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Radio spectrum: a critical natural resource

Jammer

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Thanks for the tip.

YOU might want to read the whole thread and re evaluate your comment.

Some people will not accept another opinion or yeild to others who are more knowlegable about CURRENT activities and not what was in the past.
 

Jammer

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..and this is why there has been a decided decay of the quality of the forums.
 

cupper

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Jammer said:
..and this is why there has been a decided decay of the quality of the forums.

Perhaps if you learned to receive instead of operating on transmit only, the quality may improve.

Or perhaps your bandwidth is jammed.

:irony:
 

a_majoor

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Based on recent operational experience, the idea that a lot of what is being demanded in over the air Tx is trivial or redundant is certainly true; a lot of training and self discipline is probably a huge corrective for the issue of spectrum use and allocation. OTOH while sending large quantities of data by "sneakernet" (USB memory sticks delivered by CLP's) is an efficient way of saving bandwidth, the time delays really impede the ability to do business.

What is bothering me about this discussion is while *we* may have the technology and training to manage our own allocations (and maybe find magical technological work arounds), there is the implication that the civilian world does not. Certainly the explosive growth of "Smart Phones", WiFi and other high demand items isn't being matched by higher quality work either: sending FaceBook updates and funny pictures of cats seems to be the default use of the Internet these days. Edward notes that there may well be an irresistible demand to poach some of our allocations as technology makes it possible to operate cheaply in these bands, and the Government, desperate for cash, probably can't resist the temptation to auction off some of that bandwidth for a really big fistfull of dollars.

Rereading some of the ideas that I posted on the Recent Warfare Technologies page, it seems that there is nothing really strange or outlandish about them (well, maybe duplex Tx on radios), the real issue for the Armed forces is if we adopt these technologies wholesale we will be able to flood the various HQ's with full streaming video of everything that every servicemember does 24/7, but be totally unable to talk to anyone outside the CF. (I actually had this experience in KAF, the digital MBTR radios the Americans used could not "talk" to the digital "Clansman" radios the Brits used or the TCCCS radios we used. Actually all the radios existed in digital isolation from each other; as an experiment I had several examples of each radio zeroized then programmed exactly the same way (frequencies, crypto, squelch); when you hit the PTT the lights went on in the other radios, but no data was received. After conferring with experts, we concluded the problem was each radio used a different standard to send and receive digital packets; the radios were picking up the signal but could not "understand" them. Luckily, there were plenty of Motorola's and base stations....).

For some Army applications, it may be possible to gather up signals from antenna farms and "trunk" it via fiber optic land line or use some freakish manipulation of the laws of physics to create a high capacity over air "trunk" to satellites or distant headquarters, but this is pretty impossible for aircraft and ships, so for now, the best thing we can do is teach our troops to minimize and attempt to train our CoC in better information management.

 
M

MikeL

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(I actually had this experience in KAF, the digital MBTR radios the Americans used could not "talk" to the digital "Clansman" radios the Brits used or the TCCCS radios we used. Actually all the radios existed in digital isolation from each other; as an experiment I had several examples of each radio zeroized then programmed exactly the same way (frequencies, crypto, squelch); when you hit the PTT the lights went on in the other radios, but no data was received. After conferring with experts, we concluded the problem was each radio used a different standard to send and receive digital packets; the radios were picking up the signal but could not "understand" them. Luckily, there were plenty of Motorola's and base stations....).

I assume you were just trying to do voice communications, and not send data?

Provided the radios are set up properly, the same crypto, freqs, etc the 522, 148 and 117 will be able to speak to each other.
 

Jammer

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There were a lot of issues working wiht UK kit...Interesting though that the 522 is in fact a Brit radio...My radio of choice there was the 117F. It (and the new G),is the swiss army knife of tactical radios. Harris make a great product.
 

a_majoor

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-Skeletor- said:
I assume you were just trying to do voice communications, and not send data?

Provided the radios are set up properly, the same crypto, freqs, etc the 522, 148 and 117 will be able to speak to each other.

Yes, we were trying for voice communications, and to ensure there were no issues, the radios in my experiment had no crypto installed. Perhaps there was some other factor that we were overlooking, but for my tour anyway, the radios existed in their own separate digital domains.
 

muskrat89

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Jammer - not sure where the animosity is coming from but keep things civil please. The snarkiness detracts from your message.


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Good2Golf

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I figure one way to make better use of the spectrum we are either allocated direct access to use by the appropriate agency, or are provided proxies capability via others and their access is twofold:

1) bandwidth (primarily data) discipline; and

2) more effective use of the spectrum.

Bandwidth discipline will be difficult to achieve, as we have a hard enough time policing our data-hogging ways on the DWAN (Data sharing through hyperlinking to common drives or share points, vice Outlook-based e-mails that clog both workstations and Exchange servers alike).  The vetting of what bandwidth-intensive material truly needs to be transmitted over non-terretrial comms means is managed/controlled not by extant policies or generally-known data best practices, but by being told that server X or Y is going to 'blow up' if we don't clean our Q: drives, or by de facto conditions when a data stream becomes sluggishly reduced to 1200-baud like speeds. 

More effective use of the spectrum will require a phased approach, as new data compression algorithms and reduced channel spacing are applied.  As nice as the 177G is, it too, is not the physically most efficient radio out there...not that it couldn't be, but because we haven't gone that far to embody the latest capabilities into our particular RTs.  Software-definable (improvable) radios, with further reduced channel spacing than what we use today will allow better spectral use in the future.

From my viewpoint, the two-fold approach would be pan-Command-enforced (which means first understood, THEN imposed) comms/data discipline, BALANCED with increased spectral efficiency with more effective data (including VoIP/IP) transceivers (I'll take four ARC-231 Skyfires, please).

:2c:

Regards
G2G
 

Jammer

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I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to everyone I have offended by my crass and insensitive remarks on this thread. In particular to Mr Campbell.

There was no excuse for baiting, trolling and spoiling for an argument when I did not fully have the facts. My views were very narrow and related to a very small and specific aspect of the topic being discussed.

I hope you will all accept this spology in the spirit intended.

J.
 

Edward Campbell

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Here is an interesting, and pretty accurate and useful infrographic which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Financial Post:

http://business.financialpost.com/2013/07/27/graphic-a-look-at-canadas-prized-spectrum/?__lsa=4f08-aeaa
financial-post-logo.jpg


fp0727_wirelessspectrum_c_rj940.jpeg



Edit: format
 

Edward Campbell

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I want to shift this thread in a somewhat political direction, in order to illustrate, using the above infographic and this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, the incredible monetary value of the spectrum:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/canadas-hang-up-with-foreign-mobile/article13534011/#dashboard/follows/
Globe-and-Mail-logo.jpg

Canada’s hang-up with foreign mobile

KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Aug. 01 2013

Canada’s Big Three cellphone companies are running scared, and it’s pathetic to watch. The mere hint of foreign competition has corporate Canada circling the wagons in an effort to keep U.S. giant Verizon from moving north. But what else would you expect from the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, whose CEO sits on the board of Telus, the No. 3 wireless provider, whose CEO sits on the board of the CCCE? Cozy corporate Canada still takes care of its own.

What has Rogers, Bell and Telus in such a tizzy is Ottawa’s move to allow foreigners to purchase fledgling wireless providers (those with minimal market share) and prevent the Big Three from monopolizing the airwaves that carry cellphone signals. The country’s main business lobby, the CCCE, has joined the Big Three in claiming that the policy “discriminates” in Verizon’s favour.

That’s rich coming from some of the world’s most protected telecommunications companies. Long-standing foreign-ownership restrictions have left Canada with firms that, while big at home, are global nobodies. While global wireless providers have become the norm – think Orange, Vodafone or T-Mobile – Canada’s coddled players have no international presence.

One result is that Canadians have historically paid more for wireless services and gained access to new services and technologies later than consumers in other countries. Prices have come down since Ottawa’s last attempt to inject competition into the sector (it set aside airwaves for new entrants in 2008). But an independent report done for the federal government this month showed that, for most users, rates still “fall on the high side of the [developed world] average.”

The Big Three trot out Canada’s low population density as one reason for higher cellular prices here. That’s a red herring, since Canada has one of the developed world’s most urban populations. Far more Canadians live in cities than Italians or Germans. It’s not as if the the Big Three have cell towers along every back road from Toronto to Tuktoyaktuk.

The real reason Canadians have faced higher prices and three-year contracts is that the Big Three form a largely unregulated oligopoly. They have acted to prevent competition by buying up “disruptive” players (innovators such as Microcell), or stopping new entrants from gaining a foothold (the case now with Wind, Mobilicity and Public Mobile.) It all smacks of “parallel exclusion,” which Columbia University law professor Tim Wu describes as “efforts by an entire industry to keep out would-be newcomers.”

The Big Three say they’re not against Verizon coming to Canada. They just want Ottawa to set such onerous terms of entry – such as forcing a foreign firm to build its own infrastructure instead of piggybacking, at least initially, on the incumbents’ networks – that none would try.

The truth is that Canada is hardly unique in allotting exclusive rights to bid on blocks of airwaves (known as wireless spectrum) to small or new industry entrants. Indeed, across Europe, it is the preferred means of stimulating wireless competition.

Even in the United States, the Department of Justice recently noted that auction rules favouring smaller players “could improve the competitive dynamic among nationwide carriers and benefit consumers.” The DOJ, the country’s competition cop, also warned that a “large incumbent may benefit from acquiring spectrum, even if its uses of the spectrum are not the most efficient, if that acquisition helps preserve high prices.”

What makes Canada a wireless outlier is that it still restricts foreign ownership. Almost every other developed country has dropped such restrictions. In the U. S., Verizon Wireless, which is looking to move north by acquiring Wind and Mobilicity, is 45-per-cent owned by Britain’s Vodafone. T-Mobile is controlled by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom. And Sprint was just bought by Japan’s SoftBank.

Verizon would play a very different role in the Canadian market than it does south of the border, where it’s one of the big incumbents consumers love to hate. Here, it would be the “challenger brand” seeking market share with aggressive pricing and innovative services. With deeper pockets than Wind or Mobilicity, it could weather losses longer than a traditional start-up.

Canada seriously needs the competition. The McKinsey Global Institute recently identified the mobile Internet as the most important of the 12 “disruptive” technologies that will transform the global economy over the next decade. The firm predicts that, by 2015, wireless Web use will exceed wired use in the United States. Canadians can’t afford to be left behind.


My information is out of date, to be sure, because I retired from my second career in the radiocommunications sector about seven years ago but, even then:

    1. Commercial broadcasting - over the air radio and television and cable and fibre services - were either losing money or just breaking even;

    2. Wired telecom services had ceased growing at all;

    3. Mobile services were growing at an incredible rate - and so were the profits they generated.

Bell, Rogers, Telus, Videotron, etc are all using the income from their wireless divisions to prop up the money losing services they provide.

With the connivance of the CRTC - maybe just "conniving" because it had no other sensible alternative - the "big three" plus Videotron have pretty much managed to achieve a closed market.

There are fair arguments about just how much we are charged, relative to the rest of the world, (and Konrad Yakabuski, in the article takes sides against the companies) and about the quality of services we receive - I will say, based on my experience, that consumers in some Asian countries get markedly better service for what appears, to me, to be lower rates - measured as a % of a typical pay packet, for example.

I must also admit that I am a convinced free trader, my own study of history convinces me that free trade always benefits all trading partners. (I acknowledge that the transition from protectionism to free trade can be painful to many, many individuals and that the transition always has a price, but, on balance, freer trade means more prosperity for more and more people.) Thus I am inclined to favour a much, much more open telecom market than exists in most countries including Canada and the USA (the latter market is at least as "protected" as ours). I listened to John Manley, the CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, about whom Konrad Yakabuski referred in the opening paragraph, on CBC Radio a few days ago - he made a good, cogent case for "fairness" to the "big three." But ultimately, despite my admiration for Mr Manley, he's wrong on this one. So are George Cope and the others who are mentioned in Reply #1 in this thread. But: if Verizon is allowed in you will see changes to more than just the prices of mobile services (which will, almost certainly, fall, or, more likely, just stop rising). You will see increased prices for newspapers, many web sites, and POTS (plain old telephone service) and you will see fewer Canadian programmes on fewer cable channels.
 

GAP

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you will see fewer Canadian programmes on fewer cable channels.

You just gave the CBC the "cry out of the wilderness" mandate it will want to plead for more sustainment......
 

Edward Campbell

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GAP said:
You just gave the CBC the "cry out of the wilderness" mandate it will want to plead for more sustainment......


The CBC, specifically the French TV network, cried poverty when TV went digital. I'm not sure what the solution was: some analog TV, still, in rural Quebec? CBC seems, to me, to be slower on the transition to programming on mobile devices - but that may be a perception problem on my part. I am not a big consumer of TV.
 

Brad Sallows

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>But ultimately, despite my admiration for Mr Manley, he's wrong on this one.

Why?  Is there a factual foundation for that assertion?

The spectrum issue is very interesting.  It is the first issue I have seen in which mere discreditable greed (the desire to be in constant high-volume communication with friends about trivial matters, at low cost) has unified many Canadians to do what is normally unthinkable for the majority of Canadians: support the Stephen Harper Conservative government in a policy which favours a large US company to the disadvantage of Canadian companies, workers, and taxpayers, with respect to a "commodity" (modern mobile telecommunications) which is chiefly a luxury, not a necessity.  (Necessity could be dealt with by a very small fraction of the bandwidth in use.)

Will a fourth member of the oligopoly change the landscape in a way that three have not?  Unproven, and unreasonable to assume.

Is it wise to license a strategic national resource to the control of a foreign company?  To emphasize: it is either strategically important, or it is not, and needs to be controlled accordingly.

Regardless, what compelling reason is there for prejudicing the auction of licences against Canadian companies?

A set-aside of auctionable spectrum represents a subsidy to the purchaser, in that the uncontested reason for the set-aside is to prevent the bids from going as high as any interested party is prepared to take them.  Any subsidy of a sale of federal resources is money taken from Canadian taxpayers to benefit the recipient of the subsidy.  In 100,000 words or less, please explain why I or any other taxpayer should subsidize a US-based company to provide primarily luxury services to people who can already afford them.

Simple exercise: think about the cost of reaching 5,000,000 subscribers in Canada, under pressure from the government to service remote communities, versus the cost of reaching 5,000,000 subscribers in western Europe, the US, or the parts of Asia the "experts" are so fond of using as comparisons.  Reality check: Canadian telcos will put up towers to reach a relative handful of subscribers, as part of what they are mandated to do, and continue to keep the wirelines in service as well.  Please explain why Verizon, or any other company, should benefit from that investment rather than make its own.

What percentage of Canadian land-based infrastructure - part of our vital civil infrastructure - should Verizon pay to support, as part of its "fair share"?  Should it be able to reap all of the benefits of competing only in wireless, without the competitive burden of supporting our wireline?

Shall we continue by auctioning mineral rights, drilling rights, and timber licences to foreign companies under conditions more favourable than those offered to Canadian companies?  Please explain why it is justifiable in one context, but not in another.

A lot of people need to seriously shake their heads.
 

dapaterson

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We've already subsidized the incumbents significantly; and they have significant regulatory capture to protect themselves.  Why should we not seek to promote competition?

Much of the "Oh, Canada is so big" claims fail under any sort of examination.  The actual service area supported by Canadian suppliers is remarkably small compared to the overall landmass.

Promoting competition is a good thing.  Protecting fat, inefficient gouging companies is not.
 
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