Bernard Joiner

Abstract: As part of the overall spectrum management process, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have developed radio regulations to help ensure that the various radio services operate compatibly in the same environment without unacceptable levels of radio frequency interference. These regulations generally focus on sharing spectrum and the interfering potential of transmitters. Less attention has been given to the regulation of receiver parameters and the associated non-cochannel interference issues. . . .

In response to the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 and the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, NTIA identified a total of 255 MHz of Federal spectrum for reallocation to the private sector to provide additional spectrum for emerging telecommunications technologies and to help balance the Federal budget through subsequent auction of the identified bands. Because of the large spectrum requirements of the Federal Government and the mandate to avoid excessive costs or serious degradation to Federal operations, most of these bands were identified with some degree of encumbrance. These encumbrances include continued Federal operations within certain bands at specific sites and continued Federal operations in adjacent bands. Introduction of new services and systems in the 17 bands identified for reallocation will open up a significant number of potential adjacent band interference problems. In the Spectrum Reallocation Final Report, NTIA recognized the potential problems and recommended that effective receiver standards, either regulatory or established by industry, be developed for new technologies operating in the reallocated bands adjacent to high-power Federal systems.

Domestically, there has been no clear consensus regarding the best means to assure development and use of suitably designed receivers. Previously, the FCC declined to mandate standards for commercial receivers, stating that the pressures of the marketplace provide the best means to accomplish this goal. In some commercial areas, such as Personal Communications Service (PCS), system designers have successfully applied receiver standards. In other areas, especially where the consumers have access to products that achieve significantly different levels of performance, the lack of known standards and compliance may make it difficult for them to make an informed choice.

The objective of Phase 1 of this task was to undertake a broad review of receiver spectrum standards to characterize their status, both domestically and internationally. This Report presents the results of this phase.

Phase 2 will explore various alternatives and options to promote the use of receivers that are compatible with their operating environment, especially in commercial bands adjacent to Federal bands in which Federal high power equipment is operated. That phase will examine effectiveness trade-offs of various regulatory and voluntary approaches and develop appropriate recommendations.

Keywords: spectrum engineering; spectrum management; receiver; transmitter; radio frequency interference (RFI); non-cochannel interference

To request a reprint of this report, contact:

Ed Drocella, Chief,
Spectrum Engineering and Analysis Division
Office of Spectrum Management
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
(202) 482-1652

Disclaimer: Certain commercial equipment, components, and software may be identified in this report to specify adequately the technical aspects of the reported results. In no case does such identification imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, nor does it imply that the equipment or software identified is necessarily the best available for the particular application or uses.

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