What is wireless spectrum? Here’s what you should know.

Spectrum is the real estate of the wireless ecosystem and it’s facing unprecedented demand. Here’s what you should know about this important resource. 

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What is wireless spectrum. Read to learn more.

What is spectrum?

Radio frequency spectrum fuels all wireless communication. From your smartphone, to your home WiFi, modern communication works by sending radio signals over invisible airwaves called spectrum. Whether you recognize it or not, much of our daily lives revolve around the use of these imperceptible signals. 

Wireless communication depends on a portion of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum, called radio frequency spectrum, which is divided into frequency bands based on how they are used. These bands make up a small portion of the EM spectrum, and other portions of the EM spectrum include visible light, X-rays and more. Pictured below are the different frequency bands of the radio frequency spectrum with some of their uses.

Pictured above are the radio frequency bands with some of their uses.


Click here to see the full infographic on wireless spectrum. 


Spectrum is a limited resource in high demand

But there’s a catch — only a certain number of frequency bands exist, and some of these bands are in much higher demand than others because they enable more data to be transmitted or signals to propagate farther. This means that wireless operators, television broadcasters, and others are eager to secure the ideal spectrum licenses for their technology. The rapid emergence of the gig economy, the IoT (internet of things), and the standardization of remote work has created additional demand for spectrum that our current infrastructure cannot support. 

With a limited number of frequency bands in existence, it is critical that they are used efficiently. If too many signals are sent over a certain frequency, it will result in major interference and disrupted communication. 

All of these factors combined have made management of wireless spectrum incredibly important.

Spectrum Management and Licensing 

In the United States, the government owns spectrum and is responsible for efficiently licensing the resource across public and private entities. The FCC hosts auctions to issue spectrum licenses, allowing organizations like wireless companies and TV broadcasters to place bids, and gain rights to certain frequency bands. 

$ 0 billon
The total amount spent by bidders at the most recent C-band auction by the FCC.

Why is it important to measure spectrum? 

Measuring spectrum allows us to better understand and make efficient use of this scarce commodity. The demand for wireless spectrum has skyrocketed due to the emergence of new and diverse technologies across industries. With the demand outweighing the current available supply of certain spectrum bands, a cohesive and accurate understanding of the radio frequency spectrum has never been more necessary.

At Aurora Insight, we’re on a mission to enable greater connectivity by creating accurate and actionable information for the wireless ecosystem. This starts by measuring, analyzing and understanding the wireless spectrum environment through cutting-edge innovation and collaboration. 

Heres what we do at Aurora Insight:

Wifi Tower signal

Measure spectrum

Combining patented ground, aircraft and satellite-based sensors, we accurately measure the radio frequency spectrum, and global  network deployment. 


Analyze data

Using advanced data processing and machine learning, we analyze data on infrastructure deployment, network operators, their coverage, efficiency, bandwidth use and more.


provide Solutions

We turn complex data analysis into solutions, enabling organizations to plan, invest and grow with confidence as they navigate the ever-changing radio frequency spectrum environment. 

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