Saturday, August 18, 2007

White Open Wireless Grid

It will be great to run a dynamic grid using white spaces that are unused by anyone and are unlicensed at the moment. I was wondering about this more after reading a post on Washington Post "The white open spaces". We are already working on a Wireless mesh based grid application. Hey com on FCC, I don't watch transmitted TV anyway, Cable and Satellite are sucking my purse dry!
There are much talk about White space within the TV bands. White space within the TV band is unlicensed, like WiFi, but is physically better suited than WiFi for broadband transmission. Given the innovation that WiFi access has spurred, as well as the potential for broader coverage both in rural areas and in urban community wireless networks (such as the free WiFi network in Dupont Circle), the FCC has already decided to allow WSDs that are fixed in one location starting after TV's digital transition in 2009. The more controversial issue the commission is considering is whether to also allow portable WSDs, which could be used in products such as laptops or personal digital assistants. Portable WSDs are more difficult to design because they'd need to instantaneously identify which channels are being used in different regions.
To test the feasibility of such devices, last year the FCC started soliciting designs for devices that can identify unoccupied channels and then transmit wireless signals that don't interfere with licensed broadcasts. Two prototypes, submitted by Microsoft and Philips, recently failed to meet the proposed sensing and non-interference requirements, the FCC says. Microsoft is disputing the test results for its prototype.

Certainly the FCC shouldn't approve WSDs that will obliterate TV. But just because these prototypes fell short doesn't mean the technology can never work. The limited success of these devices and another designed at the University of Kansas certainly gives hope that someday a non-interfering product could exist. After all, low-power wireless microphone operators often already use white spaces for similar short-distance broadcasts without a license -- although they're supposed to get licenses -- and they coexist peacefully with TV stations. (Wireless microphone operators also oppose sharing white spaces with unlicensed Internet service providers.)
Read the complete report at washington post

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