But in urban areas all around the world where Microsoft wants to do business, the white spaces will be very useful for “smart city” devices and applications—remember, that’s Microsoft’s big idea. And if the US is already widely using those white spaces, the rest of the world will follow along—both in terms of policy and in terms of providing additional marketplaces for the white spaces ecosystem of manufacturers to sell into.
The UHF spectrum, which ranges from 400 to 700 MHz, is superior to the higher-frequency signals used for existing Wi-Fi hotspots, the researchers said, as these signals carry for miles and are not blocked by walls or trees.
It should be noted that carriers such as AT&T and related associations such as the National Association of Broadcasters objected to the FCC rules in the run up to the commission’s August meeting, citing concerns that new unlicensed uses in the 600 MHz band would create interference.
I wonder what AT&T’s true motivation for their objection.
We’ve written about White Spaces on numerous occasions. The FCC gave its thumbs up in 2008. We wrote about test networks in 2010, and by December 2011 the FCC had approved the first White Spaces broadband device.
LOL. I read the free Wifi story in the Chicago Tribune and even on slashdot.
Now the remaining obstacles to widespread adoption of white spaces technology are mostly technical. Art Brodsky of Public Knowledge told us that supporters of the technology are working on building the databases needed to track which television channels are available for use at any particular time and location. He said the databases are being set up on a “market-by-market basis. When they hit a critical mass of markets, or can accommodate multiple markets, this technology will take off much more strongly.
The TV White Spaces Consortium, which comprises 17 international and UK technology and media companies (BT, Microsoft, BBC, Virgin Media, Alcatel-Lucent etc.), has reported that their 10 month long trials of White Space (IEEE 802.22) wireless broadband tech in urban and rural areas around Cambridge (England) have been “successful“.
City centre coverage. The consortium set up base stations on the north side of the Cambridge city centre in four pubs and a theatre, aiming to provide widespread coverage, including “pop-up” Wi-Fi hotspots. The base stations were connected to dual omnidirectional wide-band antennas mounted on rooftops (radios and antennas provided by Neul), enabling considerably further coverage than could have been achieved with conventional Wi-Fi, in 2.4GHz, for example. The tests showed that TV white spaces can help extend broadband access and offload mobile broadband data traffic. These hotspots can enable users to enjoy data-intensive services such as online video provided by BBC iPlayer and Sky Go during peak usage times, when additional capacity and wider reach is needed.
The authorized model in question is the KTS Agility Data Radio. “The ADR is a software-defined radio that offers unparalleled flexibility,” KTS literature promises. “It can access more spectrum and support more throughput than any radio product on the market today.”
The black 3.5 x 5.0 x1.4-inch machine weighs almost three quarters of a pound, can take on channel sizes up to 5MHz, and services data rates up to 4Mbps.