The IT Law Wiki


Spectrum (short for frequency spectrum or radiofrequency spectrum) is

[t]he range of electromagnetic radio frequencies used in the transmission of sound, data and television.[1]
a natural resource used to provide a variety of communication services to businesses and consumers, as well as federal, state, and local governments.[2].

The radiofrequency spectrum is "the portion of electromagnetic spectrum that carries radio waves."[3]



Spectrum is segmented into bands of radio frequencies and typically measured in cycles per second, or hertz. Standard abbreviations for measuring frequencies include kHzkilohertz or thousands of hertz; MHzmegahertz, or millions of hertz; and GHzgigahertz, or billions of hertz.[4]

It is "a limited and valuable resource . . . used for all forms of wireless communication, including cellular telephony, radio and television broadcast, telephone radio relay, aeronautical and maritime radio navigation, and satellite command and control."[5]

"The frequencies, or frequency bands, of spectrum have different characteristics that make them more or less suitable for specific purposes, depending on the specific band (see fig. 2). These bands have different levels of ability to penetrate physical obstacles and cover distances, known as "propagation," and different limits to the amount of information that they can carry, known as data capacity, and are used for different communication purposes. Low frequency bands are characterized by strong propagation, and are used by numerous IoT devices, some of which may only transmit small amounts of information such as temperature, location, or activity status. The strong propagation of low bands means they can transmit over long distances. Mid-band frequencies have higher data capacity than low bands (because, in part, frequency allocations in higher bands are larger, allowing wider channels), as well as, stronger propagation qualities than higher bands. The bands above 30 GHz have high data capacity but relatively poor propagation, to the point that bands at the highest frequencies can be easily obstructed. This spectrum is currently used by a variety of services, including satellite, fixed microwave, and radio astronomy, and is expected to be important for the next generation wireless technology (5G)."[6]

Internet of Things[]

"Businesses and consumers use the spectrum for a variety of wireless services including mobile voice and data, WiFi- and Bluetooth-enabled devices, broadcast television, radio, and satellite services. Federal, state, and local governments' uses of spectrum include national defense, law enforcement communication, air-traffic control, weather services, military radar, and first responder communications. IoT applications that rely on spectrum are highly diverse and include connected vehicles, devices in the home, and personal mobile devices. IoT devices communicate using wireless networks, including wide area networks that use cellular networks to cover large areas (e.g., cellular transmission), local area networks that cover about 100 meters (e.g., Wi-Fi within a house), and personal networks covering about 10 meters (e.g., Bluetooth inside a room) (Fig. 1)."[7]



See also[]