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Stanford Spectrum Conference and more…

I’m sitting here at home tuned into the Stanford Spectrum Conference (RealAudio, 228 kbps feed) just like yesterday afternoon. Microsoft (Pierre De Vries, Victor Bahl) is putting forth a proposal to expand the amount of spectrum available for unlicensed use. Motorola (Tom Freeburg) will follow — and then Lessig et al with discuss the proposals.

I happen to be sitting in bed at the moment, sipping on coffee, and typing this weblog entry into my Windows XP laptop which is down the hall in another room. I’m using my iBook running Remote Desktop Connection to access the Windows machine — while RealPlayer is running on Mac OS X over our in-home 802.11 network. Talk about technology running rampant!

When we pickup a 2.4 GHz wireless phone down the hall, things get a little sluggish on the wireless LAN — so a more effective co-habitation/spectrum sharing approach would be helpful! (Why we didn’t buy a 900 MHz wireless phone instead of the 2.4 GHz model is beyond me!)

Yesterday I heard an old friend, DeWayne Hendricks, speak on the afternoon panel at the spectrum conference. DeWayne comes from some similar background: amateur radio. It was good to hear his perpective — although other panelists challenged him over the amount of spectrum currently allocated to amateur radio.

I’m reminded that the key issue in spectrum sharing is the quality of the receivers involved. Television broadcast, for example, has vast amounts of spectrum allocated to it because there was a policy goal associated with having cheap receivers available to American consumers. Higher quality, higher cost receivers enable much greater degrees of spectrum sharing. But, of course, everyone wants cheap receivers (and, in the case of peered networks, also cheap transmitters) — thus the policy issues that the conference is trying to address.

Microsoft is saying the DFS and TPC are the key requirements. DFS = Dynamic Frequency Selection. TPC = Transmitter Power Control. But, of course. If links can move around in frequency and can be based upon the minimum required power levels, then one can see how high levels of sharing/reuse can occur. This seems very basic — why are we spending so much time at the conference justifying these requirements?

I’m tuning out — it’s time to get on with my Sunday chores!

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