First 'white space' devices about to debut

May 25, 2011 by Bob Yirka report

( -- Google, and eight other already approved companies are likely to soon be joined by Microsoft as they all take a giant leap into the great "white space" unknown. Because bandwidth for computing devices has become ever more precious as more and more computing systems have sought to go wireless, companies such as Google and Microsoft have been furiously working on systems that could access portions of the spectrum traditionally reserved for television signals. Because such bandwidth is allocated and run by the FCC however, rules must be followed, such as only using bandwidth not already allocated to someone else, most notably, television stations.

Microsoft wants to position itself as not just a user of such bandwidth, but as an administrator of sorts and as such has been working on a through its research group dubbed, oddly enough, SenseLess; a system that tracks every licensed television signal in the continental United States, and then combines that with topographical data to estimate where signals from existing licensed broadcasters dissipate.

Any holes that exist in any given area could conceivably be used for other purposes, such as over much longer distances than can be achieved by WiFi or even cellular signals. If its bid is successful, Microsoft would achieve great influence in the soon to be, wide-open white-space market, as others that wish to use such bandwidth, would have to go through them.

If the industry, along with Microsoft, is successful in creating a system for tracking and allocating such bandwidth and then in creating new devices to go along with it, users could expect to see devices capable of broadcasting and listening for signals over several miles, which could of course, change how many users get their Internet service.

Consider for example, the possibility of a WiFi receiver that could pick up wireless signals sent directly from an ISP, rather than having to be transported by cable or satellite to a home, then converted to such a signal and then back again; areas with little to no cable service currently, could instantly become high-speed Internet users, increasing the percentage of users nationwide with high speed access across the country.

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User comments : 9

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1 / 5 (5) May 25, 2011
Any form of communication and increased bandwidth is welcome.

However, nothing short of long-distance quantum entangle or wormholes will ever replace cabled communications.

With cable, even with limited frequency bandwidth, you can create more bandwidth by adding more cables between ISP and users, and between individual users.

Currently, our capitalistic internet service system uses an extended star networks branching out from ISP hubs and data center hubs.

It would be more useful if more companies ran their own networking cables regionally and nationally with their branches and partners in addition to the ISP specialists. This would allow more efficient networking communication by skipping the middle man whenever possible.

Currently, what a lot of companies do is they have a local area network at each of their branches, and they buy internet service from a data center or ISP.
4 / 5 (4) May 25, 2011
This is a dangerous thing to do, to position microsoft into a monopoly over high speed digital communications. We already pay too much for communications as it is anyways.
1 / 5 (1) May 25, 2011
Anybody have anything real to say about this?
1. Microsoft has no monopoly over this. While I do not doubt their more nefarious intentions, right now they are more of a bit player that is pushing for this. In this realm, there are plenty of other companies pushing.
2. The infrastructure required for white space connections is considerably less - The main issue is ensuring no interference with broadcasters - All you need to do is post a tower, and you can cover a wide geographic area. Also, there is no licensing of this space, so bit players can access this arena.

Due to the set up, this is actually a great example of a capitalistic opportunity that does not necessarily give the big guys any more clout or ability than the small players. It is almost admirable that microsoft is pushing for it, because it would be quite difficult for them to truly dominate or profit substantially from this.
5 / 5 (2) May 25, 2011
This is a dangerous thing to do, to position microsoft into a monopoly over high speed digital communications.

Or Google, or Apple, for that matter.
not rated yet May 25, 2011
I'm sure that google is watching this issue/technology closely.

not rated yet May 25, 2011
Packet radio revisited. Hahaha..
not rated yet May 26, 2011
With the unused parts TV spectrum different in every country, how viable will this technology be worldwide? What about near national borders?

Well if they can make it consistent then good luck to them.
not rated yet May 26, 2011
All that bandwidth was stolen from the television industry, and from the C-band industry in particular. C-band was a viable medium with a lot of subscribers who did not want to be tied down by the small dish folks. But a monopoly in the upload of signals used by C-band and its bad stepchild, 4DTV, led to that monopoly's closing down of the whole industry in favor of its other small dish proprietary interests against the national interest. So now the robber barons have a new corpse to fight over, that of free tv.
5 / 5 (1) May 27, 2011
There is no incentive for a tier 1 ISP to provide service to anything but a teir 1 or tier 2. Going down to the user level is a waste of resources with their current technology and business model. so yeah i disagree with you spectator - no surprise there ... the middle man is needed because their business model makes money on being able to connect to the larger teir 1 and split the signal for the tier 3 or stand alone user

This has no wolrdwide application - tv signals do not go tthat far ... shortwave radio signals can bounce around the atmosphere from across the globe but only at certain times of the day when the sun is in the right position and a little bird is sitting on the antennea in just the right position :-D

the bandwidth was not stolen -- all tv station were forced to use a digital signal which is more effecient and smaller in frequency bands -- making room for this new innovation

It is a shame what happened to C-band IMO - but you can only get free for so long

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