Microsoft has opened a spectrum observatory in Brussels to give policy markers and regulators access to wireless spectrum usage data as to support decisions on which spectrum bands are the best immediate target for expanded spectrum sharing. This is the third Microsoft Spectrum Observatory. The first two, in Redmond, WA, and Washington, DC, have been operating for a few months.
The Spectrum Observatory draws on data collected via monitoring stations, using a RFeye device manufactured by the UK spectrum intelligence specialist CRFS. The device measures signal power by scanning across a frequency range of 30 MHz to 6 GHz every 3 seconds. The power spectral density readings are stored and processed for visualisation through Microsoft Azure Cloud and made available for interactive viewing.
Microsoft has been looking for several years at devices that make use of unused spectrum by incorporating TV White Spaces technology. Regulators in Ireland, the UK and Finland have expressed interest.
The new observatory supports three different visualisations of the data: a spectrogram, occupancy chart, and power density chart. The spectrogram is a time-versus-frequency waterfall plot, which shows how the measured values change over time. The other two plots, occupancy and power density, provide views of the data aggregated over different time periods.
Microsoft has published an example chart showing UHF band usage between 400 MHz and 1 GHz in Brussels during the week of 21 January and demonstrates that not all parts of the spectrum are occupied at any one time.
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