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Spectrum crunch refers to the potential lack of sufficient wireless frequency spectrum needed to support a growing number of consumer devices, along with various government and private sector uses of radio frequencies within a broad spectrum allocated for different types of wireless communications. Spectrum crunch is a risk in telecommunications and wireless networking with profound implications for the immediate future.
Potential solutions for wireless spectrum efficiency and spectrum crunch range from ideas about new technologies to consolidate frequency use, to government programs that would help reallocate pieces of the wireless spectrum to free up capacity. Spectrum crunch remains one of the primary focus areas for IT professionals in telecommunications and other industries that use 3G and 4G wireless network infrastructures.
Specifically, various kinds of technologies, such as the addition of supplementary small cell towers, can help expand wireless capacity in the face of a limited wireless spectrum. Also under consideration is full duplex signal transmission, which could, if implemented, cut spectrum use for devices in half. One of the main unknown elements is how mobile devices like smartphones and tablets will work in the future, and whether they will continue to use the limited wireless spectrum, in spite of spectrum crunch.