I understand there is concern over the limited amount of wireless spectrum available for allocation but am somewhat confused as to why. Couldn't we just divide the electromagnetic spectrum into as many radio frequency bands as we need by making the communication frequency more precise, i.e. broadcasting over 101.713 MHz instead of 101.7 MHz in order to make more room. What are the limiting factors preventing us from doing this?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do a web search on "channel capacity". There's a strong correlation on occupied bandwidth and data rate -- and the more channels you shove into a given bandwidth, of necessity the narrower those channels need to be. \$\endgroup\$
    – TimWescott
    Apr 23, 2019 at 0:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimWescott Thanks, that is exactly the information I was looking for but couldn't find the name. \$\endgroup\$
    – nellapizza
    Apr 23, 2019 at 0:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's kind of like trying to make more room in a box by dividing it up into arbitrarily small compartments. The compartments get less useful because each one can hold less and less. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Apr 23, 2019 at 1:36
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Information is carried along in SIDEBANDS. To preserve the information, the sidebands need substantial energy and cannot be arbitrarily filtered. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 23, 2019 at 2:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is actually where the term bandwidth comes from - the band needs some width. Put overy simply, the more (band)width the more information you can reliably transmit over said band. Hence the less (band)width, the less information, until the band gets too narrow to be of any use. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pavel
    Apr 23, 2019 at 9:02

1 Answer 1


Signals don't exist at a single frequency. They have a bandwidth that spreads across spectrum. The radio station at 101.7MHz takes up the spectrum from 101.6-101.8MHz.


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