63 episodes

Explaining the networking technology that makes the Internet possible. High Tech Forum editor Richard Bennett regularly interviews Internet pioneers about the details behind the high-tech magic we interact with everyday.

High Tech Forum Podcast Richard Bennett

    • Technology
    • 3.4 • 5 Ratings

Explaining the networking technology that makes the Internet possible. High Tech Forum editor Richard Bennett regularly interviews Internet pioneers about the details behind the high-tech magic we interact with everyday.

    Anna Gomez on the National Spectrum Plan

    Anna Gomez on the National Spectrum Plan

    At the end of the May 24th hearing on “Strengthening our Communications Networks” by the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, Anna Gomez suggested the time has come to develop a National Spectrum Plan. Ms. Gomez is a former Acting Administrator at NTIA, First Net boss, veteran of the FCC and the Senate Commerce staff, and Wiley Rein telecom lawyer; if anybody understands the need for such a plan she does.

    Since then, the idea has snowballed. At last week’s Senate Commerce hearing on the Future of Spectrum, both witnesses and Senators endorsed it. This is an idea whose time has come.

    In this podcast, Anna joins us for a fleshing out of a National Spectrum Plan and an analysis of related subjects. This podcast teaches how spectrum assignments are made and deployed, starting with the kernel of ideas such as Wi-Fi that demand innovative approaches.

    We also discuss the important role that the Institute of Telecommunication Sciences, a unit of NTIA, plays in modeling wireless propagation and resolving spectrum disputes. We first explored this idea in a podcast with former ITS leader Keith Gremban following the 2018 ISART conference.

    Of all the telecom lawyers I’ve met, nobody understands spectrum better than Anna Gomez. This is a must-see podcast for spectrum geeks.


    Scope of a National Spectrum Plan 9:59 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=599

    Identifying new spectrum bands for licensed and hybrid uses 17:12 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=1032

    The First Net spectrum sharing model 23:06 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=1386

    New MOU addresses problems that arose in the C-Band/Aviation controversy 33:29 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=2009

    Coordination between stakeholders depends on trust 42:35 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=2555

    Full Index

    Government role in spectrum management at NTIA and FCC 1:09 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=69

    Extending FCC auction authority – 18 months or longer? 3:01 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=181

    Allocating spectrum, allocating auction revenue – 5:02 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=302

    Scope of a National Spectrum Plan 9:59 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=599

    5G demonstrated the value of mid-band spectrum 13:09 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=789

    Identifying new spectrum bands for licensed and hybrid uses 17:12 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=1032

    Developing a common analytical framework for interference 20:36 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=1236

    The diversity of sharing methodologies 20:54 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=1254

    The First Net spectrum sharing model 23:06 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=1386

    Steps to creating new communications standards 26:40 https://youtu.be/Sr0kCWhvcag?t=1600

    Developing processes for formalizing informal proces...

    • 1 hr 1 min
    High Tech Forum Podcast

    High Tech Forum Podcast

    Jayne Stancavage, the Global Executive Director of Product and Digital Infrastructure Policy at Intel Corporation fills us in on the global and local systems for spectrum allocation.

    She also chairs the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) WRC-23 Advisory Committee Informal Working Group for terrestrial services, serves as a member of the Department of State’s International Digital Economy and Telecommunication Advisory Committee, serves on the Board of Directors for the Open RAN Policy Coalition and the US Telecom Training Institute and is a member of the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) Spectrum Group management team.

    We’re very lucky that she had time for an extensive discussion of the use cases, management systems, and policy considerations around spectrum-based systems around the world.


    * How we make spectrum available for new use cases and applications: Where bands are currently in use, legacy systems are upgraded to use smaller footprints and excess is either auctioned for licensed use, made available for free for unlicensed use, or made available under a hybrid model with license for priority use with free access at other times. New spectrum is harnessed by new technologies made available by advances in semiconductor (“chips”) engineering. Timecode 2:42.

    * National broadband plans: The US National Broadband Plan of 2010 was the first such plan of the iPhone era. Consequently, it broke new ground in addressing spectrum reassignment. Current discussion in Washington DC suggests the time is ripe for a national spectrum plan to keep the progress going. Timecode 17:18

    * Prospects for the future: It’s incredibly hard to predict what new applications will bring to the fore for radio-based systems. The only certainly is more and better use cases and applications. While today’s applications are human-centric, the next generation of wireless systems are likely to transform entire economic sectors. One good example is the combination of wireless, cameras, and AI to improve manufacturing processes and health care. Timecode 34:51


    * Repurposing spectrum from aging legacy applications to higher uses. 2:42

    * The key to higher uses is “upgrade and repack”. 5:57

    * Technology innovation in chips, systems, and software makes new spectrum bands available. 7:47

    * Moore’s Law plays out in communications as well as in computation. 10:13

    * WRC-23 is set to amend and improve the international treaty for satellite and terrestrial radio uses. 12:20

    * Nothing illustrates the importance of international interoperability like travel. 15:34

    * National broadband plans now include important provisions for wireless systems. 17:18

    * Nothing restores confidence in the ability of Congress to work on a bipartisan basis like spectrum policy. 25:06

    * CBRS is a novel system that combines licensed and unlicensed uses into a single framework. It’s complicated. 29:12

    * Prospects for the future of wireless: it’s going to be stunning! 34:51

    * Is Moore’s Law a conspiracy to create demand for spectrum? It’s plenty smart in any case. 42:54

    • 45 min
    Shane Tews on Filling the Spectrum Pipeline

    Shane Tews on Filling the Spectrum Pipeline

    Shane Tews visits the High Tech Forum Podcast for episode 62 on 5G apps and their need for spectrum. We discuss the initial plan for 5G as an Internet of Things enabler and trace its development through video conferencing, fixed wireless access (FWA), machine-to-machine communication on factory floors, and drones.

    Shane is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at American Enterprise Institute and an Internet policy analyst with a wide portfolio, encompassing security and governance in addition to broadband and spectrum policy. She’s a longtime friend of the podcast.


    * 5G has not developed according to plan, but it’s not far off. The initial idea was machine-to-machine communication, but this has taken a long time to develop because of spectrum shortages. This new app also requires new robots, new communication equipment, lots of software, and even new factories. This is starting to happen but still has a ways to go. Private 5G networks for each large factory are part of the formula. (1:01)

    *  FCC auction authority needs to be re-authorized so that a stable pipeline can be built. The pipeline itself is ideally coordinated among standards bodies, international regulators, chip companies, and software producers. Transferring spectrum from old to new users have proven to be much speedier and easier than imagined by PCAST and similar plans of 10 – 15 years ago. Getting governments and government agencies to cooperate is the harder problem. (16:46)

    * We need to do better at retiring obsolete technologies faster. This issue comes up because policy makers strive to create “forever” solutions while engineers are more interested in getting to the next generation of technology. It comes up in a number of places: obsolete altimeters on private aircraft, protocols insufficiently designed for replacement, and the inability of old radios to see new radio signals. (25:24)


    * 5G and the future 1:00

    * Machine-to-machine communication 1:32

    * Video conferencing ate the world 1:53

    * Challenges in factory automation 4:58

    * Will Elon Musk really buy Twitter? (No!) 7:52

    * Software updates in the middle of the night 9:10

    * Fixed Wireless Access is happening fast 12:41

    * FCC auction authority needs to be re-authorized 16:50

    * Building a pipeline is a group activity 17:21

    * Incumbents are an easy problem, government is a barrier 19:57

    * The PCAST spectrum report got everything wrong but demand 21:05

    * Ageing out obsolete tech 25:59

    * Starlink in Ukraine 33:45


    • 39 min
    Mary Brown on Building a Spectrum Pipeline

    Mary Brown on Building a Spectrum Pipeline

    Mary Brown visits the High Tech Forum Podcast for episode 61 on spectrum policy. Mary testified at the recent Congressional hearing titled “5G and Beyond: Exploring the Next Wireless Frontier” on questions about spectrum auctions, licensing, government coordination, and innovation. Mary is Cisco’s Senior Director of Spectrum Policy and a veteran of the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee and the FCC.


    * The spectrum allocation status quo assigns most of the spectrum from 1 GHz to 4 GHz to licensed uses, with some significant exceptions: 100 MHz at 2.4 GHz is used by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and 150 MHz in the lower part of the 3 GHz band is used for CBRS. Most of the 5 and 6 GHz bands are unlicensed (used by Wi-Fi) although most of the 6GHz band has licensed outdoor users. Future bands that can and should be allocated shortly include: the 4GHz band used in Asia for 5G (and probably 6G in due course); the 7 GHz band that can be used either by Wi-Fi or by 5G and 6G; and the 12 GHz band currently used by satellites. (5:28)

    * 5G propagation models need to get better fast. Conflicts over the use of 5G mid-band antennas near airports largely developed because the aviation industry didn’t have access to good models of mid-band propagation by 5G systems, a critical piece of the controversy. Much of the 5G propagation modeling work already done focused on mmWave bands, but it’s now clear that the mid-band is where the action is for the immediate future. These models need to be accessible to commercial users as well as government agencies and telecommunications carriers. (28:19)

    * Evaluation of 20th century radio use cases against 21st century networking needs has to become an ongoing process until all of the spectrum allocations made by fiat are converted to more general uses. This can be done by upgrading applications to use general-purpose networks (where possible) and then either auctioning flexible use licenses or by releasing spectrum rights according to a kind of transmitter regulation regime similar to the ones developed for unlicensed spectrum today. Exclusive use licenses provide the ultimate in efficiency, but there are many instances in which users and service providers are willing to sacrifice reliability for lower prices. (45:52)


    Our conversation is wide ranging, covering all of the following and more:

    * The evolution of spectrum license auctions (1:45)

    * The current state of spectrum allocations (5:28)

    * Ongoing innovation in radio-based systems (8:59)

    * Where spectrum comes from (9:07)

    * Commerce Department/NTIA Institute for Telecommunications Sciences (15:53)

    * The FAA/FCC controversy about 5G near airports (17:34)

    * The atrophying inter-agency collaboration muscle (26:17)

    * 5G propagation models need work (28:19)

    * Applications for licensed and unlicensed networks (33:38)

    * 5G experiments with in unlicensed spectrum (38:49)

    * Private 5G networks (41:49)

    * Building a better spectrum pipeline (45:52)

    * Realigning historical spectrum grants with current needs (47:00)

    * Spectrum evolution (53:50)


    • 55 min
    High Tech Forum Podcast

    High Tech Forum Podcast

    This is the second and final part of our conversation with Will Rinehart on broadband infrastructure plans. (First part is here.)

    We discuss some of the biases, information gaps, and challenges that have to be overcome in order to extend high-quality broadband to all populated parts of rural America. We also discuss the fact that broadband inclusion isn’t really a problem the nation can solve through construction projects alone.

    The broadband portion of the infrastructure bill is a huge improvement over some of the early plans floated by Democratic progressives because it has a focus on immediate steps that can and must be taken for the sake of immediate progress.

    Rather than building for a far distant future that may never come to pass, Congressional spending on the problem of encouraging people to connect to current networks solves 80% of the inclusion problem. The economics of competition work very differently in markets with high fixed costs. These markets work better with a consumer welfare focus than with the competition focus.


    • 36 min
    High Tech Forum

    High Tech Forum

    H.R.3684 – the House Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – includes a $65B kicker for broadband networks in its trillion dollar appropriation package. This funding will extend broadband to unserved areas using a formula based in the ratio of unserved areas in the various states.

    Funding is in the form of grants to states to be administered according to specified guidelines. The definition of broadband in the bill – 25 mbps down, 3 up, and reasonable latency – is conservative but realistic.

    The bill is not bad, but it could have been worse. Today’s podcast, recorded in July, is a reminder of the progress made in the debate. Initial plans floated by some members of Congress focused on ultra-high-speed symmetrical plans that would have taken the better part of a decade to build.

    The current package recognizes that some broadband installed today is better than a futuristic system that may never be installed. Economist Will Rinehart, an expert on the economics of bridging the digital divide, is the special guest. If you’re interested in broadband, competition, digital inclusion, and how public policy moves from idea to appropriation this is for you.

    Part two is here.

    • 39 min

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This podcast is a unique glimpse into the tech & internet world. It is so interesting to hear from the innovators and the early creators -- and how technologies are used today. First podcast about creation of internet was fascinating. Keep them coming!

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