Is Whitespace a Game Changer?

This week, the FCC begins a 45-day public trial of the Telcordia Whitespace Database ( Whitespace represents the unused TV bands from 54-862MHz, usually available in 6MHz increments.  The spectrum must be used on a non-intereference basis which requires a dynamic database look-up based on the user's location.  The first 45-day trial used Spectrum Bridge's database and this new trial will use Telcrodia's.  The propagation characteristics of whitespace spectrum are very good (can support up to 800Mbps up to 10km) which is why some refer to communications in these bands as "Super WiFi".  IEEE 802.22 is a standard focused on using the Whitespace spectrum.  Given the significant capacity crunch in wireless networks, even with LTE being deployed, carriers and regulators will need many different options to offload precious spectrum in licensed networks.  However, it is not clear how whitespace will fit into the current wireless carrier business model, much like WiFi when it first appeared on the scene. Only 19-40% of spectrum is used at any given time so the techniques learned from whitespace capable devices/databases may provide opportunities to more broadly address spectrum management and network capacity issues.

Coupled with advanced in cognitive radio technology, Whitespace could indeed be a game changer.  Device players like Google and Apple would love nothing more than to have other long range wireless network options than the major carriers.  We should all be watching the upcoming trial with great interest. 
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This page contains a single entry by Scott A. Snyder published on December 7, 2011 10:25 PM.

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