Do Unlicensed Frequencies Pose Issues for Municipal Broadband?

By Frank DeMasi | June 29, 2015

| municipal broadband |

Screen_Shot_2015-06-25_at_10.22.31_AMUsing unlicensed frequencies poses many potential issues for municipalities looking to creat their own broadband networks.

Since each geographic area will be different, determining interference risks will be an important initial step. Third party interference will be more difficult to resolve than interference generated by your own operations. Mitigating your own interference comes down to how your network is engineered overall.

Point to Point and Point to Multipoint topologies work best when combinations of unlicensed frequencies are used with highly directional antenna configurations. Capacity planning the available throughput needs to be done during the initial design phase, taking into account the amount of bandwidth concurrent customers will get as well as the growth potential planned for from the beginning, will keep your network healthy. Once the original networks capacity limits are reached, an upgrade will be required – eventually you will reach a maximum the wireless network can support in a given area. At that point, there is not much we as WISPs can do unless the FCC frees up more spectrum.

As far as SLA’s go, many manufacturers hardware can easily provide 5 9’s of uptime with 3rd party interference reducing that number. Again, depending on the area being served, dense areas have the highest risk compared to rural or isolated areas. Explaining to the customer what you can and cannot control from the beginning of a project will, in the end, provide all parties with a realistic set of deliverables of what the technology can and can’t deliver.

If you're interested in discussing further or have questions, feel free to reach out: fdemasi (AT) resolutepartners (dot) com