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Underutilized Spectrum: Wireless Transmission - Technologies, Applications and Markets

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  • 252 Pages
  • January 2018
  • Region: Global
  • PracTel Inc
  • ID: 4060473

One of the main issues in the developing of 5G communications is the limited amount of an available spectrum. The industry is trying to find solutions to ease this problem.

Among multiple methods to cope with scarcity of available spectrum, two directions seem very promising. They are:

  • Intensification of utilization already occupied spectrum windows
  • Identification and utilization of vacant (or almost vacant) spectrum windows.

This report addresses only the second approach; and particular it concentrates on the following technologies:

  • Optical Wireless Communications (OWC)
    • VLC - Visible Light Communication
    • FSF - Free Space Fiber
  • CR/SDR – Cognitive/Software Defined Radio
  • TV White Space Communications (TVWSC)
  • E-band Radio. 

OWC includes VLC and FSF. Both these technologies utilize - free (or more precisely, very lightly occupied) frequency spectrum.

OWC is widely recognized as superior to radio frequency transmission for several use cases. Visible and invisible optical wireless links solve first/last mile connectivity problems, serve for signal distribution inside of premises, and provide secure, jam-free communication. OWC is license-free and can potentially deliver high-speed data rates in the order of tens Gb/s. Its advantages have fostered significant research efforts aimed at utilizing optical wireless communication, e.g. VLC, for high-speed, secure, indoor/outdoor communication under the IEEE 802.15.7 and other standards; as well as FSF for indoor and outdoor communications.

Both technologies are using free space as a communications medium; though they utilize such a medium in different ways and have both similar and specific communications channel properties.

Cognitive/Software Defined Radio allows the analysis of spectrum occupancy in a particular area and particular time.  Based on such an analysis, cognitive engine can adjust frequency bands on SDR (together with other parameters) in such a way that transmission will fill up unoccupied windows (if they exist).

TVWSC is an example of one of the first commercial applications of CR/SDR.

E-band radios attract attention of the 5G community due to their features, such as “light” licensing, lightly occupied spectrum and the range of several kilometers together with multi-gigabit per second speed of transmission.

The report surveys the industries, addresses technical and marketing specifics of all mentioned technologies and concentrates on their standardization.

Attachments present the survey of resent patents related to TVWS, IEEE802.22 and IEEE 802.11af, and IEEE802.15.7.

The report was developed for a wide audience of engineers and managers that are working with advanced communications technologies.

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction
1.1 5G Concern
1.2 OWC
1.2.1 Structure
1.2.2 LED as Communications Transmitter
1.2.3 Free Space Fiber
1.4 CR/SDR
1.5 E-band Radio
1.6 Scope
1.7 Research Methodology
1.8 Target Audience
2.0 LED Specifics
2.1 General
2.2 Spectrum
2.3 Types
2.4 LED Modulation
2.4.1 Limitations
2.5 LED Evolution
2.5.1 General
2.5.2 Benefits
2.5.3 Market Characteristics
2.5.4 Factors
3.0 Visible Light Communications
3.1 General
3.1.1 Drivers
3.1.2 Industry Activity UC-Light Center Li-Fi Consortium
3.2 VLC Standards Development
3.2.1 IEEE 802.15.7 Standard Considerations Project Coexistence Essence Base Use Cases Physical Layer General Responsibilities Types Error Protection Rates Frequency Plan PHY Services Regulations MAC Layer Topologies Responsibilities Functionalities Security
3.2.2 IEEE 802.15.7r Standard
3.2.3 IEEE 802.15.13 Standard
3.2.4 VLCA General Jeita
3.3 Details
3.3.1 Communications Channel
3.3.2 Transmitter
3.3.3 Receiver Image Sensors
3.3.4 Major Characteristics General Modulation VLC Channel: Characteristics Summary Limiting Factors
3.3.5 Applications: Summary ITS Optical Wireless LAN Medical Localization City Wide Wireless Network Summary
3.4 Companies and Organizations
Fraunhofer IPMS
Nakagawa Laboratories
Outstanding Technology
Supreme Architecture
3.5 Market
3.6 5G View
3.6.1 Attocell
3.6.2 Cell Structures
4.0 Free Space Fiber
4.1 General
4.2 Major Characteristics
4.3 Protection
4.4 Applications
4.4.1 Major Use Cases
4.4.2 Requirements
4.4.3 Inter-satellite Links
4.4.4 Intra-building Communications
4.4.5 Inter-building Communications
4.5 FSF Communications Benefits and Limitations: Summary
4.5.1 Weather Factor
4.5.2 Building Swaying
4.6 Design Issues
4.7 Customers
4.8 FSF Market
4.8.1 General
4.8.2 Market Drivers Market Segments
4.8.3 Competition Fiber Optics Systems Microwave PONs
4.8.4 Forecast General Model Assumptions Structure Market Estimate
4.9 Vendors
Canon USA
Dailianxu Engineering Company
Space Photonics
4.10 Standards
4.10.1 ITU G.640
4.10.2 ITU-R P.1814-2007
4.11 VLC and FSF
5.0 Software Defined and Cognitive Radios
5.1 General
5.2 Purpose
5.3 Definitions (WIF, FCC, ITU)
5.3.1 SDR Multi-tiers: SDR
5.3.2 Cognitive Radio Details
5.4 Regulations
5.4.1 FCC Equipment Type Process Application Guide First Approval
5.4.2 ITU
5.4.3 Ofcom
5.5 Standardization
5.5.1 ITU-R
5.5.2 ETSI Major Points
5.5.3 3GPP
5.5.4 IEEE
5.5.5 NASA
5.6 Design Issues
5.7 Properties
5.7.1 Layers
5.7.2 Features: Details Versatility
5.7.3 Issues
5.8 SDR Implementations
5.9 Applications
5.9.1 Commercial
5.9.2 CR/SDR in Military SCA ESSOR: European Secure SOftware Defined Radio
5.9.3 Public Safety Communications (PSC)
5.10 CR/SDR: Benefits
5.11 Impact - CR
5.11.1 Geographical Differences
5.12 Market
5.12.1 Landscape Factors
5.12.2 Cost
5.12.3 Different Perspective
5.12.4 Market Drivers-Summary
5.12.5 Market Forecast Model Assumptions Estimate Segments Geography Components
5.13 Industry
Aeronix (SDR Components)
AirNet Communications (SDR Base Stations)
AirSpan (BS)
Airbus DS
Analog Devises (Chipsets)
BAE Systems
Cambridge Consultants (PHY, Base Station)
Carlson Wireless (Platform)
Coherent Logix (SDR)
General Dynamics (SDR)
DataSoft (SDR Design, SW)
Datron World Communications (SDR)
Digital Receiver Technology (Radio Modules)
Ettus Research (Platform)
Etherstack (Software)
Ericsson (BS)
Green Hills (Software)
Harris (SDR)
Huawei (Platform)
Intel (Platform)
Lockheed Martin (SDR)
Lyrtech-Nutaq (DSP and FPGA)
Motorola Solutions (BS)
Nokia (Base Station)
Northrup Grumman
Objective Interface Systems (Software)
Octasic (SDR)
Redline Communications (Platform)
Rockwell Collins (Radios)
Spectrum Signal Processing (Platforms)
Thales (Radio)
TI (Chips)
Vanu (Base Stations)
Xilinx (Chips, SDR Development Kit)
xG Technology (CR)
ZTE (Platforms)
Commercial CR/SDR Application: TVWSC
6.0 TV White Spaces
6.1 White Spaces Communications - Principles
6.1.1 Definition
6.1.2 Rational
6.1.3 Ecosystem and Use Cases
6.2 Standardization and Industry
6.2.1 Broadband Internet Wireless Access WS Alliance Wi-FAR WSAConnect Wireless Innovation Forum (WIF) – WS General Contributions
6.2.2 TVWSC IEEE-related Standards IEEE 802.11af - 2013 General: Expectations – Wi-Fi on Steroids Differences Benefits Specifics Building Blocks PHY Summary IEEE 802.22 – 2011 General WG 802.22 and FCC Mechanism Physical Layer – Major Characteristics Frames Cognitive Functions and MAC MAC Features Summary-IEEE802.22
6.2.3 ECMA-392-2012
6.3 Industry
Carlson Wireless
Redline Communications
Saankhya Labs Pvt. Ltd
6.4 M2M and TVWS
6.4.1 Weightless Technologies
6.4.2 Weightless SIG
6.4.3 Weightless-W Weightless-W Specifics Changes
7.0 E-band Radio
7.1 Benefits
7.1.1 Typical Characteristics
7.2 Market
7.3 Industry
E-band Communications
Filtronic/Escape Communications
8.0 Conclusions
ATTACHMENT I: WS-related Patents
ATTACHMENT II: 802.22-related Patents
ATTACHMENT III: 802.11af-related Patents
ATTACHMENT IV: 802.15.7-related Patents
List of Figures
Figure 1: OWC Illustration
Figure 2: LED Structure
Figure 3: LED Spectrum
Figure 4: White LED Properties Illustration
Figure 5: Estimate: Lighting LED Market –U.S. ($B)
Figure 6: Estimate: Lighting LED Market –U.S. (Bil. Units Shipped)
Figure 7: LED Price Factor
Figure 8: Cost and Brightness- Light Sources
Figure 9: Characteristics
Figure 10: Topologies
Figure 11: Illustration-VLC Channel
Figure 12: VLC Market Categories
Figure 13: Estimate: VLC Market – Global ($B)
Figure 14: VLC Market Geography (2017)
Figure 15: Simplified FSF Channel Diagram
Figure 16:  FSF Market Segments
Figure 17:  Estimate: FSF Market Value ($M)
Figure 18:  FSF Market Geography
Figure 19: Conceptual View: CR/SDR
Figure 20: Reconfigurable BS
Figure 21: ETSI SDR: Functional Architecture
Figure 22: SDR and OSI Reference Model
Figure 23: CR – Cell Network
Figure 24: PSC Specifics
Figure 25: Global Sales: SDR-based Equipment ($B)
Figure 26: SDR/CR Market Segments
Figure 27: SDR Market Geography (2016)
Figure 28: Components
Figure 29: Illustration – E-band Radio – Backhauling Mobile Network
Figure 30: Regulations
Figure 31: E-Band Radio Generations-Characteristics
Figure 32: Estimate: Global Market-SC Backhaul-E-band Radio ($B)
List of Tables
Table 1: VLC and FSF
Table 2: Wavelengths (nm)
Table 3: Properties - Laser vs. LED
Table 4: Light Sources Characteristics
Table 5: Use Cases - VLC
Table 6: Devices and Characteristics
Table 7: PHY
Table 8: Frequency Plan
Table 9: VLC/RF Properties
Table 10: VL, IR and RF Communications ITS Applications Comparison
Table 11: Locations Technologies-VLC Place
Table 12: SDR Tiers
Table 13: CR Features
Table 14: U.S. – PSC Users
Table 15: SDR Market Drivers
Table 16: TVWS Regulations
Table 17: IEEE WS-related Standards
Table 18: 802.22 – Major Characteristics
Table 19: Iceni Characteristics

Companies Mentioned

  • Adaptrum  
  • Aeronix
  • Airbus DS  
  • AirNet Communications
  • AirSpan
  • Analog Devises
  • Aviacomm  
  • Axrtek  
  • BAE Systems  
  • CableFree  
  • Cambridge Consultants
  • Canon USA  
  • Carlson Wireless 
  • Casio  
  • CBL  
  • Coherent Logix
  • Dailianxu Engineering Company  
  • DataSoft
  • Datron World Communications
  • Digital Receiver Technology
  • DragonWave  
  • E-band Communications  
  • Elbit  
  • Ericsson
  • Etherstack
  • Ettus Research
  • Filtronic/Escape Communications  
  • Firefly  
  • Fraunhofer IPMS  
  • fSONA  
  • Fujitsu  
  • General Dynamics
  • Green Hills
  • Guilin  
  • Harris
  • Huawei
  • Infineon  
  • Intel
  • Intracom  
  • KTS  
  • LightBee  
  • LightPointe    
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Loea  
  • LVX  
  • Lyrtech-Nutaq
  • Motorola Solutions
  • Nakagawa Laboratories  
  • NEC  
  • Nokia
  • Northrup Grumman  
  • Objective Interface Systems
  • Octasic
  • Oledcomm  
  • Outstanding Technology  
  • PAV  
  • Plaintree  
  • PureVLC-PureLi-Fi  
  • Qualcomm     
  • Redline Communications  
  • Renesas  
  • Rockwell Collins
  • Saankhya Labs Pvt. Ltd Aviat  
  • Siklu   
  • SmartSignals  
  • Space Photonics
  • Spectrum Signal Processing
  • Supreme Architecture  
  • TCL/Sunpartner
  • Thales
  • TI
  • Vanu
  • xG Technology
  • Xilinx
  • ZTE


Considerable research was done using the Internet. Information from various Web sites was studied and analyzed; evaluation of publicly available marketing and technical publications was conducted.

Telephone conversations and interviews were held with industry analysts, technical experts and executives. In addition to these interviews and primary research, secondary sources were used to develop a more complete mosaic of the market landscape, including industry and trade publications, conferences and seminars.

The overriding objective throughout the work has been to provide valid and relevant information. This has led to a continual review and update of the information content.