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Mobile data and Asset Tracking: applications we are pursuing for US nationwide MBC (by direct MBC links and also by several indirect means: our own regional/ local mobile radio mesh nets, and by use of various existing wireless networks.
Spectrum for Asset-Tracking Mobile Data Networks Using Meteor Burst Systems
A Consultation Document
The Radiocommunications Agency is an Executive Agency of the Department of Trade and Industry The Agency General Enquiry Point/Switchboard telephone number: 020 7211 0211
The consultation criteria, to be reproduced in all consultation documents that fall within the scope of the Code of Practice on written consultation, published by the Cabinet Office in November 2000.
1. Timing of consultation should be built into the planning process for a policy (including legislation) or service from the start, so that it has the best prospect of improving the proposals concerned, and so that sufficient time is left for it at each stage. 2. It should be clear who is being consulted, about what questions, in what timescale and for what purpose. 3. A consultation document should be as simple and concise as possible. It should include a summary, in two pages at most, of the main questions it seeks views on. It should make it as easy as possible for readers to respond, make contact or complain. 4. Documents should be made widely available, with the fullest use of electronic means (though not to the exclusion of others), and effectively drawn to the attention of all interested groups and individuals. 5. Sufficient time should be allowed for considered responses from all groups with an interest. Twelve weeks should be the standard minimum period for a consultation. 6. Responses should be carefully and open-mindedly analysed, and the results made widely available, with an account of the views expressed, and reasons for decisions finally taken. 7. Departments should monitor and evaluate consultations, designating a consultation co-ordinator who will ensure the lessons are disseminated.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Executive Summary Responses to the Consultation What are Meteor Burst Systems? The Current Data Market Spectrum Requirements for Future Development of Meteor Burst Systems Licensing Issues Summary of Questions Harmonised Frequencies and Free Circulation and Use for Meteor Scatter Applications
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In the last few years a number of companies have developed systems that can provide asset-tracking and remote metering services using Meteor Burst technology. Proponents of these systems believe that there is a market for these services, which is not being adequately served by existing mobile data network operators. The need to identify spectrum for Meteor Burst services has been recognised at European level, in a report produced by the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT)1. Two reports by CEPT’s European Radiocommunications Committee (ERC) are also relevant2. The Radiocommunications Agency (RA) recognises the need to address the issue of licensing Meteor Burst systems, as this would have clear advantages in terms of providing a larger market for asset-tracking products. A Europe-wide approach is clearly the preferred way to develop new markets for radio-based systems, because of the economies of scale a harmonised European market would offer. Therefore, notwithstanding any decision to seek a UK solution, RA will continue to promote the adoption of a European allocation for Meteor Burst systems. This consultation document reviews the spectrum issues associated with providing a UK allocation for these services in line with ERC Recommendation (00)04 (see Appendix 1), and seeks comments on the proposal to make the 39.0 to 39.2 MHz band available for the deployment of Meteor Burst systems in the UK. Expressions are sought from those interested in the award of a licence for the operation of a nationally based Meteor Burst network.
CEPT/ERC Working Group Spectrum Engineering (WG SE) report ‘Meteor Scatter Applications’, dated 13 September 1999. ERC Report 93 (Compatibility with TV) and ERC Report 94 (Meteor Scatter Applications). attached below
RESPONSES TO THE CONSULTATION
RESPONSES TO THE CONSULTATION Responses to this consultation should arrive no later than Friday, 14 March 2003. These should be sent to RA and copied to the Department of Trade and Industry at the following addresses: Girish Patel Public Wireless Networks Unit Radiocommunications Agency Wyndham House 189 Marsh Wall London E14 9SX Or electronically to email@example.com Or by fax to 020 7211 0117 Gordon Tarrant BRCII Directorate Department of Trade and Industry 151 Buckingham Palace Road London SW1W 9SS Or electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org
This consultation document is also being published on the RA website (www.radio.gov.uk). Any comments or complaints about the conduct of this consultation should be addressed to: Julia Fraser Information and Publicity Manager Radiocommunications Agency Wyndham House 189 Marsh Wall London E14 9SX Or electronically to email@example.com
Publication of responses 2.4 Respondents to this consultation should note that, in the interests of open government: • unless confidentiality is expressly requested, individual responses will be placed
RESPONSES TO THE CONSULTATION
in the public domain in printed or electronic format, together with the names and contact details of authors. Respondents are requested to make it very clear if they wish to keep some or all of their response confidential; • unconditional permission to publish responses will be assumed unless the author expressly states otherwise; • any copyright attached to responses will be assumed to have been relinquished unless it is expressly reserved; and • the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 will apply to information supplied.
WHAT ARE METEOR BURST SYSTEMS?
WHAT ARE METEOR BURST SYSTEMS? There are countless millions of dust particles in space. Every day the Earth’s gravitational force attracts innumerable particles the size of a grain of sand. These particles burn up in the upper layers of the atmosphere and end their existence as a stream of hot gases. In the burning phase, which lasts for less than a second, these small meteor trails can reflect radio waves. Meteor Burst systems make use of this property by transmitting short signals into space. If a meteor happens to be in the right place at the right time, the signal is reflected towards the Earth’s surface and is received by a remote station. Two-way communication is then set up for the duration of the burning phase, allowing a brief exchange of messages. Since the typical height of an ionized meteor trail is about 100 km, this mechanism will support beyond-lineof-sight communication, typically to a distance of 1,800 km. This type of radio technology can therefore be used to build a communication network for a number of specific applications. Until recently, there was no way to detect and take advantage of a usable trail before it dissipated, so communication by way of meteor bursts was a curiosity, occasionally used by radio amateurs but with very little practical application. The advent of modern, low-cost digital technology and high-speed numerical processing equipment has brought about a rapid evolution of Meteor Burst technology that is commercially available and can provide reliable beyond-line-of-sight communications when other media fail. Meteor Burst networks provide two-way transmissions of non-voice messages (data). The data is usually transmitted in ‘packet’ form, i.e. in short, high-speed bursts rather than in real time. If sending a text message, for example, the text is typed into a terminal and stored until the user is ready to transmit. This approach makes these networks very spectrum-efficient, since a message that might take many seconds to send by voice or type on a keyboard can be transmitted over the air as block data in a fraction of a second. A typical Meteor Burst network consists of one or more master stations and a number of remote stations. The master stations can communicate with remote stations or with other master stations. Communication between remote stations must be relayed through a master station. Once a usable trail is detected and its quality determined, a packet of digitized data is transmitted in a high-speed burst. The existence of a usable trail is determined by the reception of a probe signal, transmitted by a master station to another station in the network. When a station receives the probe signal, it transmits back an acknowledgement to the master station, indicating that a usable trail exists and it is ready to exchange data. This ‘handshaking’ uses a considerable portion of the trail’s useful life and takes place
WHAT ARE METEOR BURST SYSTEMS?
each time a burst of data is transmitted - often several times during the life of a trail. This validation process improves system reliability at the expense of data rates. Typical transmission data rates vary from a few kilobits per second to over 100 kilobits per second, depending on the duration of the trail. 3.6 An important precondition for Meteor Burst technology is the choice of frequency. A viable system can be developed only in the low VHF band (38 to 52 MHz), where there is the right combination of receiver sensitivity and reflecting capacity of the meteor trails. The frequencies most commonly used for Meteor Burst systems are between 38 and 60 MHz. While these are not hard limits, frequencies outside this range have limited applications. Below 38 MHz, effective communication is hampered by atmospheric and galactic noise, physical antenna size and attenuation due to the D layer (an intermediate layer of the ionosphere). Above 60 MHz, a trail’s useful duration is limited by phase dispersion due to multipath. The propagation loss also increases proportionally (following a square law) with frequency.
Skytel: No, the lower limit is closer to 30 MHz. Sub-40 MHz, per some tests and papers, has advantages where coverage sought is closer in: 500 miles or so. SkyTel has 43 and 35 MHz throughout the US to use for MBC, and for some supporting terrestrial links.
THE CURRENT DATA MARKET
THE CURRENT DATA MARKET Four licensed operators currently provide mobile data services in the UK: Cognito Ltd, Transcomm Ltd, Vodafone Ltd and Siemens Datatrak Location and Information Systems. Tracker Networks (UK) Ltd and Quiktrak (UK) Ltd provide an automatic vehicle location (AVL) system. Cellular GSM/TETRA and Public Access Mobile Radio (PAMR) also provide data functionality in their service provision, but data transmissions currently account for only a small percentage of the total traffic (voice and data) capacity. The four data networks cover approximately 90% of the UK, with approximately 200 base stations in each network. Since services were launched in 1993, the overall public mobile data market has grown to approximately 65,000 subscribers. As well as providing an efficient, low-cost solution for both private vehicle and fleet operations, mobile data systems also lend themselves to such applications as home security, telemetry/telecommand, industrial plant and equipment.
SPECTRUM REQUIREMENTS FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF METEOR BURST SYSTEMS
SPECTRUM REQUIREMENTS FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF METEOR BURST SYSTEMS The need to identify spectrum for Meteor Burst systems has been recognised at European level, in a report produced for the CEPT/ERC Working Group Spectrum Engineering (WG SE). WG SE investigated the compatibility with television reception of a mobile Meteor Burst application at 39 MHz. The results were laid down in the final report SE(99) T19. rev 2 at a WG SE meeting in February 1999. The general conclusion was that possible interference can be avoided by careful site planning (base stations) or will be negligible in practice (mobile stations). Based on these compatibility studies, 39.0 to 39.2 MHz has been identified as a harmonised frequency band for Meteor Burst applications.
Question 1: Do you agree that the 39.0 to 39.2 MHz band should be made available for the deployment of Meteor Burst systems in the UK? 5.3 A maximum of seven channels of 25 kHz bandwidth can be identified within the harmonised frequency band for Meteor Burst applications.
Frequency 39.0 MHz Channels A B C D E F
Centre frequencies: 39.0 + n (0.025) MHz where n = 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 5.4 ERC Report 94 recommends using two 25 kHz channels for a Meteor Burst communication system. If a single frequency channel is used for the entire network communication, the master stations are very likely to interfere and disturb the communication with the remote stations. By identifying a single transmitter frequency channel and a single receiver frequency channel for the master stations, the interference between two master stations can be omitted and the Meteor Burst communication link can be used more efficiently. The two channels are used by the remote stations in reverse order.
LICENSING ISSUES Expressions are sought from those interested in the award of a licence for the operation of a nationally based Meteor Burst network within the UK. This network will require licences under both the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 and the Telecommunications Act 1984. Depending on the results of this consultation, RA will be in a position to consider a Wireless Telegraphy Act (WT Act) licence award process. However, before a WT Act licence can be awarded, RA will need to obtain clearance from CEPT to use two 25 kHz channels in this fashion. Furthermore, depending on the timing of the award process, a Telecommunications Act licence may not be required since this will be replaced by an authorisation process in July 2003.
Question 2: Are you interested in the award of a licence for the operation of a nationally based Meteor Burst network?
SUMMARY OF QUESTIONS
SUMMARY OF QUESTIONS Question 1: Do you agree that the 39.0 to 39.2 MHz band should be made available for the deployment of Meteor Burst systems in the UK? Question 2: Are you interested in the award of a licence for the operation of a nationally based Meteor Burst network?
European Radiocommunications Committee (ERC) within the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) ERC RECOMMENDATION (00)04 HARMONISED FREQUENCIES AND FREE CIRCULATION AND USE FOR METEOR SCATTER APPLICATIONS
Recommendation adopted by the Working Group “Frequency Management” (WGFM) INTRODUCTION Meteor Burst or scatter refers to a unique means of long distance communication, ranging from 500 up to 1500 kilometres, via reflections by ionised gas trails in the upper atmosphere. These gas trails are generated by the burn up of small meteors impacting on the earth’s atmosphere. The typical meteor trail is only available for a few hundreds of milliseconds. Due to this nature communication is only possible in short intervals. The delay between the appearance of two consecutive trails ranges from seconds to minutes, depending on the time of the year and the time of day. Meteor scatter communication is feasible using frequencies between 30 and 50 MHz. Data communication utilising Meteor scatter can be established by a network of VHF radio systems. With a network consisting of a relatively small number of powerful base stations large areas can be covered for communication with remote mobile and/or fixed stations. In areas with a high level of environmental noise auxiliary stations using line-ofsight propagation may be added to support the Meteor scatter communication network. Such networks can support a variety of data communication services for road transport and telemetry applications. Services like fleet management, two-way data communication, tracking, alarm messaging and remote measuring can be offered. Individual CEPT administrations were faced with the request from manufacturers and service providers to open up spectrum for such an application. Due to the requirement for free circulation and cross border operation of mobile equipment it became indispensable to identify a harmonised band for Meteor Scatter Applications. In order to introduce this type of service and category of equipment within CEPT, the ERC decided that harmonised conditions should be developed, as far as possible. The designation of a harmonised band will form the basis for the free circulation of Meteor Scatter terminals within Europe and will furthermore facilitate the mutual recognition of conformity assessment, where relevant.
Implementation of this Recommendation by CEPT administrations will provide a clear indication that the required frequency bands will be available on time and on a Europeanwide basis to the extend possible. “The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations, considering a) that Meteor scatter applications can provide for low cost data services over long distances and in remote areas; b) that there is a need for a European-wide harmonised frequency band for such type of applications; c) that European harmonisation will reduce difficulties in border areas; d) that harmonisation of technical and regulatory measures will enable administrations an easy introduction of Meteor Scatter Applications; e) that in a deregulated environment long range data communications by means of Meteor Scatter can encourage competition which may be beneficial to the user; f) that compatibility with TV-broadcasting reception, cordless telephones and wireless microphones has been studied within CEPT (ERC Report 93). The results of the studies show that no harmful interference is expected to the studied systems if the Meteor Scatter systems are operated in accordance with the technical conditions of Annex 3 to this Recommendation; g) that the compatibility of systems having technical conditions different to those given in Annex 3 may be studied within CEPT which may result in inclusion of additional technical conditions in Annex 3 to this Recommendation; h) that in accordance with ERC Report 25 in the “major utilisation” column the band 39.0-39.2 MHz is noted for meteor scatter applications; i) that due to the pan-European communication distances possible with meteor scatter communications, it is not practical for frequencies to be shared between meteor scatter systems in the same service area; j) that Administrations have the right to exercise spectrum/frequency management which may affect the number of service suppliers, in conformity with their international trade obligations and to European Community legislation as far as EU Member States are concerned;
k) that allocations, assignment and technical co-ordination of frequencies must be done in an objective, timely, impartial, transparent and non-discriminatory manner, and should not be more burdensome than necessary under international rules, in particular, to ensure the efficient use of the frequency spectrum; recommends 1) to designate the band 39.0 – 39.2 MHz for the use of meteor scatter applications with a channelling arrangement as given in Annex 1 to this Recommendation; 2) that the ERO shall keep a record of assignments of meteor scatter systems as given in Annex 2 to this Recommendation and make this information publicly available e.g. on the ERO web site; 3) that administrations should assign frequencies to operators of meteor scatter systems after consulting the ERO record of assigned frequencies and coverage areas of baseand auxiliary stations, and inform the ERO on the assignment made; 4) that, if required on the basis of relevant co-ordination agreements (e.g. Vienna agreement), base and auxiliary stations should be co-ordinated by the administrations on whose territory they are located; 5) that the base and auxiliary stations should be licensed by the administration on whose territory they are located and that administrations should notify the ERO if the license is cancelled; 6) that Meteor Scatter applications should comply with the technical conditions as given in Annex 3 to this Recommendation; 7) that administrations should permit the free circulation and use of remote mobile stations of systems that have been co-ordinated and licensed in accordance with Recommends 3, 4, 5 and 6; 8) that remote mobile stations, which are permitted free circulation and use, shall not claim protection from other systems.” Note: Please check the ERO web site (www.ero.dk) for the up to date position on the implementation of this and other ERC Recommendations.
Annex 1 ON HARMONISED FREQUENCIES AND FREE CIRCULATION AND USE FOR METEOR SCATTER APPLICATIONS Channelling arrangement Frequency 39.0 MHz Channels A B C D E F G
Center frequencies: 39.0 + n (0.025) MHz where n= 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
Annex 2 ON HARMONISED FREQUENCIES AND FREE CIRCULATION AND USE FOR METEOR SCATTER APPLICATIONS With regard to Recommends 2, the following list comprises the minimum data held by ERO and made publicly available e.g. on the ERO web site: – – – – – – – – – – Country Operator License period Channels Center frequencies Type of stations (including ERP) Geographical co-ordinates of base- and auxiliary stations Coverage area Designation of emission Burst duration
Annex 3 ON HARMONISED FREQUENCIES AND FREE CIRCULATION AND USE FOR METEOR SCATTER APPLICATIONS Within CEPT the compatibility of a Meteor Scatter application at 39 MHz with TVbroadcasting reception, cordless telephones and wireless microphones has been studied. The results of the studies show that no harmful interference is expected to the systems that were under investigation if the Meteor Scatter application is operated in accordance with the technical conditions and the guidelines listed below: System specifications of Meteor Scatter application Channel spacing Max. output power base station (e.r.p.) Max. output power auxiliary station (e.r.p.) Max. output power remote mobile station (e.r.p.) Max. burst duration* Min. repetition period remote mobile station* Max. number of messages / day / remote mobile station Applicable standard 25 kHz 17.5 kW 100 W 50 W 100 ms 10 s 24 EN 300-113
* The Meteor Scatter application applies a “receive-before-transmit procedure”. A remote mobile station can therefore only transmit when the propagation path to a base or auxiliary station is open, reducing the chance of interference substantially.
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