Future-Proof Your Wireless Connectivity with Dynamic Spectrum Sharing

Picture of Dan Omalley

Dan Omalley

Expert in 5G
What is Dynamic Spectrum Sharing in 5G

Imagine your phone doesn’t have the functions to work with 5G. But you need to use the internet in somewhat way. Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) is that “somewhat” way that enables multiple wireless technologies to share the same network spectrum. It’s like multiple food items on the table, but you can select any item of your choice.

In terms of telecommunications, DSS is an excellent method to use 4G/LTE and 5G New Radio (NR) simultaneously on the same frequency band. It ensures the efficient use of the limited and expensive frequency spectrum.

Hence, spectrum sharing is based on concepts from network information theory and game theory. Its purpose is to leverage the flexibility of the physical layer in modern telecommunication standards. It allows for dynamic configuration and minimizes collisions between different technologies during simultaneous data transmission.

I hope you love to know things in detail, in a better form, don’t you? If you want to know (almost) everything about DSS and its functions, read this blog post thoroughly. 

So, do you understand the concept of DSS? Indeed, it is a groundbreaking technology of the modern world, particularly in the deployment of 5G networks. In simple words, the shared spectrum is like different branches on the same tree (like the previous example). You can switch between networks on the same frequency band as those branches.

The sharing of the spectrum is achieved by using the same orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) based modulation process and scheduling structure to encode and transmit data. DSS can make 5G deployment faster as it allows 5G to share the same antenna, RF units, and spectrum of 4G.

Key Components of DSS Systems

So, what are the components of dynamic spectrum sharing? Let me remind you that the core of DSS lies in its ability to optimize frequency allocation and utilization. Through this, users can experience overall better network performance. If you are an LTE user, you can have increased bandwidth and faster data transmission speeds.

An example can be the Deutsche Telekom. They have utilized 15MHz from the 2.1GHz frequency band, previously used for 3G/UMTS. Their purpose was to offer LTE and 5G networks using the dynamic division of spectrum.

According to a research, cognitive radio technology plays a significant role in 5G dynamic spectrum sharing. It enhances spectral efficiency by allowing low-priority unlicensed users to share the spectrum of high-priority licensed users. Moreover, this technology is notably promising to enhance spectrum usage efficiency. It can eliminate the spectrum scarcity issue.

Some foundational elements of DSS are the radio frequency (RF) spectrum, software-defined radio (SDR), and network slicing.

Foundational Elements of DSS

Their Functions

RF Spectrum
RF spectrum encompasses multiple electromagnetic frequencies for over-the-air data transmission. Managing and utilizing it is essential due to its limited availability and the growing demand for wireless services. 
SDR Technology
SDR technology allows radios to be configured through software. It enables dynamic spectrum allocation properly. 

Network Slicing

Network slicing involves dividing a single physical network into multiple virtual networks. All those slices are optimized for specific types of services or customers. It offers the efficient allocation of spectrum resources in the context of DSS. 

Methods of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing

Methods of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing

Multicast-Broadcast Single Frequency Network (MBSFN)

You can choose the MBSFN method to use the LTE and 5G spectrum as both broadcast and multicast networks. Before 5G, it was a very popular part of LTE. Yet, it can make DSS functional in 5G deployments. However, this method is good if you love the simplicity of the application. It supports multiple users at the same time. 


Non-MBSFN is also known as rate adaptation. It inserts the LTE frame with 5G synchronization signal block (SSB) information. Usually, this method appears more complex than the first one (MBSFN). But it ensures better use of the spectrum. 

Dynamic Frequency Switching Framework

This method allows for the real-time adaptability of an above-100-GHz wireless link. It tracks satellite orbits and automatically switches frequency bands. In this way, the dynamic frequency switching framework prevents backhaul transmissions from interfering with passive incumbents. Additionally, it enables the allocation of large, contiguous bands for communication services on the shared spectrum.

Spectrum Access System (SAS)

SAS enables the sharing of the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band. It manages a three-tiered hierarchy of spectrum users, including incumbent users, Priority Access License users, and General Authorized Access users. Through this, it ensures that incumbent users are protected from harmful interference. It also maximizes the availability of the spectrum for other users.

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML)

AI, ML, etc., are popular subjects nowadays. These are also used as DSS methods for analysis, design, and measurement. They can detect signals, classify, allocate resources, and perform other DSS-related tasks. However, the important thing is that developing explainable, actionable, and efficient AI/ ML techniques for DSS is critical.

Dynamic Spectrum Sharing vs. Traditional Spectrum Management 

Dynamic Spectrum Sharing vs. Traditional Spectrum Management

DSS provides a cost-effective solution for a smooth transition from 4G to 5G by allowing LTE and NR to share the same carrier. It enables both LTE and NR to be simultaneously deployed and resources to be shared in the carrier. However, time-frequency resources are dynamically assigned according to their respective traffic demands.

Previously, operating different mobile standards required at least two antennas. Also, traditional spectrum management assigns frequency bands to wireless operators for exclusive use. On the other hand, spectrum sharing technology, or DSS, adopts a hierarchical spectrum access structure. It allows secondary users, including unlicensed users, to access the spectrum.

A single antenna upgrade is sufficient in DSS to support both 5G and LTE. This shift from the traditional one deduces the need for complex frequency reframing and additional spectrum purchases for 5G expansion. Additionally, this approach is a key tool for regulators to provide the capacity required for 5G mobile applications.

3GPP Standard for DSS

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has split the 5G DSS standard into two releases: Release 15, which corresponds to NR Phase 1, and Release 16, which corresponds to NR Phase 2. The standardization ensures that it can be implemented universally across different networks, devices, and manufacturers. 

3GPP Release 15

DSS was introduced to allow 4G LTE and 5G NR to share the same frequency bands. A rate matching algorithm, which was specifically designed for LTE's cell-specific reference signals, enabled this. It allows the spectrum sharing between 4G LTE and 5G NR.

3GPP Release 16

Additional functionality was added to enhance DSS further. It includes the extension of PDSCH mapping type B and the support of multiple LTE CRS rate-matching patterns. These additions provide more flexibility and efficiency in how the spectrum can be shared between 4G LTE and 5G NR.

Henceforth, you can implement DSS in both non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) 5G networks. In NSA mode, an LTE anchor carrier is required for the exchange of control and signaling information. Dual connectivity allows the 5G-capable device to connect to the 5G radio access network (RAN). With the correct configuration, the 5G carrier can coexist with the LTE carrier, sharing the same frequency band. 

The Benefits or Importance of DSS

Why would you value it? Why don’t you stay in traditional spectrum management? Well, DSS becomes a key enabler for a smooth and cost-effective transition from 4G to 5G. They dynamically share the same frequency bands. Besides, multiple generations of cellular technologies can coexist and share the same frequency bands within the same geographic area.

The most significant benefit is that it helps the network operators to transition smoothly to 5G. They won’t need a complete spectrum reallocation or a separate spectrum band for 5G. In this way, operators can reduce their capital expenditure (CAPEX) for 5G deployment. They still can use existing 4G infrastructure and spectrum resources – absolutely no additional frequency bands!

DSS offers 5G networks to leverage the extensive coverage of 4G networks. It is more helpful in rural or remote areas where standalone 5G infrastructure deployment may be costly. Besides, it ensures efficient resource usage, especially during times of low 5G traffic. It can lower barriers to market entry, encourage competition and innovation, and help resolve perceived spectrum shortages. 

The Benefits of DSS

Reasons for Choosing DSS by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)

Facilitating 5G Deployment

DSS is essential for MNOs in countries that lack access to 3.5GHz for 5G services. They can deploy 5G NSA and SA using the existing spectrum.

Optimizing Spectrum Utilization

Operators can slowly allocate more spectrum resources to 5G. This dynamic allocation of resources ensures the best use of it, network efficiency, and reduced costs.

Reducing Infrastructure Costs

It reduces the million-dollar expenditure on infrastructure upgrades. Also, these upgrades are made remotely via a series of software updates.

Improving 4G LTE Experience

The optimization and additional frequency allocation improve the experience for 4G LTE users. Additionally, LTE devices experience better data rates and benefit from increased bandwidth.

Better Security

The use of blockchain technology in DSS provides a secure and trusted platform for intelligent settlement, value transfer, and resource sharing.

Implementation of DSS in 5G Networks: Challenges & Benefits

We are currently living in the world of 5G technology. So, implementing spectrum sharing in 5G networks can bring a visionary change to wireless communication. In this part, I will discuss the role, challenges, and benefits of DSS in 5G deployment. 

The Role of DSS in 5G Deployment

Spectrum sharing is instrumental in the rollout of 5G networks. It keeps the synchronicity of 4G LTE and 5G services together within the same frequency band. This coexistence is essential during the transitional phase from 4G to 5G.

Likewise, DSS is a focal point for mobile network operators in the global 5G network rollout. It enables the quick and cost-effective build-out of robust 5G services using existing spectrum in mid- and low-band frequencies.

Advanced techniques for spectrum sharing, like cognitive radio, device-to-device communication, and in-band full-duplex communication, are used to enhance spectrum efficiency in 5G networks. Furthermore, spectrum-sharing techniques are classified based on network architecture, spectrum allocation behavior, and spectrum access method.



Reduced operational cost
Chance of security threats and privacy leakage
Leveraging existing infrastructure
The lack of effective incentive mechanisms for primary users
No need for separate hardware
Non-dynamic control of wireless network spectrum
Good for 4G LTE and 5G networks
Can cause unbalanced spectrum loads and capacity-related issues
Better and more consistent network experience
Requires the adoption of new spectrum access paradigms and a complex enforcement framework
Improved coverage
Needs robust security protocols and encryption mechanisms to protect dynamic allocation process from malicious interference or unauthorized access.
Higher data speeds

The Role of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing in IoT

The integration of DSS with the Internet of Things (IoT) is a central development in the realm of smart connectivity. Its flexible spectrum management capabilities are particularly well-suited to the diverse IoT ecosystem.

By IoT, we can mean a lot of connected devices (our phones, tablets, watches, etc.). They need efficient and reliable communication channels. Now, DSS facilitates this by dynamically allocating spectrum resources. It ensures that IoT devices have the bandwidth they need to operate effectively. In these scenarios, IoT devices must transmit large amounts of data or require real-time connectivity.

The DSS solution allows NR services without the need to acquire a new and dedicated frequency spectrum, antenna, or radio frequency unit. The solution is intended to assist operators in the short-term rollout deployment of 5G services through the LTE already-in-use spectrum.

Again, 5G New Radio (NR), LTE-M, and Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) coexist in the same spectrum. As 5G NR takes off, there is little reason for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to sunset LTE-M or NB-IoT technologies. For this, IoT devices will continue functioning as intended for at least a decade in the future.

If you have devices with long lifespans and need continuous connectivity, then DSS is the best solution. One thing to remind, DSS is not intended to provide substantial performance. This is because the scenario may necessitate a new dedicated spectrum for NR. However, it may provide coverage, reduce costs, and improve spectrum efficiency for the operator.

Frequently Asked Questions

DSS technology allows wireless networks to dynamically allocate spectrum resources between different communication standards, such as 4G, LTE, and 5G. It enables more efficient use of the radio frequency spectrum, facilitates a smoother transition to 5G networks, and improves overall network performance and capacity.
Yes, you can! You can share the same frequency bands between 4G LTE and 5G NR. It means that if there is a high demand for 5G services, the network can allocate more of the spectrum to 5G. Conversely, if most users are using 4G services, the network can allocate more spectrum to 4G.
DSS can be more cost-effective than traditional spectrum-sharing methods. It allows for the use of existing infrastructure to transmit both 4G LTE and 5G NR signals.

Nybsys Inc. for Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS)

We offer comprehensive solutions for implementing DSS in the context of 5G network deployment. 

You can get various 5G-related products and services, including 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) solutions. These solutions help businesses and organizations take full advantage of 5G technology.

Our Offers

  • 5G RAN Solutions
  • 5G NR Radio Bands
  • Cost-effective Solutions
  • Spectrum Options
  • Support for Time-Critical Applications

I hope you’ve read the whole discussion. You are welcome to let us know your thoughts about dynamic spectrum sharing.

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