• Event: Understanding the Spectrum Environment: Using data and monitoring to improve spectrum utilization
  • Date: March 31, 2014
  • Location: Arlington, VA



The Presidenitial Memorandum –Expanding America’s Leadership in Wireless Innovation, released on June 14, 2013, identifies the critical need to monitor spectrum usage in real time. In support of moving this concept forward, the Wireless Spectrum Research and Development Senior Steering Group (WSRD SSG) will hold its next workshop, Understanding the Spectrum Environment: Using data and monitoring to improve spectrum utilization, on March 31, from 9:00AM-6:00PM, at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA. This workshop will bring together experts across government, industry, and academia to discuss how the use of spectrum data and monitoring can be used to better inform spectrum policy and management decisions, improve regulatory enforcement, and coordinate more efficient and dynamic spectrum usage. Information gathered from the workshop will be instrumental in helping the WSRD SSG develop recommendations to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Workshop Goals

The workshop will utilize the collective expertise of thought leaders to:

  • Examine spectrum monitoring and data as a way to improve utilization
  • Establish meaningful and achievable National goals related to spectrum monitoring
  • Develop a roadmap with meaningful R&D outcomes to achieve these goals


With a few notable exceptions, past spectrum measurements have been short-term ad hoc efforts that provide snapshots of information in particular bands of incumbent usage. Advances and developments in sensor technology, computing speeds, applications, data, and information management (e.g. Big Data) have opened new possibilities for automated long-term monitoring and data reporting. With standardization and best practices to ensure data quality, usable formats and security, measured data could be made available alongside spectrum license data to improve the quality and quantity of information available for various decision makers. Further, in the spirit of the PCAST Spectrum Access System (SAS) recommendation, this information fed into a compatibility algorithm could enable an automated dynamic spectrum access paradigm for select scenarios.

Beyond advances in “passive” spectrum monitoring technologies, there is a vast and increasing amount of “active” data being collected. Performance metrics, for example, are acquired on a routine basis by wireless carriers but there have been limited efforts to collect, extend, and collate this information for the benefit of all. It has been suggested that end user devices could not only be enlisted to measure wireless performance on a voluntary basis – they could be used for enforcement purposes to detect, identify, and locate interference events. With such data monitoring and exposure, however, comes several key issues related to security and privacy.

Workshop Format

The morning will feature two panels, one focusing on policy, and one on current key spectrum monitoring projects. This will be followed by an extended working lunch featuring exhibits and demonstrations. In the afternoon, workshop participants will join one of three working groups for the purpose of collecting perspectives, refining ideas, and developing recommendations. Each of the groups will consider an application of spectrum monitoring and data within a particular focus area. The workshop will then reconvene and conclude with a full group discussion. The focus areas are:

  • Informing Spectrum Policy and Management: How can the increasing availability of data better inform policy development ? Where can data be used most effectively to improve policy decisions? In a data-driven approach to spectrum management, what policy areas will require special attention, such as privacy and security?
  • Interference Resolution and Enforcement: How will advances in monitoring techniques and data management make enforcement more efficient and effective? What still needs to be done?
  • Coordinating Spectrum Usage: How can improvements in monitoring and access to data enable new paradigms of sharing, including automated dynamic spectrum access?

Common objectives and outcomes for each focus group include:

  • Clearly define the goals and scope of the group.
  • Identify a key application(s) for using data in this context.
  • Develop a strawman that describes the type of data necessary for use by the application(s).
  • Identify key challenges with the identified data-driven uses and data sets.
  • Develop a roadmap with recommended benchmarks, milestones, and research topics.


Introduction and Overview

Keynote Speaker Panel

Key Projects Panel

Demo/Exhibit Session

    • (See list of participants below)

Focus Groups

Concluding Panel

Moderated by Dennis Roberson – bio, video, Concluding Panel Notes and Votes

Demo/Exhibit Participants

Microsoft Spectrum Observatory, National Instruments: Ettus Research, IIT Spectrum Observatory, LS Telecom, Key Bridge, AVCOM of Virginia, Inc., CRFS Limited, Agilent Technologies, Inc., Rohde & Schwarz, Test Equipment Plus: Signal Hound, FCC/Enforcement Bureau, S2 Corporation, ISCO International, ICF International, Wireless Innovation Forum

Planning Committee