In Harmony: Smart Cars and High Speed Wi-Fi

Two FCC Commissioners recently made the case that the Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) band at 5.9 GHz, currently being used to test smart car technologies, had enough room to handle the growing need for high speed wireless connectivity. While there is concern from automakers that sharing this band could cause roadway dangers by interfering with vehicle communications, the FCC eloquently made the case that expanding opportunities for use of the 5.9 GHz band was the right thing to do.

Federated Wireless’ SAS technology could be readily extended to the 5.9 GHz band to enable Wi-Fi operation while alleviating concerns of automakers. By using the same principles of the 3.5 GHz band spectrum sharing framework, the SAS can proactively manage the DSRC spectrum to ensure life-critical services are not interrupted while maximizing spectrum available for high speed Wi-Fi.  Analogizing the 3.5 GHz three-tier model to 5.9 GHz systems:

  • 1. In-band satellite and radar systems can be protected as incumbents
  • 2. Road-side units could be managed and protected like PAL devices
  • 3. Key corridors for vehicle to vehicle communications can be identified and protected as exclusion or protection zones
  • 4. 5.9 GHz Wi-Fi can be managed like GAA devices

We also believe that utilizing the SAS technology would also have a number of additional benefits to the DSRC community. For example, the SAS could manage inter-jurisdictional interference in overlapping geographic areas; automatically detect and maintain misconfigured Wi-Fi devices; and reduce deployment time of DSRC Road Side Units when NTIA coordination is required by ensuring site non-interference.

As we rapidly move to a time where the need for capacity to manage Internet of Things and provide increased high speed connectivity collide, looking at ways to dynamically share spectrum is a no-brainer. New and innovative spectrum access systems are transforming how we access and manage spectrum — ensuring that diverging uses can be managed safely and optimally — and now is the time to implement these solutions more broadly.

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