For years, Internet users have been able to design their own computers, design their own clothing, book their own travel and do their own taxes online. Wireless operators seeking frequency coordination will be able to leverage similar flexibility when the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) launches the enhanced version of its CEVO solution later this year, EWA officials will announce today.

At IWCE in March, EWA launched the first iteration of CEVO (short for “coordination evolution”), which allows users to assess whether frequencies are available in four major bands—VHF, UHF, 800 MHz and 900 MHz—via the CEVO smartphone application. This week at the EWA Wireless Summit in Denver, EWA officials are demonstrating online enhancements that let network operators select the frequencies they want online instead of depending on a frequency coordinator to make the spectrum choices.

“It completely revolutionizes and revamps how our customers and prospective customers will do business, and totally changes how we do things internally,” EWA President and CEO Mark Crosby said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “We’re giving customers options, moving from little—or no—involvement to almost total involvement, in terms of selecting frequencies. That’s pretty revolutionary, I think.”

“What we need to provide are the tools to help people select the optimum frequencies for their purposes, in compliance with the FCC rules.”

Scheduled to launch in early November, the latest iteration of CEVO features a web portal that allows any user to access the tools necessary to prepare FCC licensing applications. Accessible from a tablet, smartphone or personal computer, the CEVO portal gives network operators the same tools that are available to the EWA frequency-coordination staff, including an online “wizard” mode to automate and streamline many functions, based on the request.

“You’ve got to be able to do contours; you’ve got to be able to do predictions and those kinds of things,” Crosby said. “But, at the end of the day, if I provide that capability [to EWA personnel] internally, why can’t I offer it outside? After all, the computer—the algorithms and the sophisticated software—is going to reach the same conclusions for my internal staff as it would for somebody outside [entering the same data].”

Frequency coordinators may know more about FCC rules than a typical network operator, but those rules have been programmed into the CEVO system, Crosby said. This means a network operator can enter the parameters for a proposed system—or modifications to an existing network—into CEVO and consider myriad design options, based on variables such as different bands, antenna height and power levels.

And many network operators have the advantage of knowing nuances about their spectral surroundings that a frequency coordinator may not, Crosby said.

“Oftentimes, the people on the streets know their [spectral] environments better than we do,” he said. “We don’t have people throughout the country, and we don’t have RF monitoring everywhere, but [customers and potential customers] may, in their area.

“So let our customers [select their own frequencies], if they want to do it. They’ll be happier, and they’ll probably get better solutions.”

For those network operators that do not want to get into the details of frequency selection, CEVO offers an option to have EWA—or a partner public-safety frequency coordinator, in the case of public-safety applications—make the frequency selection, as has been the case traditionally. For those entities that use CEVO to select their own frequencies and complete the application properly, EWA will submit the application to the FCC for a significantly lower fee.

“I’m one of those guys who turns to a buddy—a CPA—and says, ‘Do my taxes for me,’ and I pay him for it,” Crosby said. “But there are other people who say, ‘I want to do it myself, but I need the tools to do it.’ This is the same thing.”