Decentralised Spectrum Access (DSA)

24 August 2006

General Approach

The study seeks to establish the basis for a generic method of Decentralised Spectrum Access wherein user terminals can select service via the most appropriate access network. What is unique to this study is that the criterion for selection is based on price for the requested Quality of Service (QoS) rather than any technical reason, although technical considerations may be reflected into the price.

The study developed a generic DSA architecture. In addition, during the first part of the project, some of the market and business considerations related to the adoption of DSA in the UK have been considered.

In the second half of the project, simulations will be performed in order to investigate the practical operation of DSA, particularly signalling delays, the stability of pricing mechanisms and mobility aspects. A roadmap outlining the steps necessary for the successful introduction of DSA in the UK will be produced.

Key Issues

A large part of the work undertaken during the first part of the project has been to develop a network architecture that is capable of supporting DSA. A figure of the proposed architecture is shown below.

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  • DCIE: DSA Capable Infrastructure Equipment
  • DCIE-AR: DCIE Address Register
  • DSP: DSA Service Provider
  • MNO: Mobile Network Operator
  • PRSA: Price Request and Selection Agent
  • HLR: Home Location Register
  • DCUE: DSA Capable User Equipment
  • DCUE-LR: DCUE Location Register
  • LUE: Legacy User Equipment
  • PQG: Price Quotation Generator
  • PSTN: Public Switched Telephone Network

Project status

Here, it is worth identifying the main barriers to the introduction of DSA. From a technical perspective, mobility is the major issue and the level of mobility support provided will drive the complexity of the final DSA architecture. However, there is a whole spectrum of capability that can be supported by DSA and other ‘reduced feature’ implementations of DSA can be envisaged, e.g. one that supports only outgoing calls and limited mobility to provide access to web services, etc. Which capability / complexity / cost combination is most likely to emerge is dependent on a complex range of business issues.

However, it is not proposed that DSA will replace current wireless service delivery mechanisms but rather complement them so that any scheme that provides the user with greater choice can only be of benefit.

The project has finished and you can download the final report below.

A Study Into Dynamic Spectrum Access - Final Report (PDF, 1.8 MB)

A Study Into Dynamic Spectrum Access - Summary Report (PDF, 222.5 KB)