It’s not like frequency “miners” will suddenly unearth a rich new vein of wireless spectrum; the laws of physics dictate otherwise. Fortunately, the laws of economics show us a better way to share the resources we have. Now is the time for the market to transition from top-down, centralized frequency ownership to a decentralized, sharing economy model, where neutral networks can host any application on a resource-light digital platform and all stakeholders pay fairly for only the network resources and frequencies they actually use. Such a platform can function and scale faster when it is permissible for frequency allocation decisions to be automated at the edge.
By advancing regulations that decentralize the allocation of spectrum and enable automation of spectrum sub-leasing decisions, the United States can help keep wireless access prices reasonable, help 5G and future-G networks scale rapidly, and make sure that every citizen gets a fair piece of the future wireless opportunity.
To be clear, we are not proposing a system that does away with incumbents, nor one that tears down their 5G and SAS business models. In fact, our aim is to protect incumbents’ investments in spectrum resources in which they are investing so much. It makes economic sense to give wireless companies a technology tool that extends their current and future networks at low marginal cost.
The requisite enabling technology and business model come together in OmniMesh, which is a resource-light platform for connectivity, spectrum allocation, and digital governance. OmniMesh creates an automated edge computing coordination platform that does not rely on massive, centrally owned infrastructure or high densities of towers and backhaul fiber. Instead, it consists of a decentralized network of low-cost wireless nodes, using blockchain to record wireless service delivery and compensation.
The network is designed to move as much traffic as possible east-west among nodes. Ultimately, the only traffic that will travel north-south to network edge/network core/cloud will be governance data. This lightweight control information will provide regulators the visibility they need into the network, while minimizing the congestion on existing backhaul and network resources.
The OmniMesh vision is that our nodes will initially be deployed by network providers as a lower-cost alternative or extender to fiber or hub-and-spoke 5G networks. Then, the more the OmniMesh platform scales, the more burden it can take off other network resources. The collaborative gain effect is such that as neighborhood node contingents densify and multiply, they will gain the capability to communicate wirelessly, neighborhood-to-neighborhood, instead of routing traffic north-and-south over fiber and into cloud data centers.
OmniMesh has partnered with technology leaders to pioneer its platform technology, which consists of agile spectrum technology, distributed computing and storage, and blockchain monetization. At this writing OmniMesh has completed its third-generation prototype and is participating in a demonstration with ANDRO Computational Solutions as the principal investigator.
ANDRO is a leader in the spectrum management space, having pioneered cognitive radio technology that is deployed today by the U.S. armed forces. ANDRO engineers advise Department of Defense leadership and have briefed the FCC Commissioner on spectrum management policy, a topic that is evolving quickly as DoD and FCC collaborate on meeting the United States’ priority spectrum allocation needs. OmniMesh has a license agreement with ANDRO for the exclusive, perpetual, worldwide use of ANDRO’s xSAS Agile Spectrum technology for commercial purposes.
OmniMesh’s platform for sharing edge computing and spectrum resources creates a more secure, governable internet with several advantages.
- OmniMesh nodes enable lower latency and more efficient use of a given piece of spectrum.
- OmniMesh provides an opportunity to transition from regressive, market-limiting spectrum auctions to a new, more progressive taxation model for spectrum (e.g. a granular use tax).
- A platform running on peer-to-peer contingents of nodes is a resource-light way to deliver services like 5G and future-G without so many backhoes rolling and digging.
- OmniMesh platform + ANDRO xSAS gives operators a flexible, capital-efficient path to 5G enablement that scales faster than centralized solutions.
While the transition to decentralized technology is not yet clear to some market observers, it is abundantly clear to actors within the FCC and DoD through the 2019 Presidential directive on spectrum, the Spectrum IT Modernization Act of 2020, the 2014 Advanced Wireless Services (AWS)-3 auction, and the 2012 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report. The Federal government has developed new policies to enable SAS in the 3.5 CBRS band; and the business community has strived to make its solutions and standards more policy aware and interoperable (e.g. 5G NR, ORAN, 3GPP, IEEE 1900.5). Public-private partnerships in innovation bands are the gateway to the decentralized future state.
In the decentralized future, a platform that can broker any kind of service request will be a driver for market innovation. It will serve use cases that are already soaking up bandwidth on today’s Internet (like video streaming and payment processing) and it will have capital-efficient capacity to spare to enable the development and profitability of future applications we can’t yet imagine.
The distributed platform will give the American people markets that produce more of what people need, an increase in consumer welfare, and a system that allocates resources efficiently to their highest-value uses. With such a system in place, the coming wireless revolution will benefit everyone.