Lessons Learned from a Radio Spectrum Coexistence Competition: A Road Map to Engagement in Informal Education of Wireless Communication

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition


The U.S. Government is in the process of implementing 2012 recommendations by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to share federal spectrum with non-federal users, a process that is projected to result in a Trillion dollars in societal benefits as well as related employment for millions. Related competitions such as DARPA’s Spectrum Challenge and Spectrum Collaboration Challenge encourage innovative approaches and help prepare the STEM professionals who will develop effective spectrum sharing radios and networks as well as spectrum access systems needed to realize the PCAST vision.

We describe experience gained and lessons learned through organization of two international radio spectrum coexistence competitions. In addition, we present an assessment of these competitions based on analysis of participant survey item responses addressing self-efficacy and engagement as well as participant recommendations.

We identify and discuss several important considerations in organizing and hosting this type of competition. These considerations include infrastructure comprising both hardware and software, recruitment of sponsors, timing of funding and publicity for the competition, recruitment of participants and advisors, software and hardware documentation and ease of use, technical support, logistics for the final competition, and documentation of the competition, and in particular the final competition, for use in publicizing the next year’s competition, if held yearly.