Spectrum occupancy measurements: A survey and use of interference maps

Marko Höyhtyä, Aarne Mämmelä, Marina Eskola, Marja Matinmikko, Juha Kalliovaara, Jaakko Ojaniemi, Jaako Suutala, Reijo Ekman, Roger Bacchus, Dennis Roberson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    150 Citations (Scopus)


    In order to provide meaningful data about spectrum use, occupancy measurements describing the utilization rate of a specific frequency band should be conducted over a specific area instead of a single location. This article presents a comprehensive methodology for the measurement and analysis of spectrum occupancy. The article surveys spectrum measurement campaigns and associated interference maps, introducing the latter as a tool for spectrum analysis and management based on measurement data. An interference map characterizes the spectrum use by defining the level of interference over an area of interest in a certain frequency band. Building on findings from practical measurement studies, guidelines for spectrum occupancy measurements are given. While many scientific spectrum occupancy measurement papers tend to be too optimistic about the significance and generality of the results, we propose a cautionary perspective on drawing strong conclusions based on the often limited amount of data gathered. The different phases of the spectrum occupancy measurement and analysis process are described and a thorough discussion of interpolation methods is provided. Means to improve the measurement accuracy are discussed, especially regarding spatial domain considerations and the impact of the sampling interval on the results. A practical example of an improved measurement system design covering all the phases of the measurement process and used at the Turku, Finland, Blacksburg, VA and Chicago, IL spectrum observatories is given. Using the improved design, more realistic spectrum occupancy data can be obtained to lay the foundation for spectrum management decisions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2386-2414
    JournalIEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • dynamic spectrum access
    • spectrum management
    • spectrum databases
    • cognition


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