Dynamic Spectrum Sharing within the 5G era

When it comes to mobile communications, spectrum is the number one resource for every Mobile Network Operator (MNO) and, more specifically, how effectively and efficiently it is allocated among users across different technologies. Optimal spectrum management has direct effect on end user experience, and therefore, it affects MNOs key operations.

At the transition from 3G to 4G, MNOs needed either to invest on new spectrum, for accommodating 4G network deployment, or to re-farm existing pieces of it, used for 2G and 3G operation. This spectrum re-farming had a static nature, as bandwidth could be either used for legacy 2G/3G technology or for the newly deployed 4G network and led to inefficient spectrum allocation among the different technologies, mainly on the early stages of 4G deployment.

As we move towards the 5G era, optimal and diverse spectrum usage is key enabler and goal for the 5G operation. With the transition from 4G to 5G mobile networks, we are going over a true evolution in terms of spectrum management.

And why is that?

For 5G meeting the extreme high data rate goals set by IMT-2020, it needs to operate in frequencies higher than 6GHz, going up to mmWave spectrum, where 5G can benefit from higher data rates, greater bandwidth and, due to poor propagation properties, better spectrum reuse, benefiting also small cell and C-RAN deployment. These high frequency bands (over 24GHz) will have a key role in the 5G era, but their usage comes with a very high price; in order for MNOs to deploy network in the over 24GHz bands, huge investment is needed in terms of new equipment and infrastructure.

So how MNOs could benefit from the existing infrastructure and spectrum, while avoiding the static, inefficient spectrum re-farming practice followed for the 3G to 4G transmission?

Well, here comes the functionality of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) among 4G/5G. With DSS, available spectrum is allocated in an intelligent manner between 4G and 5G carriers operating in the same frequency depending on the traffic requirement and user needs. The transition from 4G to 5G, happens in milliseconds and guarantees minimum spectrum wastage and optimal end user experience.

The key advantages of that functionality?

• That deployment is based on existing infrastructure and spectrum. Of course, network equipment needs to be capable to support the software upgrade required for DSS
• DSS is mainly used to support low and mid band frequencies, thus allowing MNOs to succeed in their coverage strategic expansion and adaptation of Massive IoT within the network
• In the initial 5G deployment, when 5G users are not many, spectrum will be allocated among 4G/5G users without static, inefficient frequency re-farming to 5G

TTS’ engineering team is supporting TIER 1 US Operators with the successful integration, commissioning and testing of such 5G DSS solutions, guaranteeing flawless 5G deployment along with the existing LTE expansion.

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