If the FCC is the spectrum “sheriff,” you might consider Comsearch to act a bit like a deputy, keeping the peace among exhibitors that need spectrum to show their wares at shows like CTIA’s Wireless I.T. & Entertainment.
Comsearch, a ComScope company, has been managing spectrum at CTIA shows for about 12 years.
In the early days, it wasn’t unheard of for vendors to fight over spectrum, especially in heydays of the CDMA and GSM wars. Nowadays, “people are very good at cooperating with us,” says Joe Marzin, technical director at Comsearch.
Still, managing spectrum at trade shows might be more important than ever given that many vendors are showing off high-bandwidth applications like video.
Planning for the show actually starts three or four months before the event, with Comsearch matching exhibitor requests with available spectrum, Marzin explains. That also means working with carriers that offer commercial services in the market where the show takes place.
One of the things Comsearch helps vendors do is make sure they have the proper experimental licensing authority from the FCC if that’s required. Some licenses come with conditions attached, and that’s where coordination needs to take place.
Once the exhibitors are set up and before the show opens, Comsearch does a pre-show test to make sure exhibitors are at the right frequency and power levels. During the show, the big thing is making sure everybody sticks to the plan.
Most exhibitors by now know the rules, but if vendors are new to the show or from another country, they might not be familiar with the terms and conditions. When problems arise, a Comsearch field engineer uses a spectrum analyzer to determine where the problem is coming from and will troubleshoot to fix it on the spot. On the rare occasion when someone is not willing to cooperate, CTIA has the authority to turn them off.
Years ago, it used to be a concern that wireless industry professionals wouldn’t be able to use their phones at shows because the spectrum was tied up. That’s no longer the case, as Comsearch works with commercial operators as well to make sure there’s enough spectrum for everyone.
Filed Under: Industry regulations