World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) News: ITU identifies new bands for 5G, procedures for LEO satellite operators
According to telecompaper news, about 3,400 delegates from 165 member states have signed the International Telecommunication Union’s Radio Regulations’ Final Acts, the international treaty governing the global use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. The signatures were given during the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19) at Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh , now concluded. The biggest takeaway from the conference was the identification of more frequency bands for 5G and the establishment of regulatory procedures for mega constellations of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites.
The conference identified additional globally harmonised (millimetre wave) frequency bands for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), including IMT-2020, otherwise known as 5G mobile. Specifically, additional bands for IMT were identified in the 24.25-27.5 GHz, 37-43.5 GHz, 45.5-47 GHz, 47.2-48.2 and 66-71 GHz bands. This will make is easier to develop enhanced mobile broadband, massive machine-type communications and ultra-reliable and low-latency communications.
The ITU said the move will also unlock a host of applications facilitating Intelligent Transport Systems, creating smart cities and making communities more sustainable while allowing for effective climate action, improved health care, sustainable agricultural practices, and greater energy efficiency.
Procedures for LEO constellations
Regulatory procedures were also established for non-geostationary satellite constellations in the fixed-satellite service, opening the skies to next-generation communication capabilities such as mega-constellations of LEO satellites. These can provide connectivity for remote sensing, space and upper atmosphere research, meteorology, astronomy, technology demonstration and education.
Protection of earth-exploration satellite service and radio astronomy stations
Protections were also accorded to the Earth-exploration satellite service (EESS) as well as meteorological and other passive services in adjacent bands, such as the space research service (SRS). to ensure that space-based monitoring of the earth and its atmosphere remain unhindered. Satellite services supporting meteorology and climatology that aim to safeguard human life and natural resources will be protected from harmful radio-frequency interference, as will systems used by radio astronomers for deep space exploration. Steps were also taken to ensure that radio astronomy stations would be protected from any harmful radio interference from other space stations or satellite systems in orbit.
More bands for High Altitude Platform Systems
The conference also introduced regulatory changes for a rational, efficient and economical use of radio frequencies and associated orbits, including the geostationary-satellite orbit. The conference identified additional frequency bands for High Altitude Platform Systems, radios on aerial platforms hovering in the stratosphere, for telecommunications within a wide coverage area below for affordable broadband access in rural and remote areas.
Wi-Fi without interference
Regarding Wi-Fi networks, WRC-19 revised regulatory provisions to accommodate both indoor and outdoor internet use, and the growth in demand for wireless access systems, including RLANs for end-user radio connections to public or private core networks, such as Wi-Fi, while limiting their interference into existing satellite services.
Looking at railway radiocommunication systems between train and trackside (RSTT), the conference approved a resolution to facilitate the deployment of railway train and trackside systems. This will help meet the needs of a high-speed railway environment in particular for train radio applications for improved railway traffic control, passenger safety and security for train operations. ·
Considering intelligent transport systems (ITS) the ITU approved standards to ICTs in evolving Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) to connect vehicles, improve traffic management and assist in safer driving.
BSS spectrum for developing countries
The conference also provided a priority mechanism for developing countries to regain access to spectrum orbit resources for broadcasting-satellite service (BSS).
Finally, the conference expanded coverage and enhanced the capabilities of the world’s Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).
Looking ahead in its Vision 2023, the ITU will look to define and modernise conditions and for earth stations, high-altitude IMT base stations (HIBS) and aeronautical mobile applications and continue to develop the GMDSS system.