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Radio spectrum: a critical natural resource

Edward Campbell

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Thucydides mentioned that, like most CF members, he is less than expert* on spectrum issues and he's a bit dazzled by the technology.

The points that CF members, all Canadians, indeed, need to remember are:

    1. The spectrum is a finite natural resource, which all, civil and military, friend and foe alike are obliged to share;

    2. The definition of successful spectrum management is that all those who need to use the spectrum may do so without causing or suffering harmful interference;

    3. Electromagnetic waves (or particles (photons) if you prefer that theory) obey the laws of physics - even the ones we don't yet understand - but have no respect for human laws, including borders;

    4. The military is nearly completely dependent on spectrum for tactical operations because tactical operations are almost always mobile - at sea, in the air or moving across the ground;

    5. Large sectors of the economy depend, to varying degrees, on spectrum for their success; and

    6. The International Radio regulations which govern spectrum use for all constitute a treaty that Canada has signed and which it is bound, by international law, to obey. (Odd as it may seem seem almost all
        countries, even those as contemptuous of international law as Russia and America, take the International Radio regulations very seriously - failing to do so invites chaos.)

The point is that technology (or money if you want to get right down to brass tacks) can solve most spectrum issues. But, because spectrum management is a large scale (global) and highly technical issue, the solutions can be slow in coming. Further: just because you have a radio doesn't mean using it is either necessary or even a good idea. Further still: just because someone with a couple of stars demands more bandwidth or more information doesn't mean she or he needs it, nor does it mean that making more bandwidth available is a good idea.

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* In my experience and opinion the handful of spectrum experts in the whole country have both advanced degrees in engineering physics and considerable, relevant field experience. There are exceptions that prove the rule: DND's top spectrum manager, the director for many years, had a second class BA, and one of Canada's top international spectrum negotiators had a PhD, but it was in sociology ... sociology?!? Both surrounded themselves with the best engineering physics graduate they could find and then focused their own attentions on the policy and process issues.
 

chrisf

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That's the head of the nail struck right there... spectrum management is global, which is why we're stuck with standards that are far older than any of us despite huge advancements in the equipment that use those standards.
 

Edward Campbell

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a Sig Op said:
That's the head of the nail struck right there... spectrum management is global, which is why we're stuck with standards that are far older than any of us despite huge advancements in the equipment that use those standards.


Remember the old saying about always being able to spot the pioneers because they're the guys with the arrows in their backs?

If the "arrows" were old, 1st generation, standards, then we, North Americans and Brits, being the pioneers of the "mobile" (radio) era, were, still are, the pioneers - the ones who are holding back the march towards better, more modern, global standards because we are protecting pioneering industries. Consider mobile phones; we were first, in North America with the AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone System) standard; Europe was second, with the first 2nd generation standard, GSM; we responded with IS-95. We got together with 3GPP and 3GPP2 (two global bodies developing 3rd generations standards based on GSM (3GPP) and Asia's CDMA2000 (3GPP2). We moved quickly to a 4th generation standard: LTE (long-term evolution, developed in Canada by Nortel). Work on 5G and, without a doubt, 6G, too, is well underway, but, as far as I know there is no global body leading the development of a 5G standard yet. The problem is competitive advantage. Everyone wants a global standard but everyone also wants it to be their standard.
 

Jammer

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and....? What the hell is your point?
All you've done is give a history lesson on mobile tech advances.

The UN has a spectrum managment agency known as the International Telecommunications Union. The purpose being to synchonize each countries use of the EM spectrum as it best fits thier requirements. That is as close as you're going to get to harmonizing users of the EM spectrum. 
 

Robert0288

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Ok sure, the ITU can harmonize all it want,but that just deconflicts the RF spectrum.  The problem is that we're running out of bandwidth on the parts of the spectrum already allocated for certain uses.  And we need to figure out a technological change to either better utilize the existing allocation, or figure out what legacy devices are no longer necessary, and redistribute those frequencies.

Picture of Canadian RF distribution

spectallocation-08.jpg
 

Jammer

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Thanks for the pic...but being a signaller for 24+ yrs I'm kinda familiar with that particular image.

Your comments are redundant
 

Robert0288

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No one here said that that pic is just for you.  As many other people in the thread probably havn't been a sigop for 24+ years.
 

Edward Campbell

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Jammer said:
and....? What the hell is your point?
All you've done is give a history lesson on mobile tech advances.

The UN has a spectrum managment agency known as the International Telecommunications Union. The purpose being to synchonize each countries use of the EM spectrum as it best fits thier requirements. That is as close as you're going to get to harmonizing users of the EM spectrum.


My point was made in Reply #1, #3 and #20.

My point remains that spectrum is a vital, but poorly understood resource for the military. Many of the comments in this thread confirm my opinion.

(As an aside: in several years of working on spectrum issues within the CF, the Government of Canada, the ITU and the private sector, I remain convinced that the farther one is from the sharp end the less one is likely to care about spectrum ~ I found high levels of interest and knowledge of spectrum issues amongst RCN seagoing officers and sailors - ops and engineering branches, alike, equally amongst Army combat arms folks and amongst aircrew. As the article in reply #2 shows interest and knowledge are high at the very, very top levels of e.g. Bell and Rogers. It (interest and knowledge) was, broadly and generally, lower in support branches.)
 

Jammer

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So you implication id that Army signallers could care less about the EM spectrum?
Let me help you out from the Army POV...in my experience far and wide domestically and internationally..CA types don't give a damn about HOW it works...just that it DOES work.

We in the RCCS have a vested interest in both...not to mention having to manage and deconflict the myriad reqirements made in a multinatioanl environment WRT frequency allocation and usage. Lots of things have to be taken into account such as what is being used...ranges, is there a repeater or rebro unit being used to extend range over a paticular AOR...is it going to interfere with air ground comms...is it secure or in the clear.....get the point?
 

Jammer

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Several years? Hmmm....perhaps not enough in an operational environment. Once again yo come off as someone who has an opinion based on "I heard it from a buddy of mine so it must be true" type.
 

Edward Campbell

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Jammer said:
So you implication id that Army signallers could care less about the EM spectrum?
Let me help you out from the Army POV...in my experience far and wide domestically and internationally..CA types don't give a damn about HOW it works...just that it DOES work.

We in the RCCS have a vested interest in both...not to mention having to manage and deconflict the myriad reqirements made in a multinatioanl environment WRT frequency allocation and usage. Lots of things have to be taken into account such as what is being used...ranges, is there a repeater or rebro unit being used to extend range over a paticular AOR...is it going to interfere with air ground comms...is it secure or in the clear.....get the point?


I understand your point; I was doing those same things 30+ years ago.

I know that most people don't care HOW it works, or even less, WHY it works ... but I can only repeat my experiences: the C&E Branch, broadly and generally, is neither particularly interested in nor knowledgeable about radio and radar; perhaps that's changed since I retired - I would like to hope it has, but periodic discussions with serving senior officers makes me fear that it has not.

I'm sure there are lots of good senior NCOs who are working very hard to do what you describe in the field, there were in my day; I'm less sure that work is being done as well as it can or should be done.

But more important: spectrum demand is growing, as George Cope said it is growing at a rate that shocked experts. Increased consumer/commercial demand will put pressure on the military to release some of it very valuable UHF and low SHF spectrum because the technology (1 micron manufacturing, etc) exists, now, to build civil market equipment in those bands.
 

Edward Campbell

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Jammer said:
Several years? Hmmm....perhaps not enough in an operational environment. Once again yo come off as someone who has an opinion based on "I heard it from a buddy of mine so it must be true" type.


I really don't give a damn how I "come off" to you ... or to anyone else for that matter.

If you would like to discuss my credentials by PM I will tell you; but I will then insist upon a formal, public apology for your comment.
 

Jammer

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No

I do take exeption to your comments about the RCCS not taking itself seriously typifies a disconnected viewpoint. Things have changed somewhat since you last wore a uniform.

DND doesn't own any part of the EM spectrum. We lease what we need from commercial providers when it come to SATCOM, we have to apply for HF use from Industry Canada.

Tactical VHF is allocated to units in Canada besed on region and availability. That goes for ALL services not just Army.

I don't care about your resume. Just that you get off yuo high horse and stop preening yourself.
 

Edward Campbell

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Jammer said:
No

I do take exeption to your comments about the RCCS not taking itself seriously typifies a disconnected viewpoint. Things have changed somewhat since you last wore a uniform.

DND doesn't own any part of the EM spectrum. We lease what we need from commercial providers when it come to SATCOM, we have to apply for HF use from Industry Canada.

Tactical VHF is allocated to units in Canada besed on region and availability. That goes for ALL services not just Army.

I don't care about your resume. Just that you get off yuo high horse and stop preening yourself.


That's incorrect and demonstrates my point about ignorance amongst most military members.

No one "owns" any spectrum - it is all part of Canada's sovereign patrimony and it is all managed, as a nation resource, by Industry Canada. The Canadian Radio Regulations/Table of Frequency Allocations, in Footnotes C5 and C5A, reserve several bands for exclusive use by the Government of Canada, which, in almost all cases,means DND ~ that's as close to ownership as anyone ever gets. DND does not lease much if any spectrum from anyone. I don't know where you might have "learned" that, but it is wrong. Most spectrum DND uses is allocated or allotted to it, formally, by Industry Canada; some is shared with civilian users (but not leased), sometimes under formal system plans (as is the case for some naval radars and one of the cellular bands, for example), other times under less formal arrangements. Army VHF frequencies are assigned, not allocated (those words have precise meanings to people who actually know anything much about the topic) on regional bases - the frequencies are assigned and reassigned, over and over again, within regions. Many RCN and RCAF systems use national and even global allotments.

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As to my high horse: when you actually know something about the topic at hand fell free to chime in ...
 

Jammer

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Oh my..don't we have a high opinion of ourselves....but it is you who are incorrect.

It's not learned information but actually working in strategic SATCOM. DND DOES lease...period. I know because it's my job to know. If you read my post correctly and not through your already decided thought  process you would have understood that I did say allocated..by whom...Industry Canada...FML!

Nothing worse than a stubborn service retiree who still thinks they are in the game and knows better than those of us still in.

Ignorance of most militay members...great job...you will have made lots of friends here and dashed whatever credibility you may have had by that statement.
 

Edward Campbell

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Jammer said:
Oh my..don't we have a high opinion of ourselves....but it is you who are incorrect.

It's not learned information but actually working in strategic SATCOM. DND DOES lease...period. I know because it's my job to know. If you read my post correctly and not through your already decided thought  process you would have understood that I did say allocated..by whom...Industry Canada...FML!

Nothing worse than a stubborn service retiree who still thinks they are in the game and knows better than those of us still in.

Ignorance of most militay members...great job...you will have made lots of friends here and dashed whatever credibility you may have had by that statement.


DND leases the satellite capacity, not spectrum.


 

Journeyman

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Jammer said:
Oh my..don't we have a high opinion of ourselves....
Apparently.  You may want to reconsider your "Mentor" tag until your ego-check is complete.
 
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