Understanding the Kaleidoscope of Unlicensed Spectrum

These are exciting, if not confounding, times for those trying to comprehend the whirlwind of expansion coming to unlicensed spectrum bands. The simple share access model employed today in the unlicensed Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) bands will not be a sufficient model when new targeted licensed bands will soon start sharing their bandwidth. And not all bands can be treated equally, at least not from a policy perspective. A wide range of policies and restrictions will be forthcoming which will impact how, where and when these new shared spectrum bands can be used and by whom. This white paper offers a brief overview of the situation and speculates on where it is likely headed. Of course, there are many views on shared spectrum, some more optimistic than others. In fact, one might say that some view the situation through “rose coloured glasses” creating a collective kaleidoscope of spectrum options. This white paper attempts to balance the many and varied perspectives on the issue in order to answer the most critical question: What is the bottom line on this kaleidoscope of open spectrum?