on sufficient spectrum to provide efficient access for these devices and systems. What spectrum-sharing options can the U.S. government establish to maximize wireless technology?

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Examples of wireless technology

The increased demand for constant wireless connectivity generates a corresponding demand for access to the radio frequency (RF) spectrum. This demand presents a challenge in that there is very little unoccupied RF spectrum for new wireless technologies — much of it is already spoken for by existing systems that are providing vital services, such as air traffic control, weather forecasting, GPS, remote news feeds, broadcasting, and national defense. The solution? Spectrum sharing, which is defined as “any approach enabling multiple systems to use the same RF spectrum.” What are the specific challenges to achieving spectrum sharing, and how can they be overcome?