Oct 25, 2017 IN

Our most valuable natural resource - The Frequency Spectrum

I bet you are in love with frequencies!

Well, maybe you are not aware of it yet, so let me tell you why you are in love with them and why frequencies are one of our most valuable natural resources.

Although my business card says I’m the CTO of LumenRadio I’m more of the CNFGO of LumenRadio. For those of you who don’t know, CNFGO stands for Chief Nerd Frequency Geek Officer….. And I just love frequencies!

They are the very foundation of all our wireless communications, and without them our modern life wouldn’t be possible as we know it.

So let us dig a little bit deeper into the wonderful frequency spectrum and how to utilize it. And above all: how to make your new wirelessly connected products Future-Proof.

The foundation of all wireless communications

I state that everyone is falling deeper and deeper in love with frequencies!

So what do I mean by that?

We are seeing a rapid adoption of wireless connectivity for IoT and M2M. Driven by new businesses, billions of sensors and actuators are being wirelessly connected. Every little piece of the usable frequency spectrum is allocated which the picture below of the US frequency allocation tells us.

US frequency allocation chart

Every colored box in the spectrum represents a specific application allowed to use that portion and nothing else. Applications like WiFi, Bluetooth, Mobile phones, TV broadcasting and military to mention a few. There is no frequencies left to assign. The only way forward is either to shrink the allowed frequency spectrum for one application for the benefit of another or allow coexistence of the two. That is, if those have the technical possibility to coexist.

But there is more: wireless mobile data is growing by 50% every year, at least according to the recent Ericsson mobility report [1]. The trend behind this massive growth is streaming video content.

Obviously everyone wants to use the frequency spectra to generate more business! That is why we all have this passionate love affair with the frequency spectrum.

And this is the problem!

The frequency spectrum is a limited natural resource! When we run out of frequencies we run out of them. You can not just place an order for more frequencies, when they run out they run out!

So what will happen in the upcoming years and how does this affect you?

SEE ALSO: Becoming Future-Proof with wireless Cognitive Coexistence

Gartner predicts 20 billion connected devices by 2020 [2]. Ericsson acknowledges this in their mobility report, and they also foresee massive growth in mobile data.

Ericsson prediction of IoT devices – Copyright Ericsson [1] 
Future frequency congestions

We are witnessing a massive increase of wireless connectivity in buildings, as smart buildings means wirelessly connected devices: Wireless sensors and actuators optimizing energy usage for lighting and HVAC, or wireless sensors for cleaning and resource utilization, just to mention a few applications. The majority of these wireless devices is going to use the heavily congested license-free ISM frequency spectrum, utilizing short range technology. Ericsson predicts that 15.5 billion devices will be connected using short range technology by 2022, which stands for 53% of all connected devices.

Mobile data traffic growth – Copyright Ericsson [1]

The thing is that according to Cisco, 60% of all mobile data is offloaded to the well-known short range technology WiFi. WiFi utilizes the same ISM bands as sensors and actuators.

Clearly there are going to be massive frequency congestions in the ISM bands. Buildings are going to be the frequency hotspots, as this is where most of the mobile data offload to WiFi happens.

But how does this affect you?

The scenario you need to consider is that your new wirelessly enabled product can stop working due to congestion in the frequency your product was commissioned to. This would lead to a stop in your company’s revenue stream, and obviously it would cause huge problems and would for sure backfire to R&D.  

Things that work just fine today may be drowned in the future frequency noise if you don’t design for that future already today.

Massive research resources to solve the problem

Luckily at LumenRadio we just love to solve this problem, and have spent massive research resources throughout the years focusing on the frequency spectrum. We do this to perfect our patented Cognitive Coexistence Technology, with which we have years of field experience helping our customers with business-critical wireless connectivity.

Put simply, our technology scans the frequency spectrum and makes wise and cognitive predictions on what frequencies will be the best to use going forward. Our Cognitive Coexistence Technology has been proven extremely reliable and frequency-friendly in the most challenging environments. Everything from major Hollywood movie productions to massive building control systems with thousands of wireless devices. All of those are business critical applications relying on Future-Proof ultra-reliable wireless connectivity.

References:  [1] https://www.ericsson.com/en/mobility-report   [2] http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3598917

Want to know more on how we can help you develop reliable Future-Proof products? Drop me an email at niclas.norlen@lumenradio.comAnd don´t miss our White Paper Becoming Future-Proof with wireless Cognitive CoexistenceDownload it here.