Report from CEPT Workshop on future UHF spectrum use for SRDs, RFIDs and Smart Metering

This important meeting took place to a full house with registration closed at 134 attendees and a number of complaints from late registrations as to why they could not gain access.
The organizers were very impressed with the interest shown in this subject and the presentations, from regulatory officers, industry associations, standards bodies and industry users were, in the main, professional and responsible.
 
In the matter of regulatory overview there appears to be concerns that the investigations to date, when added to country based information, and surveys, reflect a highly complex picture of requirements as well as opportunities for the regulatory agency to identify spectrum revenue from sales.
Two regulators felt that the case was proved for regulatory interevention to realign the UHF spectrum from 300 to 1000 MHz, several felt the case could only be made after testing and considering intereference and several more felt that an alignment of uses that could include the exclusion of certain existing or extant users was appropriate in the circumstances as presented by industry.
 
Industry presenters, particularly those in the Home Automation and Smart Metering sector made cases based on social law, economic government mandates and the existing inflexible, as they saw it, framework for aggregation and transmission for exclusive use of certain parts of the spectrum. The Home Automation and Smart Metering communities could well do, said one regulator on review, to align the needs with the best use of hardware, spectrum and the real needs of the consumer and government requirment before seeking to specify a particular methodology.
 
The RFID sector, lacking speakers other than an ETSI TG, made a case for protection, exemption, power increase, added spectrum and non intereference and included, unlike the Smart Meter and Home Automation community, several non  sequitors in the matter of justification for UHF RFID especially the lack of differentiation of the phrase RFID to mean in this instance Passive UHF and the accompanying spectrum issue. A speaker from German Industry required that UHF be expanded and improved for RFID based on their need for e - ticketing, this only served to increase the number of raised eyebrows as the e- ticket initiative in Germany is HF and NFC based. 4W power and added spectrum of 2 MHz do not, and at last weeks RFID Live in Orlando UHF RFID presenters made this clear, does not solve European Performance issues. The move may well exacerbate the issue.
 
The very persuasive presentation on behalf of the Automotive sector, including strong presentations from industry / user leaders, and the associations that support automotive in Europe, played well though the effort to occupy the UHF spectrum in the main was based on relatively bogus, market driven intiatives rather than the rationale as to why the Automotive sector was migrating robust deliverables with history to the relatively overpopulated and interefrence prone UHF from LF spectrum.
 
Many outstanding spectrum allocation charts had been prepared, and these served to typify, exemplify and in a number of cases indicate the issues between regulatory agencies by country, not just the UHF user industry conflicts.
 
The summary of the event and the way forward was made in which the organiser felt that all cases were well made and that the next step was to commence a series of testing and proving that may last up to two years and may be commenced shortly.
 
A number of representatives from constituencies, users, and vendors sighed heavily having thought that the workshop may have provided acceleration to the allocation, in effect the workshop showed clearly the considerable thought that must go into this action and that even then the outcome could easily be overtaken by other spectrum initiatives, innovation and migration in the lack of UHF specificity.
 
The LPRA and it's members congratulate the organizers and thank the regulatory authorities for recognizing the importance of this defining spectrum. We look forward to supporting the initiative going forward.

Posted on 11/05/2011 by John Greaves, LPRA Council Member