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Spectrum sharing metrics

Jan Kruys (Senior Consultant, based at SpectrumConsult, Harmelen, The Netherlands)
Peter Anker (Senior Policy Advisor, Frequency Management based at Ministry of Economic Affairs, Den Haag, The Netherlands)
Roel Schiphorst (Roel Schiphorst is based at BlueMark Innovations, Enschede, The Netherlands.)


ISSN: 1463-6697

Article publication date: 5 August 2014




The purpose of this paper is to propose technology-independent metrics for measuring spectrum utilization efficiency and spectrum sharing which could prove useful in spectrum management. Radio spectrum is considered a scarce resource. The rapid rise in all kinds of wireless devices emphasizes the need for spectrum usage efficiency and spectrum sharing. Notably in license exempt spectrum, the increased density of radio devices requires new methods of evaluating their performance.


The authors go back to the fundamentals of spectrum utilization and show that under high usage conditions, wireless network performance is interference limited. The impact of interference depends both on the environment and on the type of modulation used. The authors use these factors to derive the above metrics.


The main findings of this work are metrics for spectrum utilization and sharing that are technology-independent and therefore widely applicable, notably to license exempt spectrum. These metrics provide increased visibility of receiver performance in determining spectrum use. The authors also find that the capacity of a wireless network is for all practical purposes unlimited – provided the appropriate choices of the technical parameters are made, recognizing the impact of the propagation environment.

Research limitations/implications

Because the authors proceed from simplifying assumptions, detailed analysis and prediction of spectrum-sharing cases may require additional parameters to be added to the equations given.

Practical implications

The results of this work have potential application in spectrum management and in the development of regulatory requirements for license exempt spectrum.


New in this paper is the derivation of spectrum utilization and sharing metrics from first principles that allow different technologies to be compared. The authors also show that, given the right choice of technical parameters, the capacity of wireless networks is practically unlimited.



Kruys, J., Anker, P. and Schiphorst, R. (2014), "Spectrum sharing metrics", info, Vol. 16 No. 5, pp. 19-31.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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