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23 November 2017
| Natalie Bannerman
Kalpak Gude, president of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance talks to Capacity about the future of 5G, explains what WiGig and the next-generation internet is, and how the DSA hopes to solve the spectrum crisis.
To Kalpak Gude "5G really is just a
network of networks" and it was at the 12th Annual European
Spectrum Management Conference in Brussels this year, that
Gude, the president of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA),
first introduced this idea of the next-generation internet.
The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance is a global organisation that
comprises of multinational companies to small-and-medium-sized
businesses that advocate for laws and regulations that will
lead to the most efficient use of spectrum.
According to Gude, "when people talk about 5G they talk
about lots of different things and lots of different
capabilities, but it starts with performance that will enable
connectivity everywhere because coverage is key".
But while the idea of this next-generation internet that
enables connectivity everywhere sounds great, I had to know how
feasible Gude thought this would be. "You’re going
to need different performance capabilities to solve different
parts of the problem," replies Gude. "You’re not
going to be able to say we want extremely low latency for every
single application that’s out there and build a
network based on that kind of a metric – because
frankly that would be largely impossible. But some applications
are going to require low latency without question while at the
same time not burden that traffic on applications that
don’t need it."
Gude says the emergence of IoT (the internet of things)
technology will play a crucial role in the future of network
performance, explaining: "IoT is going to be a big part of
future network requirements but most of IoT is very likely to
be fixed and will have various requirements in terms of
"Those parts of the network that are fixed, will almost
certainly drive towards a Wifi approach. The cost structure and
requirements associated with that will drive it to that kind of
a network, rather than a licensed typical carrier kind of a
network - it just doesn’t make sense to put it on
a carrier network."
But the overarching message from Gude throughout our
conversation is that the traditional viewpoint that things
should be licensed wherever possible needs to be overhauled. He
says: "I don’t believe from a technological
perspective or a commercial perspective, that this model is a
model that is likely to be successful going forward. I think
the technology of the future, is enabling sharing of unlicensed
spectrum, which will be a lot more cost effective to deliver
One area in particular Gude thinks this is applicable to is
small cells, he says that "trying to build and manage a small
cell network using the old licencing structure is very cost
prohibitive to do" and is an "incredibly wasteful use of
But he is quick to defend his words clarifying: "this is not
an attack on carriers, I think carriers will benefit
significantly from the shared use of unlicensed spectrum
because their spectrum costs are likely to come down
significantly. They will not have the same level of control in
access to spectrum and of the market in way that they have
been. But I think certain services will require that kind of
licensed capability that only the carriers of today can
As for this term WiGig, which also featured in his
presentation at the European Spectrum Management Conference,
Gude says that it’s "all part of, the
next-generation of internet." He goes on to explain that when
people speak about WiGig they are "referring to that indoor
type of device connectivity". One common example of WiGig is
virtual reality but with added benefits. In a WiGig
environment, "it allows Gigabits of throughput in a way that
current Wifi and technology doesn’t. It forms part
of that next generation that broader network of networks, where
you have the throughput you need for the capability
you’re looking for".
Forming part of Gude’s talk at the conference,
was the topic of the reported four billion people in the world
who are without internet access - an issue Gude believes we
already have the ability to solve.
"I think the different types of technology that are being
studied and developed at this stage all need to be thrown at
the problem. For example TVWS (TV White Space) is the ideal
technology to solve part of that problem. Low-density areas
that are not extremely rural are best met with a TVWS kind of
technology using unlicensed spectrum."
He continues, explaining: "When you start to look at
extremely rural areas, you are going to see geo-satellite
technology to solve that type of connectivity problem. So it
will be a collection of technology that will need to thrown at
the problem and those technologies are absolutely being
developed and deployed now."
So how is the DSA helping with these issues?
"We’re solving the spectrum problem," says Gude.
"All of these different solutions require greater access to
spectrum. So how do you enable that going forward?
They’re not making any more spectrum out there so
we have to figure out how to use the spectrum we already have
more efficiently. The reality is most spectrum is unused and
underutilised most of the time in most places. So the question
is, how do we get a greater utilisation of that spectrum, in a
way that still enables incumbents, to use the spectrum in a way
that they are using it today?"
So what’s the challenge in reaching that goal?
"I think its regulation, more than anything else," he says.
"For obvious reasons incumbents are very sceptical and
concerned about how to share and how it all works and does it
work well? That’s something that needs to be
proven not only to incumbents but also to the regulators."
However, Gude is still hopeful of the future, adding: "But I
think we are moving rapidly to an environment where its going
to be harder and harder to argue that it hasn’t
been proven to work. The CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio
Service) Alliance which will be deployed next year is an
example of that technology and then there will be broader
acceptance of it."
The DSA has been known to work closely with our very own
Ofcom, advising the UK regulator on its own spectrum auction
that is currently underway. I asked Gude his thoughts on how he
thought the process was going, to which he replied: "I think
Ofcom continues to be an innovator and leader in Europe in
terms of thinking about these types of issues. From our
perspective we always hope that they would move faster and that
they embrace dynamic sharing in a more robust fashion. But the
practical reality is as you move from one licensing model to
another, its does take time, its does take a certain level of
proof and development of market."
But ever the optimist he seems hopeful of the future Ofcom
has laid out for us in the UK surrounding spectrum, saying "we
continue to receive receptive and supportive statements from
Ofcom about their long-term vision for spectrum management. And
that they are open to an approach that embraces dynamic sharing
because they see the same problems that we do".
Interestingly he ended with a point on Brexit, underpinning
the ripple affect it is having across all sectors, Gude said
that he hopes that "others in Europe Brexit or no Brexit will
continue to look at Ofcom as a leader in the spectrum
Dynamic Spectrum Alliance,