Cooperation Commons: Interdisciplinary study of cooperation and collective action.
Why Spectrum Is Not Property: The Case for an Entirely New Regime of Wireless Communications Policy
Summary of: Why Spectrum Is Not Property: The Case for an Entirely New Regime of Wireless Communications Policy
"What we now know about the physics and architecture of RF communications contradicts the 'property' model of spectrum and this paper serves as a call to action to re-architect spectrum using a commons-based model."
Currently, spectrum in wireless networks is allocated using a property based scheme. This solves the problem of interference by providing coordinated access to capacity for users of multiple technologies at the cost of fixing the available capacity for each technology area. Recently, architectures have been proposed that use a cooperative strategy for capacity allocation. These have the advantage of increasing available capacity with the number of users. The author believes that cooperative wireless networks could be created that provide capacity that scales proportional to the number of users. In addition, a cooperative wireless network would have increased options with respect to Metcalfe's Law, the number of pairwise transactions that could occur would grow as N**2, and Reed's Law, the number of groups that could be formed would grow as 2**N.
The author argues that the scaling of capacity available in wireless networks indicates that spectrum does not behave like ordinary property and requires a different commons based allocation and coordination regime one that encourages cooperation among users in order to increase available capacity. No obvious regime exists today. However, the current Internet regime for wired communication was formed from 25 years of innovation in an open and experimental environment. The resulting regime differs significantly from the previous regime that grew under the control of the telecommunications provider. The author calls for the development of a cooperative wireless network regime by starting with an open and experimental regime that encourages cooperation much the same as the starting point for the current Internet regime for wired digital communications.
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