Radio Spectrum Inventory: A 2010 Snapshot — Canada

Chapter 2–Fixed Systems (Backhaul and Fixed Wireless Access)

2.1 Background

2.1.1 Definitions Footnote 8

Fixed Service:
Fixed service (FS) is defined as a radiocommunication service between specified fixed points.
Backhaul:
Backhaul communication is defined as the "transport of aggregate communication signals from base stations to the core network." This chapter takes a broader view of backhaul as any form of transport of aggregated traffic regardless of source and destination.
Fixed Wireless Access (FWA):
FWA systems refer to the use of fixed or nomadic radios to provide access to a public telecommunications network for telephone and/or data services serving residential and business communities. These radio systems may also provide access to private networks. They are generally designed as point-to-multipoint systems where all end points are fixed.

2.1.2 Broad description of type of service/application

Backhaul

Backhaul communications can take place using several different technologies, including wireline technologies such as fibre optics or copper wire, and wireless technologies, such as satellite. However, the focus of this paper is on wireless terrestrial backhaul via point-to-point microwave radio networks.

Wireless backhaul can be roughly divided into two categories: unidirectional applications, such as Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS), and two-way data applications.

Unidirectional applications include broadcast applications that operate from the television camera to the studio (i.e. includes electronic news gathering (ENG), TV outside broadcast and electronic field protection), studio to studio applications, studio to the transmitter (e.g. Studio to Transmitter Links or STLs), and studio to the cable television (CATV) head-end devices (e.g. Cable Television Relay Service or CARS). The type of data transmitted can include video or audio data and many one-way systems may still use analogue transmissions, although these are increasingly shifting to digital transmission.

Two-way data applications include carriage of telephone and Internet traffic over relatively long distances and as a means to aggregate voice and data traffic from cell sites and link these sites back to the public switched telephone network and the Internet. Two-way data links are also used for private data networks and telemetry to link offices to nearby fibre points of presence or to connect private networks on nearby hospital, university or business campuses. In addition, wireless data links are often used to provide backup to wireline networks to improve reliability in case of damage, for example, damage from construction to buried cables.

Two-way applications may be long-haul, especially in rural areas where the distance or terrain makes fibre impractical. There are also increasing numbers of short-haul backhaul systems in urban areas that are often used in conjunction with wireline backhaul technologies. Wireless backhaul has the advantage of cost and speed of deployment in short-haul networks, as digging is not required, but does not typically have the same capacity as a wireline system.

FWA

FWA has experienced growth for broadband delivery in recent years while continuing to support many conventional applications. In Canada, these applications can be broadly divided into four categories; broadband Internet applications, industrial applications, rural telephone services and automated meter infrastructure (AMI)/automated meter reading (AMR).

a. Broadband Internet

Fixed wireless spectrum supporting broadband Internet services and applications are mainly concentrated in the 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands. These bands are generally harmonized with the United States, with the exception of the band 3475-3650 MHz, which is instead aligned with European provisions. The 2.5 GHz band was designated for multipoint communication systems (MCS) and multipoint distribution systems (MDS); however, the band is currently under consultation to introduce the broadband radio services (BRS), which is part of the IMT family of standards and includes mobile applications.

In addition, further FWA broadband spectrum is available at 512 MHz, 953 MHz, 24 GHz, 25 GHz and 38 GHz.

b. Industrial applications (e.g. SCADA)

The 1.4 GHz subscriber radio service (SRS) band is used by FWA systems to support a variety of industrial applications for industries such as manufacturing, production, power generation, fabrication and refining. For example, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems are industrial control systems used to monitor and control industrial processes. They use these bands to monitor an entire system in real time by capturing the data through meter reading, checking plant sensor statuses, etc. at regular intervals.

c. Automated Meter Infrastructure (AMI) and Automated Meter Reading (AMR)

FWA systems are also at the core of the architecture for AMI and AMR applications. AMR refers to one-way systems, drive-by and walk-by systems, phone-based dial-up systems, handheld reading entry devices and touch-based systems. These systems tend to be collection only, without means for broadcasting command or control messages. Data is typically gathered only monthly or, at most, daily. AMI systems are more automated and allow two-way, real-time, on-demand interrogations with fixed metering endpoints. AMI meters are often referred to as smart meters.

Currently, the VHF, 220 MHz and 1.4 GHz bands support AMI and AMR systems. The 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz licence-exempt bands also allow such operations on a no-protection basis.

d. Rural telephone service

FWA systems provide essential rural telephone services in subscriber radio service (SRS) bands at 900 MHz, 1.4 GHz, 2 GHz, and 3.4 GHz in combination with wireless local loop systems (also FWA) or traditional copper wire for the last mile to each home. Rural telephone services are deployed across the country.

2.2 Current Allocations and Utilization

2.2.1 List of allocated bands

The following three tables distinguish between unidirectional backhaul bands, two-way data communication backhaul bands and FWA bands. It should be noted that FS bands are not necessarily exclusive to one of these systems and the band may include all three systems. In addition, the frequency bands are also shared with other services as per the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations.

a. Unidirectional Backhaul

Table 2.1 lists the unidirectional backhaul bands available in Canada.

Table 2.1: Summary of Unidirectional Backhaul Bands
Band Application(s)1 Comments/Special Notes

Note 1:

Studio-transmitter Links (STL):
A fixed radiocommunication system used to relay television or audio program material (and related communications) from the studio to the transmitter site of a broadcast station.
TV Off-air Pickup-rebroadcasting Transmitter Links:
A fixed radiocommunication system used to relay television program material from an off-air pickup site to the transmitter site of a television rebroadcasting station or to a cable television headend.
TV Inter-studio Program Links:
A fixed radiocommunication system used to relay television program material and related communications between a remote studio and the principal studio of a television broadcasting station. This would include backhaul links from remotely located satellite TVRO (TV Receive Only) Earth stations to television studios in order to avoid terrestrial interference.
CATV Studio-headend Links:
A fixed radiocommunication system used to relay television program material and related communications from the cable television studio to the cable television headend (also known as Cable Television Relay Service or CARS).
TV Pickups and Temporary Links:
This type of service is intended for the direct pickup of television programs for transmission to a television broadcast studio or to a cable television headend, and also for temporary TV links. This includes applications such as electronic news gathering (ENG), TV outside broadcast, and electronic field protection.
One-Way Video:
This type of service includes one-way video channels used to carry digitized video.

Back reference 1 in table 2.1

953-960 MHz
  • STL
  • Shared with land mobile, aircraft (aeronautical mobile)
1700-1710 MHz
1780-1850 MHz
  • STL
  • Shared on primary basis with meteorological satellite (space-to-Earth), space operations, space research, mobile satellite and land mobile
  • Mobile and Earth exploration satellite (space-to-Earth) is secondary
2025-2110 MHz
  • TV pickups
  • Shared with two-way backhaul systems on an urban/rural basis
  • Shared on a primary basis with space operations, space research and Earth exploration satellite (all Earth-to-space and space-to-space)
  • Mobile is secondary
6425-6930 MHz
  • STL
  • Selected channels
  • Shared co-primary fixed satellite (Earth-to-space)
6590-6770 MHz
6930-7125 MHz
  • STL
  • TV Off-air pickup-rebroadcasting transmitter Links
  • TV Inter-studio program links
  • CATV Studio-headend links
  • TV pickups and temporary links
  • Shared co-primary fixed satellite (space-to-Earth)
8275-8500 MHz
  • One-way video
  • Shared co-primary fixed satellite (Earth-to-space), Earth exploration satellite (space-to-Earth), and space research.
12.70-13.25 GHz
  • CATV Studio-headend links
  • TV Pickups
  • Shared co-primary with fixed satellite service.
14.875-14.975 GHz
  • Temporary radio links
  • Mobile is secondary.

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b. Two-way Data Backhaul

Table 2.2 lists the two-way backhaul bands and includes information on permitted capacities, channel sizes and other notes of interest.

Table 2.2: Summary of Two-way Backhaul Bands
Band Permitted Capacities1 Channel Sizes (MHz) Notes

Note[1]: The definitions for the permitted capacities are provided in Table 2.3 below.

Back reference 1 in table 2.2

1700-1710 MHz
1780-1850 MHz
VLC
LC
1-10 MHz
  • Since June 2009, p-mpt systems for the management of the electricity supply are permitted in the band 1800-1830 MHz.
2025-2110 MHz
2200-2285 MHz
MC 10 MHz + 10 MHz
  • Shared primary with Earth Exploration Satellite, space operation and space research. Mobile is secondary.
LC 7.5 MHz
5.0 MHz
2.5 MHz
1.25 MHz
VLC 50 kHz
3700-4200 MHz HC 40 MHz
  • Shared co-primary with fixed satellite (space-to-Earth) on a first-come, first-served basis.
30 MHz
20 MHz
5925-6425 MHz HC 30 MHz
  • Shared co-primary with fixed satellite (space-to-Earth) on a first-come, first-served basis.
MC 10 MHz
LC MHz
3.75 MHz
2.5 MHz
6425-6930 MHz HC 30 MHz
  • Shared co-primary fixed satellite (Earth-to-space)
20 MHz
MC 10 MHz
LC MHz
2.5 MHz
1.25 MHz
7125-7725 MHz HC 30 MHz
  • Shared co-primary space research, fixed satellite (space-to-Earth), meteorological satellite (space-to-Earth)
  • Mobile satellite co-primary in the bands 7250-7375 MHz
20 MHz
MC 10 MHz
7.5 MHz
LC MHz
2.5 MHz
7725-8275 MHz HC 30 MHz
  • Shared co-primary with meteorological satellite (space-to-Earth), fixed satellite (Earth-to-space), Earth exploration satellite (space-to-Earth)
  • Limited use of fixed satellite for Government of Canada only in the bands 7900-8400 MHz
20 MHz
MC 10 MHz
LC MHz
2.5 MHz
1.25 MHz
8275-8500 MHz LC, MC, HC 18.75 MHz
  • Video only
  • Shared co-primary fixed satellite (Earth-to-space), Earth exploration satellite (space-to-Earth) and space research.
10.55-10.595 GHz
10.615-10.66 GHz
LC MHz
  • Shared co-primary radiolocation, radio astronomy, Earth exploration satellite, space research.
  • Fixed point-to-multipoint (Ptmpt)
2.5 MHz
1.25 MHz
10.7-11.2 GHz/
11.2-11.7 GHz
LC, MC, HC 40 MHz
  • Effective December 2009, new backhaul licences only allowed in 10.7-11.075/11.2-11.575 DGTP-013-09)
  • Shared co-primary fixed satellite service.
20 MHz
10 MHz
MHz
3.75 MHz
2.5 MHz
1.25 MHz
14.5-14.875 GHz/
14.975-15.35 GHz
LC, MC 40 MHz
  • Since December 2009, new backhaul licences only allowed in 14.5-14.66/14.975-15.135 DGTP-012-09)
  • Mobile is secondary.
20 MHz
10 MHz
MHz
17.8-18.3 GHz/
19.3-19.7 GHz
LC, MC, HC 50 MHz
  • Fixed satellite (space-to-Earth) (Earth-to-space) limited to feeder links for mobile-satellite.
40 MHz
30 MHz
20 MHz
10 MHz
7.5 MHz
2.5 MHz
21.8-22.4 GHz/
23.0-23.6 GHz
LC, MC, HC 50 MHz
  • Shared co-primary with Earth exploration satellite, radio astronomy, space research (passive), inter-satellite
  • Mobile is secondary.
40 MHz
20 MHz
15 MHz
10 MHz
7.5 MHz
MHz
2.5 MHz
24.25-24.45 GHz/
25.05-25.25 GHz
Not Specified 5 x 40 MHz block pairs
  • Shared co-primary with radionavigation, fixed satellite (Earth-to-space)
  • Broadband wireless applications (P-p, P-mpt)
  • Auctioned in 1999, therefore detailed frequency data is not available.
38.6-40 GHz Not Specified 14 x 50 MHz block pairs
  • Shared co-primary with fixed satellite, mobile, mobile satellite
  • Secondary Earth exploration satellite (space-to-Earth)
  • Priority for high density applications for fixed area based Ptp and Ptmpt systems
  • Auctioned in 1999, therefore detailed frequency data is not available.
Table 2.3: Definitions of Fixed System Capacities (SP 1-20)
RF Channel Capacity Minimum Mbits/s Maximum Mbits/s
Very Low Capacity (VLC) ≤1.544
Low Capacity (LC) ≥1.544 ≤24.704
Medium Capacity (MC) >24.704 ≤51.840
High Capacity (HC) >51.840  

Footnotes

  1. 8 back to footnote reference 8 Definitions from various sources: ITU-R Radio Regulations; ITU-R Recommendations; Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations; Industry Canada's Standard Radio System Plans.
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