LightSquared vs. GPS raises big spectrum issues
IDG News Service - The argument raging over LightSquared's proposed LTE network and possible interference with GPS services is actually two arguments over two sets of frequencies, both of which the startup hopes eventually to use.
One of the bands allocated to LightSquared, called the "upper band," sits right next to spectrum set aside exclusively for GPS (Global Positioning System). Its "lower" band is farther from the GPS frequencies but has been used by satellite services that make GPS more accurate. In both cases, the signals from LightSquared's LTE (Long-Term Evolution) towers would be stronger than those of the satellite-based services. But beyond that, the issues are very different.
LightSquared plans to offer wholesale mobile capacity over both a satellite and a terrestrial LTE network, which other service providers can sell to subscribers separately or as one service. In January, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission agreed to let the company use spectrum in the MSS (Mobile Satellite Service) band for LTE. But first, it will require LightSquared to resolve potential interference with GPS.
The first step in that process was a series of tests focused on the upper band, which LightSquared had planned to use for its initial rollout. Those tests found massive disruption to GPS, so the carrier proposed starting out in the lower band and using the higher frequencies only after the problems there had been worked out. Interference in the lower band is not likely to affect as many GPS devices, though critics say the impact might still be significant for many devices.
A heated dispute
The LightSquared interference debate is among the most heated in recent years in the U.S., pitting the critical and widely used GPS service against a new mobile data entrant with a new technology and business model. The FCC and mobile industry agree that more spectrum will be needed to meet the country's mobile data needs in the coming years, but critics say it would be a mistake to allocate these particular bands to a 4G cellular network.
The argument over the upper band (1545.2MHz to 1555.2MHz) is especially notable because it doesn't involve any operator transmitting signals on anyone else's frequencies.
LightSquared, GPS vendors and users agree that the proposed LTE base stations would not generate signals outside LightSquared's assigned band. GPS satellites also stick to their own channels when sending information down to receivers, including personal navigation devices and cellphones. The receivers don't transmit anything at all, but only "listen" for transmissions from the GPS satellites.
But backers of LightSquared and of GPS don't agree on why the two networks ended up clashing. GPS backers say it's because the LTE network is billions of times more powerful than the distant satellites that until now have been alone in the MSS band. For its part, LightSquared faults GPS vendors for not equipping their receivers with stronger filters that can tune out the nearby signals.
Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools The client management tool market is maturing and evolving to adapt to consumerization, desktop virtualization, and an ongoing need to improve efficiency.
- Audit Ready and Asset Optimized: The Solid Promise of an Intelligent Software Asset Management Solution In this paper Frost & Sullivan examines the benefits of enterprise-grade Software Asset Management solutions, and how these solutions serve as the convergence...
- Pragmatic Endpoint Management: Empowering an SMB Workforce in the Age of Mobility Lacking the time for proper training and education, SMB administrators often resort to taking shortcuts to keep their environment running.This paper discusses the...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Gov't Legislation/Regulation White Papers | Webcasts