Cutting-edge program seeks to thwart radio spectrum battles, bottlenecks

DARPA program looks to address challenge of spectrum access in frequencies between 2-4 GHz

With only a certain amount of truly useable radio spectrum it is inevitable that more battles of the use of that space become more frequent.

Deflecting such battles will perhaps be the end result of a new program researchers at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will detail later this month. DARPA's Shared Spectrum Access for Radar and Communications (SSPARC) program has a goal of boosting radar and communications capabilities for military and commercial users by creating technical ways to enable spectrum sharing.

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SSPARC looks to support two beyond state of the art types of spectrum sharing: Military radars sharing spectrum with military communications networks, and military radars sharing spectrum with commercial communications networks, DARPA stated.

"Balancing national security requirements of radars and military networks with the growing bandwidth demands of commercial wireless data networks calls for innovative approaches to managing spectrum access," DARPA stated.

DARPA went on to say that the challenge of spectrum access is especially acute in the frequencies between 2-4 GHz, which are highly desirable for military systems and commercial networks. SSPARC will focus on technologies to share spectrum at these frequencies. Technologies developed in the program could be applicable at other frequencies as well.

SSPARC program research includes spectrum sharing technologies appropriate for rapid adoption as well as longer-term, more fundamental changes to radar and communications system design. The rapid adoption portion of the program seeks to develop software and cost-effective upgrades to existing systems enabling deployment within the next five to eight years.

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DARPA also said it anticipates technology vendors with the  SSPARC program will coordinate with appropriate spectrum management offices in the Department of Defense and other Federal agencies. Interaction with commercial communications standards bodies is also planned.

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