What is Spectrum?

Spectrum is needed for wireless communications. But what is radio spectrum or radio frequency? This short animated video helps explain what spectrum is and how the Communications Research Centre is helping Canada manage this scarce natural resource.

Transcript: What is Spectrum?

Visual

Text: What is Spectrum?

Spectrum is the airwaves along which wireless signals travel. Text: What is Spectrum?

An antenna tower, circles represent signals

Ever since the first radio transmissions, it has been essential for communications.

Two parallel "roads" each take up half of the screen, with hills and trees on top.

Single sine wave appears

A dirt road, a horse on the road

Multiple sine waves of different colours and widths

To help understand spectrum...

Vertical road appears with cars on one lane

Different devices using spectrum are coming the other direction on the road (radios, satellites, TVs, smartphones)

... imagine a road network: thousands of roads, each one a different size, with all
kinds of users...

View changes to aerial view of an intersection

Devices, such as radios, cell phones, laptops and tablets are in the lanes instead of cars

Evolving to devices on multi-lane roads

It can get pretty chaotic...

Zoom out to see multiple roads and intersections

Devices get stuck in traffic jams and turn red

... so rules and regulations are essential. Our Government manages the spectrum so that Canadians have the best wireless experience.

Road signs, smiling police officer, traffic lights, with buildings in background

Because spectrum, just like a road network, has limited space. The more we use it, the more congested it gets.

Multi-lane roads appear, but there is more traffic and another traffic jam

That's where the Communications Research Centre comes in…

Text: Communications Research Centre

To understand how spectrum is used today...

CRC truck on a road with monitoring dish on top, buildings in the back

Traffic (devices) appear on road in front of truck

To find innovative ways to use it even better...

Traffic on raised road

To explore what new spectrum can be used in the future...
... and to help Canada be a global leader in managing this scarce natural resource.

Futuristic roads – flying traffic in the sky above other roads

Communications Research Centre – finding what is possible and what works

CRC and Innovation Science and Economic Development logos

Canada wordmark

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