Archived—Proposed Revisions to the Technical Requirements for Fixed Service in the Bands 1700–1710 MHz and 1780–1850 MHz

June 2008

Spectrum Management and Telecommunications

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Background
  3. Discussion

1. Introduction

As the band plan limits for the fixed line-of-sight radio systems operating in the band 1700-1850 MHz have changed following the AWS policy decisions, the purpose of this paper is to obtain views on proposals to:

  • change some of the technical requirements for fixed systems carrying traffic in support of the operations, maintenance and management of the electricity supply; and
  • update the technical requirements applicable to all systems throughout these bands.

Industry Canada has recently received submissions from Canadian electric utility companies associated with the Utilities Telecom Council of Canada (UTCC), regarding the need for wireless spectrum to accommodate the emerging and urgent telecommunication requirements to ensure the integrity of the electrical grid infrastructure through improved monitoring and control.

2. Background

The current version of SRSP 301.7 indicates that the band 1700-1850 MHz is to be used for low- and very low-capacity (LC and VLC) point-to-point systems. Since the SRSP was issued in 1996, the technical and regulatory framework under which the systems were licensed in this band has changed as a result of the following developments:

In October 1999, Industry Canada issued SP 1-3 GHz, Amendments to the Microwave Spectrum Utilization Policies in the 1-3 GHz Frequency Range. Due to pending changes to accommodate new mobile services in the band 1710-1850 MHz following WRC-2000, the departmental spectrum utilization policy document discouraged any growth for fixed line-of-sight services in this band at that time, particularly for large-scale multi-hop networks or for systems deployed in urban areas and their vicinities.

In February 2007, as part of DGTP-002-07, Consultation on a Framework to Auction Spectrum in the 2 GHz range including Advanced Wireless Services (AWS Consultation), changes were made to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations in the band 1710-1850 MHz. Some of these changes are listed below:

  • The band was split into two new bands, namely 1710-1755 MHz and 1755-1850 MHz;
  • Mobile service was designated as a primary service in the band 1710-1755 MHz;
  • A new Canadian footnote C37Footnote 1 was added to the band 1755-1850 MHz regarding a possible future designation for AWS, subject to a future public consultation.

In the United States, the band 1755-1850 MHz is currently allocated to the exclusive use of the federal government. So far, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has not issued any consultation papers regarding reassignment of these frequencies to other services.

2.1 Review of the Technical Provisions of the Existing Version of SRSP-301.7

The existing SRSP 301.7 was released in 1996, and set the technical requirements for radio systems operating in the band 1700-1850 MHz. At the time that it was issued, this standard limited the use of this spectrum to point-to-point systems only, recommending longer hop lengths - above 17 km - in order to make efficient use of this lower frequency band with good propagation characteristics.

A channelization scheme based on a 500 kHz channel grid is used for licensing. Any channel bandwidth is acceptable as long as it fits into the channel grid, and the resulting spectral efficiency exceeds 1 bit/s/Hz.

A frequency division duplex (FDD) scheme based on a 75 MHz duplex spacing is suggested, but not mandatory.

In order to reduce the amount of transmitted interference and to facilitate the use of the band by a large number of users, the transmit power is limited to a max of 10W, for a maximum allowed EIRP of +55 dBW. The antenna radiation pattern must comply with an envelope setting maximum off-axis emission.

Enhanced technical requirements apply for systems deployed in moderately and highly congested areas, referring to minimum increased spectral efficiency - 2.4 bit/s/Hz, an improved antenna radiation pattern envelope and front-to-back ratio, and improved emission limits.

2.2 Incumbent Systems Operating in the Band

Many of the fixed systems currently operating in the band use an FDD scheme by which they are paired with a frequency in the 1710-1755 MHz range. Following the AWS auction, a majority of these systems will be relocated to different bands in accordance with the transition policy adopted in DGTP-002-07.

3. Discussion

The Department has recently received submissions from Canadian electric utility companies associated with the Utilities Telecom Council of Canada (UTCC), regarding the need for wireless spectrum to accommodate the emerging and urgent telecommunication requirements to ensure connectivity to the electrical grid infrastructure. This is required for the deployment of specialized applications for the purpose of:

  • energy conservation
  • station security
  • distribution automation
  • real time outage management
  • new power generation (small distributed facilities).

As pointed out in these submissions, recent emphasis on energy conservation and emerging alternative methods of electrical power generation (including domestic and very small power plants) requires enhanced end-to-end management and control of the transport and distribution network. Smart meter deployments to consumers of electrical power are under way in most of the country, and have recently been mandated by law in some provinces. Furthermore, compliance with new North-American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) regulations for electrical stations security requires enhanced monitoring of the electrical infrastructure.

To implement these requirements for enhanced and expanded monitoring and control, a telecommunications network with a high degree of reliability and wide geographical reach is needed. Although the electrical utility companies have access to core network facilities (e.g. fibre rings and microwave systems), there are still difficulties in expanding the management and control systems to the periphery of the electrical transport and distribution network. Due to the limited availability of telecommunications facilities, especially outside urban areas, wireless systems are an essential part of the telecommunications network ensuring connectivity to all elements of the electrical power grid.

The Department requests comments on the following proposed changes to SRSP-301.7, meant to bring up to date the frequency band plan in accordance with recent changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations, and enable the deployment of efficient state-of-the-art wireless communication systems in support of the generation, transport and distribution of electricity.

3.1 New Band Plan

Proposed Band Plan
Figure 1 - Proposed Band Plan

As shown in Figure 1, the frequencies 1710-1780 MHz are currently allocated to or held on reserve for AWS.

In response to the UTCC's submissions, the Department proposes to relax some of the existing technical requirements within the 1800-1830 MHz portion of the band. Radio systems using these parameters must carry traffic solely for the operations, maintenance and management of the electricity supply. The proposed technical rules would apply strictly to the type of use, i.e., telecommunications applications in support of the generation, transport and distribution of electrical power, and not to specific users of the spectrum. Requests for spectrum for radio systems for operations, maintenance and management of the electricity supply would be licensed in 1800-1830 MHz on a first-come, first-served basis.

The band structure shown in Figure 1 would also facilitate the deployment of point-to-point LC and VLC systems, as per the current technical rules, in the blocks 1780-1800 MHz and 1830-1850 MHz.

New requests for point-to-point LC and VLC systems will be licensed on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the frequency range 1780-1850 MHz, starting first with the frequency blocks 1780-1800 MHz and 1830-1850 MHz, and then using the 1800-1830 MHz frequency block if and when the initial frequency blocks become congested.

Systems operating in the 1700-1710 MHz block presently include aural broadcasting STL systems, point-to-point LC and VLC systems, as well as Met Sat systems. The separation of this frequency range from the band 1780-1850 MHz creates an asymmetry which can be exploited by using these frequencies for one-way systems. It is proposed that the Department limit future issuance of licences in this block to only one-way systems such as aural broadcasting STL systems and Met Sat systems.

Industry Canada welcomes views from the industry and other stakeholders regarding any of the topics discussed above. More specifically,

1. Please comment on the proposal to have specific technical requirements in a given frequency block applicable to radio systems carrying traffic for operations, maintenance and management of the electricity supply.

2. Please provide comments on the band plan. Please comment on the technical feasibility of deploying radio systems for operations, maintenance and management of the electricity supply in the block 1800-1830 MHz.

3. Please comment on the technical feasibility of deploying FDD and/or TDD systems in the blocks 1780-1800 MHz and 1830-1850 MHz.

4. Please comment on whether the proposed limitation of the 1700-1710 MHz block to Met Sat and STL systems is an appropriate use for this spectrum.

3.2 Technical Requirements for Radio Systems for Operations, Maintenance and Management of the Electricity Supply in the 1800-1830 MHz Band

To support specific deployment scenarios and applications for radio systems for operations, maintenance and management of the electricity supply, Industry Canada proposes to change the technical requirements for these systems in the band 1800-1830 MHz, as follows:

  • Remove the recommended minimum hop length of 17 km.
  • Allow lower gain/lower directivity antennas to be employed, as per specific deployment needs. In particular, where a hub and spoke topology is used, the Department is considering specifying a minimum antenna gain of 12 dBi for both remote and central stations.
  • Increase the maximum permitted transmitted power level. The Department is considering specifying a maximum value of the transmitted power level of +13 dBW.
  • Remove the requirement for minimum spectral efficiency, allowing throughput to be traded for larger path loss.

5. The Department seeks comments regarding the technical requirements proposed for radio systems for operations, maintenance and management of the electricity supply as described above.

6. The Department also seeks comments whether, at this time, it is necessary to update any other technical requirements for general purpose LC and VLC systems deployed in the band.

3.3 Incumbent Systems in the 1700-1850 MHz Band

Many of the systems operating in this band will relocate to different bands due to the pending deployment of AWS systems, in accordance with the transition policy adopted in DGTP-002-07.

Incumbent systems not affected by the AWS deployment will continue to operate as before. The new systems deployed in the band, including radio systems for operations, maintenance and management of the electricity supply in the band 1800-1830 MHz, will have to be engineered and deployed so as to protect the existing licensed systems in the band.

3.4 Coexistence with Systems Deployed in the Band in the United States

The frequency coordination between systems operating in the 1700-1850 MHz band is subject to the provisions of Arrangement D between Canada and the United States. Although Arrangement D is in the process of being updated in regard to the frequencies used for AWS, it will remain in force for the rest of the band. In order to receive appropriate protection from interference, licensees must continue to follow proper coordination procedures prior to deploying systems in this band which might create or receive interference from across the border.


Footnotes

  1. back to footnote reference 1C37 (CAN-06) "The designation of the bands 1755-1780 MHz, 2020-2025 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz for Advanced Wireless Services may be the subject of a future public consultation."
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