FCC Begins Inquiry into Improving Receiver Performance, Including Potential Requirements
Thursday, April 21, 2022 | Comments

The FCC voted to open a proceeding to explore options for promoting improvements in RF receiver performance, including through use of incentives, industry-led voluntary approaches, commission policy and guidance, or regulatory requirements.

While FCC spectrum management efforts often have focused on transmitter regulations, the notice of inquiry (NOI) adopted at the commission’s April 21 meeting will take a fresh look at the role of receivers and how improved receiver performance can promote more efficient spectrum use and enable valuable new services to be introduced that will benefit the American public.

Wireless communications require RF systems to transmit and receive radio signals, making both transmitters and receivers vital for enabling innovative and efficient spectrum use. The new proceeding will support commission efforts to gather up-to-date information on receiver performance, advances in receiver technologies, and various approaches for promoting development and adoption of more interference-resilient receivers while fostering innovation in the marketplace. It also seeks comment on the commission’s legal authority for various approaches it could consider. The commission’s goal in the proceeding is to lay the foundation for future actions that could help create a more transparent and predictable radio frequency environment for all spectrum users.

Forward-facing spectrum management necessitates that the commission continuously evaluate ways to promote more efficient spectrum use in the public interest. As use across the radio spectrum becomes more intensive, and services are packed more closely together, commission spectrum management policies must consider potential efficiencies across all aspects of wireless systems, including both transmitters and receivers.

The NOI will generate a record that will help guide the commission in its role to facilitate new opportunities for use of the nation’s spectrum resources. While the commission has long relied on rules establishing particular transmitter requirements to promote spectrum efficiency and more intensive use, receiver performance also significantly affects the commission’s ability to introduce new services in the same or nearby frequency bands. In particular, receivers without sufficient interference immunity performance can diminish opportunities for innovative spectrum uses that drive economic growth, competition, security, and innovation. The new focus on receiver performance will help the United States maintain its global leadership in the evolving wireless world, the FCC said.

Potential receiver standards were a key topic of discussion at the International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) in March. Several industry experts said that receiver standards could help address future interference issues, as well as current interference issues occurring between 5G and aviation uses.

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