Long-term measurements of spectrum occupancy characteristics

TJ Harrold, RA Cepeda, MA Beach

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

58 Citations (Scopus)
502 Downloads (Pure)


This paper describes the results from a series of long-term observations of spectrum occupancy in the range 300 MHz–4.9 GHz made at a single location. Over 6 months of data has been gathered from a measurement system that is designed to operate continuously, allowing a full picture of spectrum occupancy to be built up. The large amount of data captured permits analysis to identify the portions of spectrum that are occupied non-continuously (i.e. with a duty cycle of less than 100%); these channels might be most suitable for use by a cognitive radio (CR) system that is able to identify temporary spectrum holes and then exploit them. The aim of performing a comprehensive analysis of channel occupancy and its variability is to improve the potential for smart spectrum access by CR devices, by informing their choices concerning the particular portions of spectrum to scan, and how frequently. Results allow measurement channels to be categorised according to their duty cycle; spectrum with a duty cycle between 10% and 90% is considered to be particularly suitable and is found in the regions below 500 MHz and between 1 GHz and 1.2 GHz. A predictable pattern of time occupancy is discovered, caused by variable activity in the portions of spectrum allocated to cellular systems. The characteristics of the occupancy duty cycle according to the time of day is also investigated; some frequencies are shown to exhibit considerable variation of occupancy depending on the hour of observation. A subset of channels is selected for more detailed investigation including short-term variations in channel occupancy.
Translated title of the contributionLong-term Measurements of Spectrum Occupancy Characteristics
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2011 IEEE International Symposium on Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks (DySpan). Aachen, Germany
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Pages83 - 89
ISBN (Print)9781457701771, 9781457701764
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
EventIEEE Symposium on New Frontiers in Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks - Aachen, Germany
Duration: 3 May 20116 May 2011


ConferenceIEEE Symposium on New Frontiers in Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks
Abbreviated titleDySPAN

Bibliographical note

Conference Organiser: IEEE
Rose publication type: Conference contribution

Sponsorship: This work is being carried out jointly by University of Bristol and Toshiba Research Europe Telecommunications Research Laboratory (TRL) under the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Knowledge Transfer Secondment scheme. Thanks are due to the directors of TRL for allowing the publication of this work and to Mr Ken Stevens for his invaluable contribution to the construction of the measurement system.

Terms of use: Copyright © 2011 IEEE. Reprinted with permission, from - TJ Harrold, RA Cepeda Lopez, MA Beach; 'Long-term measurements of spectrum occupancy characteristics' in IEEE Symposium on New Frontiers in Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks (DySPAN), May 2011.

This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of the University of Bristol's products or services. Internal or personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from the IEEE by writing to pubs-permissions@ieee.org.

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  • spectrum occupancy
  • 300 MHz–4.9 GHz


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