FCC Launches Website for Researchers to Apply for Experimental Spectrum Licenses

This year many mobile carriers are launching early services for 5G - the next generation wireless technology that promises speeds 10 to 100 times faster than existing 4G LTE technologies. A number of technology companies are testing devices and systems for the Internet of Things that will require the faster speeds and increased capacity.

To make research and development for 5G and other revolutionary applications of wireless communications easier, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched a new web portal that lets researchers apply for a program experimental license. The new application system reduces barriers to experimentation for universities, research laboratories, health care institutions, and manufacturers with demonstrated experience in radio frequency technology, and provides an overarching licensing program for innovative entities to rapidly acquire specific experimental licenses on an ongoing, as-needed basis in designated campus areas.

NYU WIRELESS and the University of Colorado Boulder were chosen by the FCC to help test, debug, and provide feedback on the web-based licensing system. NYU WIRELESS became the first applicant to receive the program experimental license using the new portal.

The FCC has two websites within the experimental license platform: the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology's Experimental Licensing System, for which he verified log-in and application procedures; and the new Experiments Notification System, which lets a program experimental licensee alert others of plans to conduct research within a particular radio band within a particular geographic region. This feature of transparency allows entities that hold licenses in those bands - as well as those who stand to be affected by the applicant's research - to object or to comment.

The FCC's move launches a new tool that will hopefully reduce the wait time for government authorization to do cutting-edge research and experimental transmissions. The Office of Engineering and Technology grants more than 2,000 requests for experimental licenses annually, to more than 600 universities, researchers, businesses, and other innovators, according to Julius Knapp, Chief of the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology.

To speed the development of 5G, NYU WIRELESS last year launched the first open-access mmWave channel simulator software (NYUSIM) with a complete statistical spatial channel model, which is based on the research group's experiments showing the channel characteristics at mmWave frequencies.