Shared Spectrum Metrology Group
Who we are
NIST CTL’s Shared Spectrum Metrology Group develops metrology underlying spectrum sharing, an umbrella term for emerging technologies designed to maximize the use of today’s wireless frequency bands, particularly those coveted for enabling communications over wide areas and into buildings.
By directly addressing the spectrum crunch, our work directly impacts the communication industry and its hundreds of millions of customers – and, in the near-term, the U.S. military, whose allocated spectrum in the 3.5 gigahertz band is a focus of pioneering U.S. tiered-access spectrum-sharing efforts. In this area in particular, our work is significant as a key technical resource for the National Advanced Spectrum and Communications Test Network (NASCTN). Our basic research also promises to improve the robustness, performance and reliability of future wireless systems used in medical settings such as operating rooms, manufacturing facilities, stadiums, public-safety settings, utilities, and elsewhere.
Our work considers two related but distinct ways in which users and their wireless devices operate at the same frequencies. The first is the aforementioned tiered-access spectrum-sharing, in which primary users’ right to exclusive spectrum use is preserved by smart “spectrum access systems” guiding the actions of secondary and lower-priority users. The second is coexistence, where multiple technologies may emit in the same spectrum band at the same time, as is the case with, for example, Bluetooth and 2.4-gigahertz Wi-Fi. For coexistence to work, devices must both avoid interfering with neighbors and be resistant to interference. The National Broadband Interoperability Testbed (NBIT), which our group operates, is a key asset in our coexistence as well as tiered-access spectrum sharing work.
Beyond understanding the behavior of wireless systems themselves, the Shared Spectrum Metrology Group is developing innovative ways to characterize propagation behavior and spectrum activity in indoor and outdoor environments. The ultimate goal of these and many of our other endeavors is to quantify spectrum usage and user behavior so that policymakers and industry leaders can make informed decisions based on NIST’s impartial analysis.
The Shared Spectrum Metrology Group engages in the following major activities:
Wireless Coexistence Impacts and Test Methods
Built-Environment Signal Propagation and Penetration
Wireless Spectrum Forensics
Shared Spectrum Algorithms and Systems
MIMO and Spectrum Sharing