Consultation on Allocation Changes and Revisions to Spectrum Utilization Policy and Technical Rules in the 5 GHz Band

This paper, announced in Canada Gazette Notice DGTP-005-04, invites public comments on proposed changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations, spectrum utilization policies and technical rules in the frequency range 5150-5725 MHz.

Introduction

In October 1999, Industry Canada released a policy paper entitled Spectrum Utilization Policy for Licence Exempt Wireless Local Area Networks in the 5 GHz Range (SP-5150 MHz), which addressed the principal issues governing the use of the frequency bands 5150-5250 MHz, 5250-5350 MHz and 5725-5825 MHz for licence-exempt wireless local area networks (LE-LANs).

The provisions were developed in consultation with industry over a period of about two years. Studies were conducted with the participation of stakeholders representing the services allocated to the bands as well as proponents of the new services, with a view toward developing globally harmonized spectrum use.

In considering spectrum for services at 5 GHz, the World Radiocommunication Conference Footnote 1 2000 (WRC-00) prepared the following two agenda items (Agenda Items 1.5 and 1.6) for consideration at the 2003 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-03): 

Agenda Item 1.5: to consider, in accordance with Resolution 736 (WRC-2000) Footnote 2, regulatory provisions and spectrum requirements for new and additional allocations to the mobile, fixed, Earth explorationsatellite and space research services, and to review the status of the radiolocation service in the frequency range 5 150-5 725 MHz, with a view to upgrading it, taking into account the results of ITU-R studies.

Agenda Item 1.6: to consider regulatory measures to protect feeder links (Earth-to-space) for the mobile-satellite service which operate in the band 5 150-5 250 MHz, taking into account the latest ITU-R Recommendations (for example, Recommendations ITU-R S.1426 Footnote 3, ITU S.1427 Footnote 4 and ITU M.1454 Footnote 5).

In the period leading up to WRC-03 the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) took on the task of examining the technical sharing issues between the existing and proposed services or applications in the 5 GHz band. A substantial amount of work was conducted within the Working Parties in the examination of studies and the development of recommendations which could be adopted to facilitate sharing among the different services.

Canada, with the participation of the wireless industry, radiolocation community and space science community, was actively involved in the development of these recommendations. During the same period, and in preparation for participation at the conference, Canada developed a series of proposals, in consultation with industry, for the treatment of these issues.

At WRC-03 in June 2003, decisions were made to adopt a number of changes to the International Frequency Allocation Table to provide new or upgraded allocations to the mobile, Earth exploration satellite (active), space research (active) and radiolocation services. As well, a number of international footnotes were adopted to facilitate sharing amongst the services in the 5 GHz range. In general, the results of WRC-03 reflect Canada's positions prior to the Conference.

This document proposes frequency allocation changes to the mobile, Earth exploration-satellite (active), space research (active) and radiolocation services, taking into account decisions made at WRC-03. Furthermore, this document proposes new or revised policy and technical rules governing the use of wireless local area networks operating in the 5 GHz band.

This consultation will be of interest to a number of stakeholders, including the radiolocation service community, Earth exploration-satellite service community and the wireless local area network industry. Through the adoption of new rules proposed in this consultation paper, the general public is expected to benefit. More spectrum will be available for new and innovative radio applications, thus strengthening Canada's economy. Industry Canada invites all interested parties to comment on the proposals outlined in this paper.

2. Proposed Frequency Allocation Changes in the 5 GHz Band

At WRC-03, a number of allocation changes were made to the International Table of Frequency Allocations in the 5 GHz band. In the following sections, the outcome of WRC-03, proposed changes to the Canadian Table Frequency of Allocations, as well as other considerations that lead to the proposed changes are presented.

2.1 Radiolocation Service

In Canada, the radiolocation service has a primary allocation in the bands 5250-5350 MHz and 5650-5725 MHz. In the band 5350-5650 MHz, the radiolocation service is allocated on a secondary basis.

WRC-03 upgraded the status of the radiolocation service to primary in the band 5350-5650 MHz. One key aspect was the protection of the radiolocation service from the potential of interference from the aggregate emission of licence-exempt local area networks (LE-LANs). As well, in order to ensure compatibility of operation between different services, a number of international footnotes were adopted. In line with the decisions taken by WRC-03, the Department proposes the following changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations in the band 5350-5650 MHz and as shown in Appendix 1: 

  • Upgrade the radiolocation service from secondary to primary status in the band 5350-5650 MHz.
  • Adopt new international footnotes 5.448D, 5.450A, and 5.450B, relevant to the operation of the radiolocation service.

The Department invites comments on this proposal.

2.2 Earth Exploration-Satellite (Active) and Space Research (Active) Services

The Earth exploration-satellite (EESS) (active) service is allocated on a primary basis in the band 5250-5460 MHz. (The band 5350-5460 MHz was made available to EESS (active) on a primary basis at the WRC in 1997.) Space research service (SRS) (active) is also allocated on a primary basis in the band 5250-5350 MHz.

WRC-03 provided new primary allocations to the EESS (active) and space research (active) services in the band 5460-5570 MHz. In addition, WRC-03 allocated the band 5350-5460 MHz to the space research (active) service on a primary basis in order to make available 320 MHz of contiguous bandwidth for both closely related services.

The band 5350-5460 MHz for space research (active) service was not originally part of the WRC-03 agenda; few studies were conducted to examine the compatibility of such service with other services. However, it was recognized at the conference that the EESS (active) and space research (active) services have similar operation and, based on compatibility studies between the EESS (active) service and other services, there was some assurance that both the EESS and SRS services will be compatible with other services operating in the same band. Despite the limited number of studies, the conference decided to provide a primary allocation to the SRS (active) service in the band 5350-5460 MHz, and inserted a footnote (Footnote 5.448C as shown in Appendix 1) to the International Table to ensure protection to other primary services operating in the same band.

A number of additional footnotes were also added to ensure compatibility with other services. The Department proposes the following changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations in the band 5250-5570 MHz and as shown in Appendix 1: 

  • Enter a new allocation to the Earth exploration-satellite (active) service on a primary basis in the band 5460-5570 MHz.
  • Enter a new allocation to the space research (active) service on a primary basis in the band 5350-5570 MHz.
  • Adopt new and/or modified international footnotes 5.448A, 5.448B and 5.448C, relevant to the operation of Earth exploration-satellite (active) or space research (active) services.

The Department invites comments on these proposals.

2.3 Mobile Service

Since the introduction of the spectrum utilization policy for LE-LANs in 1999 (Spectrum Utilization Policy for Licence Exempt Wireless Local Area Networks in the 5 GHz Range (SP-5150 MHz)), the LE-LAN industry has experienced significant growth. A number of applications have been envisioned to operate in the 5 GHz band. The 5 GHz band complements the 2.4 GHz band for LE-LANs. Many innovative broadband products and applications have appeared in the market. The 5 GHz band has also been used to provide last mile connections to homes and offices in urban, as well as rural areas.

The operation of LE-LANs in the 5 GHz range is currently governed by Canadian Footnote C39A, which designates the bands 5150-5250 MHz, 5250-5350 MHz and 5725-5825 MHz for use by LE-LANs based on not interfering with, nor claiming protection from licensed services. No service allocation entry was made in the Canadian Table. Under the current provisions, a range of fixed and mobile applications and devices (e.g. nomadic or non-nomadic, point-to-point and point-to-multipoint) operate on a licence-exempt basis. It should be noted that the band 5725-5825 MHz was not considered at WRC-03. This band is part of the existing three bands (300 MHz) of LE-LAN spectrum (C39A) in Canada.

The conference made available a total of 455 MHz of spectrum to the mobile service on a primary basis for the implementation of wireless access systems including Radio Local Area Networks in the bands 5150-5250 MHz, 5250-5350 MHz and 5470-5725 MHz. Along with the changes to the International Table, a number of footnotes, which specify the technical limits on LE-LANs, have been put in place to ensure compatibility with other service allocations.

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently amended their domestic rules governing the operation of unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices, including Radio Local Area Networks (RLANs), and made an additional 255 MHz of spectrum available in the band 5470-5725 MHz.

The Department notes that many countries worldwide have made spectrum available, or are in the process of making spectrum available, for the development of wireless access facilities in the 5 GHz band. Some of these countries have announced plans to make additional spectrum available for LE-LANs based on the results of the WRC.

The Department recognizes the benefits of economies of scale of consumer products, which are achievable with international harmonization. It will be important for Canada to harmonize its spectrum usage and technical requirements with the international community, in accordance with the decisions of WRC-03.

The Department proposes the following changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations in the bands 5150-5350 MHz and 5470-5850 MHz, and as shown in Appendix 1: 

  • Enter a new allocation to the mobile service on a primary basis in the bands 5150-5350 MHz and 5470-5725 MHz.
  • Adopt new international footnotes 5.446A, 5.446B, 5.447F and 5.450A, relevant to the operation of the mobile service.
  • Modify Canadian footnote C39A and add a new footnote CXX to indicate that the operation of wireless local area network systems will be accommodated in the bands with the development of spectrum utilization policies and technical criteria.

The Department invites comments on these proposals.

2.4 Summary and Proposed Allocation Changes

Figure 1 below provides an overview of the resulting international allocation changes made at WRC-03.

Figure 1: Summary of WRC-03 allocations in the 5 GHz range
Figure 1
Notes

[Description of Figure 1]


Footnotes

  1. back to footnote reference 1 Word Radiocommunication Conferences are held approximately every 3-5 years. During the conferences, administrations from around the world participate in considering many spectrum related radiocommunication issues.
  2. back to footnote reference 2 Resolution 736 (WRC-2000):  Consideration by a future competent world radiocommunication conference of issues dealing with allocations to the mobile, fixed, radiolocation, Earth exploration-satellite (active), and space research (active) services in the frequency range 5150-5725 MHz.
  3. back to footnote reference 3 Recommendation ITU-R S.1426:  Aggregate power flux-density limits, at the FSS satellite orbit for radio local area network (RLAN) transmitters operating in the 5 150-5 250 MHz band sharing frequencies with the FSS (RR Number 5.447A).
  4. back to footnote reference 4 Recommendation ITU-R S.1427:  Methodology and criterion to assess interference from radio local area (RLAN) transmitters to non-GSO MSS feeder links in the band 5 150-5 250 MHz.
  5. back to footnote reference 5 Recommendation ITU-R M.1454:  e.i.r.p. density limit and operational restrictions for RLANs or other wireless access transmitters in order to ensure the protection of feeder links of non-geostationary systems in the mobile-satellite service in the frequency band 5 150-5 250 MHz.
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