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White Spaces Test "Rigged," Says Google Co-Founder Page

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the say-it-ain't-so dept.

Government 323

Davide Marney writes "As reported by the Washington Post, Google co-founder Larry Page claims that an FCC field test of white space wireless devices was 'rigged' to make the test device fail to detect wireless microphone broadcasts. A Google spokesman explained later that testers had hidden the wireless microphones within the same frequency as local television stations, preventing the test device from detecting them."

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WHa (-1, Redundant)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25159471)

for who now?

first! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25159473)

post!

fantastic (5, Insightful)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25159495)

It's great to hear debate on this issue... but this is a scientific issue, and we should test it with science. Google is a big company. They should conduct their own experiment and publish the results if they want to refute the FCC test.

Re:fantastic (4, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | about 6 years ago | (#25159679)

It's hard to test these things without the FCC's help... you need to set up a scale model of TV station signals, and that requires an FCC license to do.

Re:fantastic (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 6 years ago | (#25159849)

It's hard to test these things without the FCC's help... you need to set up a scale model of TV station signals, and that requires an FCC license to do.

Only within the Continental U.S., Hawaii and some U.S. territories. Let Google go offshore somewhere and set up a test facility. I doubt Mexico would care very much (probably just grease a few palms.) Or just run their tests inside a giant shielded area ... maybe an aircraft hangar.

Re:fantastic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25160065)

Listen you yourself

Re:fantastic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161267)

Lol, AC speaks the truth.

Re:fantastic (0, Troll)

orasio (188021) | about 6 years ago | (#25160763)

Only within the Continental U.S., Hawaii and some U.S. territories. Let Google go offshore somewhere and set up a test facility. I doubt Mexico would care very much (probably just grease a few palms.)

You disgust me.
The third world is not your backyard. Or should not be. Mexico would be better without Google's bribe money.

Re:fantastic (3, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | about 6 years ago | (#25160865)

I'm pretty sure some Mexican slashdotters will be more disgusted at you calling Mexico a "third world" country.

Re:fantastic (4, Informative)

batkiwi (137781) | about 6 years ago | (#25161239)

Mexico is categorized as third world, though... It's not a value judgement on the worth of Mexico, it's simply a categorization used during the cold war which still lives on.

Re:fantastic (3, Interesting)

sesshomaru (173381) | about 6 years ago | (#25160875)

There's no need to go to the Third World. In another country that doesn't have a corrupt equivalent of the FCC beholden to special interests, Google can go ahead with the tests.

Seriously, Google needs to be thinking about the future and the U. S. ain't it. Someday, and not very far out, the U. S. (or whatever ends up replacing it on the North American land mass) will be the Third World Government getting bribed for Science!!!

Japan maybe, France, plenty of countries will want to get a jump on this technology. If the U. S. wants to fall behind because a few rich people can corrupt a regulatory body so they can buy a few more ivory backscratchers, so be it! Lord knows it's a drop in the bucket compared to what has been outsourced or legally crippled because of our little masters of the Universe on Wall Street. We're getting near the end of Atlas Shrugged here or the beginning of 1984 or sometime way before the beginning of Revolt in 2100. Take your pick, dystopias in real life all end the same way.

Re:fantastic (1)

afidel (530433) | about 6 years ago | (#25161091)

Hahaha, ETSI and MIC are way more stringent about spectrum use, just check the available settings for your 802.11 device, the available bands are always smaller for ETSI and Japan (MIC).

Re:fantastic (1)

wellingj (1030460) | about 6 years ago | (#25160963)

What about a legitimate rental of land?

Get off your damn high horse (5, Funny)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about 6 years ago | (#25161415)

We're not talking about setting up a machine that sprays toxic waste into the atmosphere or some sort of plant that will poison groundwater supplies, we're talking about setting up a goddamn broadcast antenna. Just like the ones Mexicans watch TV on currently. The original poster's point was that since the agency that decides whether or not you can SET UP broadcast antennas in the US is also the one that's being accused of RIGGING the test and LYING about the results, you'll have to find somewhere else to set up your antenna.

So take your trumped up "disgust" and stick it in your self righteous ass.

Re:fantastic (1)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 6 years ago | (#25160895)

Let Google go offshore somewhere and set up a test facility.

Looks like they're one step ahead of you [slashdot.org] .

Google? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 6 years ago | (#25161187)

I don't really see what Google has to do with this, other than that they (along with Microsoft and who knows how many others) want to be able to make a fast buck out of broadband access, whether directly or indirectly.

But these whitespace frequencies have been used for a significantly long time for devices such as wireless microphones. Just because Google has bottomless buckets of money doesn't give them any claim on the frequencies.

Re:fantastic (2, Informative)

CapitanMutanda (1185685) | about 6 years ago | (#25161223)

Only within the Continental U.S., Hawaii and some U.S. territories. Let Google go offshore somewhere and set up a test facility. I doubt Mexico would care very much (probably just grease a few palms.)

I'm not Mexican but work here. It would be equally easy to grease the correct hands in gringoland so don't think you are in the land of perfect innocence!

Re:fantastic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25159741)

Yes, "doing science" should always be a big show. Critical thinking and logic simply have no place in science!

don't forget! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25159499)

ladies: October is international shave your bush month. Please celebrate by shaving or waxing your pubes, brazilian style. Everybody appreciates a nice bald pussy, and it feels really good.

Re:don't forget! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25159629)

Do you have to post about shaved pussies in every story? It is getting old!

Re:don't forget! (0, Offtopic)

Surt (22457) | about 6 years ago | (#25159879)

Dude, you're arguing with yourself, get help!

Usually I like Google, but in this case.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25159539)

I'm usually a huge fan of google, but in this case, I'm on the side of the entertainment industry because I work in it and already with digital television vs analog we're gonna have a harder time finding open frequencies (and some events have been known to have 40-80 or maybe even more wireless microphones).

There is no such thing as "hiding the wireless microphone frequencies in local tv stations" that is where they live. The problem is the FCC hasn't given us our own frequencies to play with so we have to work around and in the TV channels.

Re:Usually I like Google, but in this case.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25159579)

Perhaps you should try using Spread Spectrum [wikipedia.org] techniques.

Re:Usually I like Google, but in this case.... (1)

nsayer (86181) | about 6 years ago | (#25160185)

Spread spectrum isn't a magic bullet. SS users wind up raising the noise floor around the frequencies they use. Low power 900 MHz SS has all but ruined the band in some places.

Re:Usually I like Google, but in this case.... (5, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | about 6 years ago | (#25160559)

who the hell modded this insightful?

this test was designed to see if allowing broadband internet applications unlicensed use of white spaces would interfere with current hardware, such as wireless microphones.

how can such a test be conducted when there's already other sources of interference on those frequencies? unless they rule out the interference being caused by local TV broadcasts, then they can't use the test results as an acceptable metric.

frankly, i think the public would receive more benefit from broadband internet being given this dedicated spectrum rather than TV stations or wireless microphones. especially if it's used for public/municipal wi-fi deployment via WiMAX or other last mile solutions.

the internet is a public generalized data network. that means it can be used by anyone, and anyone can develop new applications for it. cellular networks, TV, radio, etc. are all closed proprietary networks which are controlled by a handful of corporations. no one is allowed to develop new applications for these networks, and thus little innovation or technological progress has occured in these networks compared to the public internet.

if we can establish a national wireless broadband infrastructure, it could be used to deliver/broadcast text, video, audio, or any other form of digital data. not only would it be a major infrastructure upgrade, but it would be a democratization of the media by decentralizing media distribution. we would just have wi-fi appliances for streaming internet radio stations rather than AM/FM radios, giving indie artists as much exposure as mainstream artists who currently dominate traditional media.

i mean, why should a few media corporations have exclusive usage rights over such a large range of the radio spectrum when the public would receive so much more benefit from those frequency ranges being used for broadband internet access?

Re:Usually I like Google, but in this case.... (1)

lonasindi (914571) | about 6 years ago | (#25160911)

That big sale of spectrum for TV actually got my theatre ten brand new shure wireless mics/receivers because we could go to the Dean and say 'hey, our old wireless system is literally obsolete.' Sounds like progress to me.

Larry's sitting on a lot of cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25159547)

And now he's walking a line dangerously close to slander.

If he's wrong, he's going to have a lot of lawyers climbing into every orifice of his body.

"He can't be wrong!" you say? Go ahead, believe that. He's hardly an impartial observer.

Re:Larry's sitting on a lot of cash (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25160107)

If he's wrong, he's going to have a lot of lawyers climbing into every orifice of his body.

Safe to say that Jack Thompson won't be one of them ;)

You go, Larry! (-1, Flamebait)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 5 years ago | (#25159551)

That's it Larry! Don't let the fact that you graduated with a computer science degree and have no practical experience with radio transmission research stop you from commenting on such things.

Personally, as a computer programmer, I like to stand over doctors as they are performing delicate surgery and tell them what I believe they are doing wrong. So, you go, Larry!

Re:You go, Larry! (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 5 years ago | (#25159601)

Larry is an executive at the company that's claiming it was held to an unfair test. You think Google doesn't employ radio experts who could have told him what to say?

Re:You go, Larry! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25159853)

Larry is an executive at the company that's claiming it was held to an unfair test....

So he's BIASED because he has a VESTED INTEREST in the results?

Got it.

Re:You go, Larry! (1)

Surt (22457) | about 6 years ago | (#25159893)

Vested interest does not necessarily lead to bias, though it certainly could have done so in this case.

Re:You go, Larry! (1)

ibnsomeone (1366103) | about 6 years ago | (#25159651)

Perhaps he might be talking on behalf of his company? I heard that Google actually have a R&D department, who would of thought?

Re:You go, Larry! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25160069)

You are going to trust an R&D department that can't get any of their products out of beta? Silly person.

Re:You go, Larry! (0)

Skye16 (685048) | about 6 years ago | (#25160931)

Uh, dude, it's never R&D's job to get products out of beta.

Actually, the fact that so many of R&D's betas are used as end products by the masses just goes to show how exceptional their R&D really is. Most R&D departments do flimsy prototypes and call it a day. It's up to engineers working on a production system to bring something out of beta, kthx.

You know.... (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 6 years ago | (#25159701)

Personally, as a computer programmer, I like to stand over doctors as they are performing delicate surgery and tell them what I believe they are doing wrong. So, you go, Larry!

... I think the point you're trying to make with this statement is one of the fundamental problems in current health care. Too often, doctors are seen as magicians dispensing truth from above. They're human. They can fail. If you see something wrong in what a doctor is prescribing or doing, it is quite possible that the doctor is actually wrong. It is then your responsibility to speak up. This counts double if you did your homework and did some background research on your condition.

I'd also say that the same applies to any other discipline. If you see a flaw in someone's argument, call them on it. People are human and do make mistakes. And amateurs have access to information that many professionals would have killed for even a few years ago.

Now, this doesn't mean that a doctor or other expert has to listen to every crackpot, and that every amateur ought to be given the same weight as a noted expert. Sometimes, the proper answer to a question is indeed "Stop wasting my time." The trick is to know what time is when.

Re:You know.... (3, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | about 6 years ago | (#25159909)

I'd like to give you my vote on your post and add a comment:

Get a second opinion. You will be shocked at how often two doctors disagree on what might seem to be simple diagnoses, meaning that at least one of them is just quite simply WRONG.

Doctors get it wrong a little more than three quarters of the time in my experience.

Re:You know.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25160627)

3/4s of Doctors diagnoses are incorrect? I'd really like to the study you did involving 1000s of doctors and 10,000s of diagnosis to come to that conclusion.

Re:You know.... (1)

Surt (22457) | about 6 years ago | (#25161265)

Did you read my post? I said my experience. That's tens of doctors across 100s of diagnoses.

Re:You know.... (2, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 6 years ago | (#25161317)

3/4s of Doctors diagnoses are incorrect?

Actually, that statement might get a nod of agreement from my doctor. I am one of the fortunate few who has what is sometimes regarded as an overqualified GP. But aside from all the paper qualifications, he has the two that are most valuable, namely (1) a moderate-sized ego (so isn't ashamed to admit when he's been barking up the wrong tree and look elsewhere for a diagnosis) and (2) a wide streak of cynicism.

Re:You know.... (3, Funny)

liquidpele (663430) | about 6 years ago | (#25159977)

Ah... one of my favourite stories....

A man comes in for an earache, and the doctor prescribes some drops to put in his ear. He leaves and lets the nurse handle it. The nurse comes in, and without the nurse or the patient questioning anything, she administers the eardrops in the patient's butt. The doctor had written "2 drops daily in R ear" meaning the Right Ear, but the nurse misread it. This true story demonstrates how trusting we are of doctors and how they are never questioned when sometimes they really should be.

Re:You know.... (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 6 years ago | (#25160221)

Bull shit try, "gtts. ii d ear QID".

Re:You know.... (2, Informative)

liquidpele (663430) | about 6 years ago | (#25160691)

Well, then Here's your bullshit [ps21.gov.sg] .

Re:You know.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161307)

this demonstrates the value of not being seen

Can someone explain this article a bit better... (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25159571)

... because for someone who hasn't been following this in detail, TFA doesn't even make clear what exactly Page is claiming happened.

Re:Can someone explain this article a bit better.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25159655)

From what i gather, hes claiming they tuned the microphone detector at the same frequency as a television station, effectivly drowning out the microphone.

Re:Can someone explain this article a bit better.. (5, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | about 6 years ago | (#25159667)

Here's the summary:

There's unused radio spectrum (called "white space") between the TV channels that are designed to give the stations protection. Google (and others) claim that small radio devices can transmit on those frequencies and not harm the TV signals, TV stations of course fearful of anything that might cost them viewers disputed that.

So the FCC set up a field test of a Google device and other devices to see if everything work right. The result of that test was a "fail" for Google's side... but the news is that Google is claiming the wireless microphone channel being tested equated to a local TV broadcasting channel, and therefore was unfair.

White space is not just for protection (2, Informative)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 6 years ago | (#25160205)

It serves a very useful purpose in some receiver designs.

The white space between channels can be used by auto-tuning software to determine where the channels are by detecting energy levels. Fill the white space up and this sort of auto-tuning cannot work. Modern digital tuners probably don't need this, but older, cheaper designs probably do.

Re:White space is not just for protection (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 6 years ago | (#25160225)

Correction: Autotuning software or hardware. This can be implemented as a hardware-only feature that keeps tracking the station to correct for frequency changes as the receiver warms up etc.

Re:White space is not just for protection (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | about 6 years ago | (#25161039)

Conveniently, within about a year, all tv stations will have to broadcast in digital, requiring new all-digital tuners. So it won't matter, as the older, cheaper designs wont work anymore anyway.

Re:Can someone explain this article a bit better.. (1)

Tired and Emotional (750842) | about 6 years ago | (#25160267)

I am still confused

Where they trying to show that the Google device did not interfere with the microphone? But if it was at the same frequency as a local TV station, it would have not worked whether or not the Google device was on - the TV signal would have interfered.

If, on the other hand, the Google device was designed to avoid populated spectrum, it would have avoided that frequency in any case, assuming this feature worked at all.

So exactly what was being tested and what was the failure mode?

Re:Can someone explain this article a bit better.. (1)

dnoyeb (547705) | about 6 years ago | (#25160307)

How could that possibly be a mistake? How could the FCC not know that when it tested? Is this a new test or something?

It doesn't make sense! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161281)

Google is advocating wireless Internet. The FCC were trying to receive signals from a wireless microphone and didn't succeed. Why does Google care? ? WTF

Oh My! (5, Funny)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#25159609)

Oh the conspiracy of it all!

Next they'll be rigging voting machines
Oh wait . . .


--
Oh well, Bad Karma and all . . .

Re:Oh My! (3, Funny)

Pahroza (24427) | about 6 years ago | (#25159801)

McCain/Diebold - We can't lose!

Re:Oh My! (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | about 6 years ago | (#25160079)

McCain/Diebold - We can't lose!

Even with Diebold on his side, I think McCain could figure out a way.

Re:Oh My! (1, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 6 years ago | (#25161063)

That joke is so 4 years ago with John Kerry.

Re:Oh My! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25160371)

McCain/Diebold - We can't lose!

Voting machines will probably favor the candidate who has raised the most money. Corporations won't want to waste their investments.

Obama has raised $454 million compared to McCain's $230 million.
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/index.php [opensecrets.org]

Obama's top donors: [opensecrets.org]
Goldman Sachs $691,930
University of California $611,207
Citigroup Inc $448,599
JPMorgan Chase & Co $442,919
Harvard University $435,769
Google Inc $420,174
UBS AG $404,750
National Amusements Inc $389,140
Microsoft Corp $377,235
Lehman Brothers $370,524

Re:Oh My! (4, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | about 6 years ago | (#25160619)

Keep in mind that those organizations didn't donate that money, those organizations' employees did. Google did not donate $420,000 to Obama, Googlers did.

This is an important distinction.

to state the obvious (1)

Arc the Daft (1340487) | about 6 years ago | (#25159639)

the last thing the established broadcasting players want is more competition

Disagree (2, Interesting)

Trip Ericson (864747) | about 6 years ago | (#25159663)

I really, really don't like whitespace devices.

Companies like Google claim it will allow internet access in rural areas; that's also what they've said about BPL and WiMax and we see that those are being deployed mostly in major cities. The difference is that this time, there's no gain in major cities. (This is so much like BPL it's amazing, able to stomp on everything that's supposed to be in the band, not really benefiting anyone who's supposed to be benefited by this, etc.)

With digital TV coming, white space devices are a very, very bad idea. These devices can start transmitting and wipe out a digital signal, and then how are you going to know what's causing it? At least with analog you could look at the noise in the picture and get some idea of what's causing it. I know they're supposed to detect interference, but as anyone with a cell phone can tell you, dead spots for UHF can be very small and the device could pick what looks like an "empty" channel only for it to be the same as a local TV station.

I'll admit I'm biased in favor of over the air TV, but unlicensed white space devices are a really bad idea. If the FCC wants to license them to allow them to use TV spectrum, that doesn't bother me, but a free-for-all is a terrible idea. In fact, there was a company that did something like that, used a TV license from the FCC and did internet service with it, I want to say it was in Houston. They went out of business, I believe.

I generally like Google, but I am in complete disagreement on this subject.

Re:Disagree (2, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 6 years ago | (#25160041)

Then how about a compromise?

Since this is a pda, adding a GPS wouldnt be a bad idea, in fact I think it'd be a nice addition.

With a GPS, one could check a database in which has a list of frequencies that are "off limits". Though, the bad side is the device will have a chance of interfering for the small amount of time in which the list is being downloaded. I cant see the list being larger than 20KB per 1 sq. km. , so perhaps 3 seconds of jamming potential.

The only real work would be the creation of the DB (well, most of that is done with GIS) and the dont-touch frequencies. The FCC should already have that list, most likely in a weird form.

Re:Disagree (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 years ago | (#25160129)

These devices can start transmitting and wipe out a digital signal, and then how are you going to know what's causing it? At least with analog you could look at the noise in the picture and get some idea of what's causing it.

same way you did it then. use a reciever and walk around. Digital is not "magical" it's stil the same ANALOG Rf transmission carrying 1's and 0's instead of .5,1,1.5,6,9,about 2, kinda 4,.....

so you use simple RDF techniques and find it. Really really simple and around here 9-13 year olds do it all the time.

It's called "fox hunting" and they use a simple pocket scanner to find a hiddent transmitter that transmits only for 1 minute every 5-10 minutes.

Steve? Is that you? (1)

SPY_jmr1 (768281) | about 6 years ago | (#25160593)

RDF techniques? I thought Google was making this, not Apple.

Re:Disagree (1)

Trip Ericson (864747) | about 6 years ago | (#25160961)

What kind of receiver would you use for this, and how would an ordinary non-Slashdot-reading person use one?

All I could tell with a portable receiver is that the digital signal is gone, there's nothing to indicate what's causing it. Not to mention portable DTV tuners are awful at receiving clean DTV, let alone anything else.

Re:Disagree (1)

FluffyWithTeeth (890188) | about 6 years ago | (#25161075)

You use a directional antenna and just wave it around until the output changes. Useful for finding all kinds of stuff.

Summary for non-engineers (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25159703)

Summary for non-engineers:

Google (among others) want to use the newly freed analog TV frequencies to provide long range wireless internet.

Short range RF microphones i.e. wireless stage mics that aren't using IR currently operate in this area as well. current analog TV doesn't interfere, I'll spare details.

Some claim the wireless internet system that has been devised will interfere with these microphones. Google group says they won't because the devices are capable of detecting a microphone transmitting and work around the issue (change freq).

FCC setup a test, device failed to avoid microphones frequencies thus, knocking it out of commission and failing the test.

Google chap claims the testers had the mic transmitting on a frequency used by the local TV channel and this transmitter was so strong that the system could not detect the microphone because it was effectively masked.

Google chap says this was done on purpose.

The end.

Re:Summary for non-engineers (1)

NF6X (725054) | about 6 years ago | (#25159771)

That's a good summary for engineers, too. I'm an engineer, but I wasn't able to figure out what the complaint was about from TFA.

Please mod parent up.

This should have been the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25160651)

Thank you, great sir. This should have been the summary for this article. It's a lot clearer than what's up instead. In particular, it provides context, makes it clear who says what and why, and keeps things in logical order. An example that the editors would do well to follow.

Can anybody translate the summary (0, Redundant)

brentonboy (1067468) | about 6 years ago | (#25159723)

into English?

Re:Can anybody translate the summary (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | about 6 years ago | (#25160109)

Sure thing:

As reported by the Washington Post, Google co-founder Larry Page claims that an FCC field test of white space wireless devices was 'rigged' to make the test device fail to detect wireless microphone broadcasts. A Google spokesman explained later that testers had hidden the wireless microphones within the same frequency as local television stations, preventing the test device from detecting them.

HTH

Re:Can anybody translate the summary (1)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | about 6 years ago | (#25161289)

Better would be some tool for translating some of those comments at the end of the article into coherent, well written remarks or arguments.

Except (1, Informative)

Studio A (676180) | about 6 years ago | (#25159725)

that's exactly how wireless microphones are deployed in the field.

In heavily saturated markets, the wireless mic frequency may sit between a TV video signal and the same channel's audio signal.

At least until things go all digital, then audio and video are muxed into one square wave leaving no room to stick a mic signal. This exasperates the dilemma facing wireless mic operators.

And yes that little PDA can easily wreak havoc on a Broadway show, NFL broadcast or any other production. That's why we regulate the spectrum...devices operating on the same frequency will interfere.

But it won't be how they're deployed in the field (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 6 years ago | (#25160097)

In heavily saturated markets, the wireless mic frequency may sit between a TV video signal and the same channel's audio signal.

At least until things go all digital, then audio and video are muxed into one square wave leaving no room to stick a mic signal. This exasperates the dilemma facing wireless mic operators.

And if the wireless mic being tested was sharing a channel with an ANALOG TV transmitter the test was totally bogus: The situation they tested would no longer occur after Feb '09 because there would be no more analog TV signals to confuse the whitespace device.

Re:But it won't be how they're deployed in the fie (2, Informative)

nsayer (86181) | about 6 years ago | (#25160239)

FAIL!

There will be no full power analog TV broadcasters, but the transition date of 2/17 does not apply to -LP, -CA and translators.

Re:Except (1)

falconwolf (725481) | about 6 years ago | (#25160113)

And yes that little PDA can easily wreak havoc on a Broadway show, NFL broadcast or any other production. That's why we regulate the spectrum...devices operating on the same frequency will interfere.

That's not why the airwaves are regulated. The airwaves are regulated because large media companies wanted to reduce competition. Airwaves were originally homesteaded [criminalgovernment.com] . Courts were ruling that the first person to setup a transmitter and broadcast on a specific frequency had the right to that frequency and others were not allowed to interfere with the broadcast. These rulings were based on, and the basis of, common law [wikipedia.org] . Large businesses like RCA didn't like this so they convinced congress to pass laws requiring expensive licenses. By doing this they were able to reduce competition or potential competition.

Falcon

Re:Except (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25161061)

As a licensed radio amateur, pirate enthusiast, etc., I call bullshit.

The FCC is there to keep order within the bands, and is actually in place by international treaty.

Your history might be right, but your reality is slanted a little too much to the era of tinfoilism.

--Tol_Free

Better Off Dead (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 6 years ago | (#25159745)

Google spokesman explained later that testers had hidden the wireless microphones within the same frequency as local television stations, preventing the test device from detecting them.

Hey, can I get one of those? That might be fun to play with:

"Hey there Lane, I know this is a little awkward, me being a cartoon and all, I was just wondering how you'd feel if I took out Beth." -- Bernard "Barney" Rubble

I'd call it rigged too. (3, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 6 years ago | (#25159793)

What we're hearing about now is outrage over test results which have not yet been published. When they are, they will "show" that wireless Internet devices that Google is trying to get accepted by the FCC were unable to detect a wireless microphone. We've supposed to then believe that the wireless Internet device, having failed to detect the microphone when it checked that chunk of the spectrum, would then begin transmitting on that piece of spectrum, thereby disrupting the microphone. The sound bite is "device which fails to avoid interfering with wireless mic is bad and will not be allowed."

It takes only a moment to see that it was a rigged test because the wireless Internet device did NOT interfere with the microphone, because it did successfully detect the local television station that was broadcasting on that frequency and therefore did not try to use it. Analog TV stations are some seriously high power broad spectrum noise. Any frequency-hopping wireless Internet device would be useless attempting to use the same frequency and would obviously move on to another part of the spectrum, thereby avoiding interfering with the TV station and any other device being masked by it. That part will be conveniently left out of the headlines. The fact that the wireless microphone itself may have been useless while attempting to use that frequency, due to interference from the television station, will also be left out.

So basically the rigged test will be used to deny Google's hopes of fielding devices to use unused spectrum, thereby maintaining the television broadcast industry's lock on chunks of spectrum that they're not even using. It's an inefficient waste of spectrum that dates back 50 years to the days of radios that had just enough vacuum tubes to put a signal into the air, and had none left over for complicated automatic frequency usage detection algorithms. Nor had the Ethernet exponential back-off anti-interference algorithm been connected to the problem. The regulatory regime is antiquated, but the entrenched corporations that have a vested interest in spectrum are defending what they see as "their" airwaves merely on principle.

It wouldn't take a working group all that long to come up with new technical requirements that could be used as FCC regulations that would make use of ALL allocated but unused licensed spectrum, without ever interfering with older dumb devices. Software radios that receive before broadcasting, analyze the results, move on to another frequency if usage is detected, exponentially back off that frequency if it's still in use the next time around, transmit only during some defined time slice, and never broadcast more than 1 watt of power could use that spectrum without legacy device interference and without mutual device interference. Google knows it. The TV industry knows it. The TV industry feels besieged after having parts of spectrum that has been their exclusive stomping grounds for decades sold off to the highest bidder while they get squeezed into digital broadcasts. Google claims they're pulling dirty tricks to defend the spectrum they have left. Just sitting here looking in from outside, I have to agree.

Re:I'd call it rigged too. (I wouldn't) (5, Interesting)

swonkdog (70409) | about 6 years ago | (#25160039)

It takes only a moment to see that it was a rigged test because the wireless Internet device did NOT interfere with the microphone, because it did successfully detect the local television station that was broadcasting on that frequency and therefore did not try to use it. Analog TV stations are some seriously high power broad spectrum noise. Any frequency-hopping wireless Internet device would be useless attempting to use the same frequency and would obviously move on to another part of the spectrum, thereby avoiding interfering with the TV station and any other device being masked by it. That part will be conveniently left out of the headlines. The fact that the wireless microphone itself may have been useless while attempting to use that frequency, due to interference from the television station, will also be left out.

The test is not rigged. I have been doing RF coordination for entertainment professionally for about a decade now and I can assure that with this test the FCC has highlighted one major strategy that we use in crowded RF environments.

An analog television station is not the high power broadband noise machine you make it out to be. An NTSC analog signal takes up 6MHz of bandwidth in the radio spectrum. That signal is actually made up of three distinct signals that are modulated into one channel; those signals are a video carrier, a chromance sub-carrier (color) and a sound sub-carrier. Those signals take up a few 100kHz of bandwidth and are separated by a few 100kHz.

The standard RF microphone used for stage, television and film production has a peak bandwidth of ~ +/- 56kHz or a grand total of ~112kHz total deviation. With that small usage of bandwidth we can fit three microphones into an operating analog television channel without causing interference to the primary spectrum user.

The FCC test seems to be showing that Google's engineers are unaware of this strategy employed by RF coordinators and that if their device decided to employ the same strategy, it would interfere with the operating microphone within the analog television channel.

Mind you, this becomes moot on 19 February 2009 as we cannot do this trick with a digital ATSC signal. That is the high-power noise generating machine you are refering to.

-e

Re:I'd call it rigged too. (I wouldn't) (5, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 6 years ago | (#25160337)

Then, given that all you'll have to work with is an impenetrable square wave, and given that the FCC knows this, what is the purpose of demonstrating that you can play funky tricks by squeezing a microphone into space that will no longer exist? How can it be anything other than rigged? You said yourself this trick will not even be possible in just a few short months. How is a test that tests an environment that will no longer exist anything but a con job? My definition of "rigging" a test is creating a test that is not a faithful representation of the actual operating environment to the detriment of the applicant.

I know, I know, never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. So some idiot designed the test, thinking he was being clever, when it had nothing to do with the environment that will pertain by the time any action could be taken to approve whitespace devices.

I still say that the Google devices checked for signals right where the 6 Mhz of spectrum was supposed to be in use, and immediately moved on, chalking off the whole block as occupied. Why check further when the licensed user is very much clear and present? It doesn't even require naivete to make that decision. It only takes a conservative engineer. Just because people like you are willing to squeeze your signal into that occupied frequency doesn't mean they were. (I don't mean that pejoratively. I'm referring to you as representative of your industry, representing long-established practice.)

And you and I both know that the theoretically lovely 6 MHz NTSC analog signal gets bounced around by structures and atmospheric effects until it gets smeared across 20 MHz or more. The buffer zone built in to the 6 MHz allocation has never been enough to prevent signal bleedover into the space of other stations.

Re:I'd call it rigged too. (I wouldn't) (1)

swonkdog (70409) | about 6 years ago | (#25160793)

I cannot speak for the FCC's motives in devising the test the way they did. Certainly the test is designed around conditions as they are, or more accurately, as they can be and not how they most likely will be in the future.

I would imagine that your characterization of some FCC guy thinking that he's being clever is probably right on the mark. The FCC knowledge tests are full of this "clever" thinking. Both the amateur and commercial radio tests have trick questions and what ifs, as well as lots of out of date questions. There is no reason for me to think that they wouldn't do the same thing in a practical test as well.

IE: in the current commercial GROL exam there are several questions relating to the OMEGA navigation system. As of the end of this month that system will have been officially deactivated for 11 years.

All that said, I still don't believe that the test was rigged as it is representative of possible current conditions. The FCC may have been trying to make a point that the designers of the white-space devices need to think a little more outside of the box as to what might be using apparently free spectrum, or where there might be available space in apparently used spectrum. There might be a wireless microphone there or there might not. The trick of putting low power transmitters inside an operating television channel is one of last resort. At the same time one also never knows when a HAM radio operator might pop up.

However, I would allow that the test is disingenuous in that it is not likely to be representative of the conditions that the white-space devices should encounter when the would be authorized for use. Using that criteria (current / obsolete vs expected future), I understand your contention that the testing was rigged.

-e

Re:I'd call it rigged too. (I wouldn't) (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25160959)

The problem is they are covered by part 95. Part 95 states that the device must A. Accept any interferience, and B. Must not cause any.

Hence the reason it gets tested in "real world" conditions.

--Toll_Free

Re:I'd call it rigged too. (I wouldn't) (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25161011)

"And you and I both know that the theoretically lovely 6 MHz NTSC analog signal gets bounced around by structures and atmospheric effects until it gets smeared across 20 MHz or more. The buffer zone built in to the 6 MHz allocation has never been enough to prevent signal bleedover into the space of other stations."

Your comments needed to stop before this, because you showed your own ignorance of how radio and the spectrum works.

The only thing that can cause a signal to "increase", as you put it, after modulation and transmission is to have something rectify it and reradiate it. If that's the case, it isn't the TV stations (transmitter) fault, it's the problem with the device rectifying the signal.

But, to state that the radio signals get bounced around and end up occupying more bandwith is stupid, ludicrous and ignorant. Yes, signals get bounced from once item (building (dependant on frequency), ground, mountains, etc) to another, and they change POLARITY, but it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the occupied bandwith.

The bandwith wasn't enough because they amplitude modulate the TV signal, and it causes problems with IMD by it's nature.

--Toll_Free

Re:I'd call it rigged too. (I wouldn't) (2, Informative)

weav (158099) | about 6 years ago | (#25160603)

I am the Game-Day frequency coordinator for a major-league sports team (contractor to the league). Some of my colleagues were in on the test and I have read their individual on-field reports.

My recollection is that a good many of the WM's tested in this experiment were in "good, clean whitespace." Let's think it through - a WM hidden in an occupied analog TV channel should be protected by the much stronger carriers of that station. If the whitespace-using net gear is equipped to use such small interstitial spaces as WMs use, it should be sensitive enough to detect WM carriers therein.

I suspect Mr. Page's remarks are fed by a badly underling-filtered early version of the report (or leak).

Re:I'd call it rigged too. (I wouldn't) (1)

swonkdog (70409) | about 6 years ago | (#25161215)

I too would suspect that a device capable of using the interstitial spaces of an active channel would be capable of detecting an RF microphone but I don't know what the FCC wanted Google's device to do. Was it supposed to simply stay off active transmitters or did they want it to flag any and all transmitters in the pass-band?

I've only heard third-hand reports of what happened at the test as the results (to my knowledge) haven't been made public yet. Judging by the article, your comment, and a large amount of wild-ass guessing on my part I would imagine that the FCC wanted them to flag anything and everything in the pass-band but that Google's device saw an active television channel, noted it but didn't analyze it's interstitial spaces, and moved on.

That could be good as that could say that the device would not attempt to use small gaps between transmitters in a crowded RF environment. However, that would seem an odd outcome for a device that (I assume) is designed to take advantage of those same small gaps.

On the other hand, it could be bad as that could mean the device does not perform due diligence in seeking low power transmitters.

Without knowing the FCC's intentions, it's hard to speculate.

On a personal note (apologies as I couldn't help but checking out your call-sign), your name seems familiar and I think we've worked together (or at least met) previously but I can't place where. Did you ever work for PWS or with Stoffo?

-e

Re:I'd call it rigged too. (I wouldn't) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25161341)

These tests were on digital signals not analog, so your correct when you said this is moot. The whole purpose of these tests are for working in digital TV bands because thats the future of TV transmissions. So of course the participants wouldnt worry about doing this in the analog bands.

Re:I'd call it rigged too. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 years ago | (#25160175)

you are incorrect. it dates bac kto the days when the recievers and transmitters were giant hunks of stinky crap and did not have good filtering to reject out of channel interference. Old zenith tv's would suck in the IF frequency of a radio from 6 feet away. they had no shielding, used 35% tolerance components and were built like garbage.

Today the digital tuners can easily reject out of band and ajacent channel signals easily The transmitters finallly have decent filtering on the output so they are not splattering the band so hard you could almost feel it in your teeth if you drove by a transmitter site.

Transmitters from the 50,s 60,s and 70's were horrible garbage and most stations did not buy the set of filtering cans to make sure the signal was as clean as possible. Today you can buy a $50.00 TV that has a better and tighter tuner than the most expensive tv from the 80's had.

The NAB wants control of the guard bands because if they did not LPTV would kick in and they would start to have competition. and we cant have competition.

Re:I'd call it rigged too. (1)

kc8jhs (746030) | about 6 years ago | (#25160315)

It takes only a moment to see that it was a rigged test because the wireless Internet device did NOT interfere with the microphone, because it did successfully detect the local television station that was broadcasting on that frequency and therefore did not try to use it. Analog TV stations are some seriously high power broad spectrum noise. Any frequency-hopping wireless Internet device would be useless attempting to use the same frequency and would obviously move on to another part of the spectrum, thereby avoiding interfering with the TV station and any other device being masked by it. That part will be conveniently left out of the headlines. The fact that the wireless microphone itself may have been useless while attempting to use that frequency, due to interference from the television station, will also be left out.

So you are saying that in fact it didn't fail at all? So what exactly where they testing?

I really think most people have no idea how these systems work. Their very definition is that they use the same frequencies as TV stations. Provided that they produce a strong enough S/N at their receiver, they could be used on the exact same frequency as a nearby TV station.

For a good overview of how these things work, go check out Shure's Wireless Frequency Finder [shure.com] . For example, put in Los Angeles California, and the UHF-R series (there latest, top of the line), and 50 mile radius. Now imagine you're an RF guy on a show that requires ~40 microphones, plus wireless monitor systems, and intercomm. Try to figure out what combination of frequency groups will get you the best performance with the least interference, and leave the most possible open frequencies remaining. It's not easy.

Now try to do all that, with the possibility that the available frequencies could all be wiped out because someone wanted to fire up their SkyNet^H^H^H^H^H^H GoogleMax wireless and look at pr0n.

That's basically the only thing the industry has going for it now, is that the RF environment in most places is fairly stable. Incredibly crowded, but still stable.

I think I've lost all remaining respect for Larry Page. Congratulations on opening your mouth and describing a device's normal operations as a "rigged" test. You just made yourself look like an idiot to anyone that actually understands the issue at hand, sadly that doesn't matter anymore in America.

Re:I'd call it rigged too. (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 6 years ago | (#25160973)

Their very definition is that they use the same frequencies as TV stations. Provided that they produce a strong enough S/N at their receiver, they could be used on the exact same frequency as a nearby TV station.

The same frequencies as TV stations could theoretically use. I'm sorry, LA is not a representative sample of most of the United States. Very few television markets have more than 7 stations, including the PBS station. Channels 2 through 51 will be available for use for digital television, and for the first time ever, stations can be adjacent without bleedover, eliminating the need to keep an empty channel between stations. In typical markets, that leaves upwards of 40 channels totally unoccupied. Surely you can find room for 40 microphones that use only a fraction of a channel worth of spectrum, especially when GoogleMax wireless (good name) devices will already be operating before you ever show up to run your show, and will back off as soon as you start using spectrum.

But I have a better idea. Use digital wireless microphones. Another poster already mentioned that the existing wireless mics use 112 KHz of spectrum. If they're designed and manufactured as professional equipment should be, you should be able to pack digital wireless mic frequencies side by side without any mutual interference at all, using up only one of those DTV channels worth of spectrum for your 40 mics in the process. If Shure gets really clever, these digital mics would accept control signals from a base station that will let you remotely switch frequencies on the fly, any time you like, just in case interference develops.

All this is by way of saying, do you really expect us to believe that professional stage wireless microphones can't change? Do you expect us to believe they can't go digital too? And finally, do you expect us to believe that when going digital, they can't be designed the same way that WiFi is designed today, operating in 25 whole MHz worth of spectrum in mutually overlapping channels that don't knock each other out?

I say you're not looking at the situation correctly. This is a golden opportunity for you guys to say, Hey, Google is right. There's a lot of underutilized spectrum. We want to use it too, in a sanctioned way. Let's create two classes of device: professional and consumer. Consumer equipment has to back off any time another transmitter shows up on the frequency it wants to use. Professional equipment doesn't have to back off for anybody but the licensed spectrum user. That way professionals can move in and set up to use 40 MHz worth of spectrum, and the Googlemax devices have to back off while they're there, using some other portion of the spectrum. Googlemax devices self-configure, hopping around looking for quiet spectrum. Meanwhile professional devices just blast away on their configured band, and it's up to you professionals to configure them correctly. Something you already know how to do.

The transition period would be years, if approved. I have a feeling that your money people will be buying new microphones by then anyway. Show them these new hotshit digital professional mics that function off of a package the size of an iPod and I bet they won't complain too loudly, especially when the stars say they love working with the new ones. We've all seen enough live TV by now to know how big the current black boxes are. Those things are clunky dinosaurs in this day and age. I feel sure that a digital wireless mic can meet or beat any analog mic's voice reproduction capability when you're talking about professional equipment. They don't have to be $25 voice memo machines. They don't have to put up with consumer expectations. If they suck battery life like no tomorrow, who cares. Go to commercial and change out the battery. Bet they won't, though.

(Oh yeah. And tell Shure not to make the boxes black. They're really easy to see on television. :P Tell them you want tan or gray.)

Bah, I got confused by the title (2, Funny)

GlobalColding (1239712) | about 6 years ago | (#25159927)

When I saw the "white space" being rigged reference I was expecting some election cover-up story from some red state in the bible belt.

Re:Bah, I got confused by the title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25160055)

Racist.

Re:Bah, I got confused by the title (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | about 6 years ago | (#25160211)

Wow. Just wow.

But, hey, the election will probably be rigged... again...

Re:Bah, I got confused by the title (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 6 years ago | (#25160657)

I thought it was a story about the programming language [wikipedia.org] . Seriously. I think I have issues. Sometimes I think I'm too much of a nerd for this site. Is there another one that has news for super nerds who are into insane programming languages?

Here's my thought... (1, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 6 years ago | (#25160115)

Fuck the wireless mics. Get rid of them and put them in their own set of frequencies. This is much more important.

Re:Here's my thought... (1)

Trip Ericson (864747) | about 6 years ago | (#25161085)

Good! Find them some spectrum (be sure to buy it at auction at market rates) and then pay to replace the millions of dollars worth of existing equipment that's currently in use with your new equipment.

Somehow, I imagine it suddenly sounds much less like a good idea.

Re:Here's my thought... (1)

k2r (255754) | about 6 years ago | (#25161401)

>> Get rid of them [the wireless mics] and put them in their own set of frequencies.
> [...] replace the millions of dollars worth of
> existing equipment [...] sounds much less like a good idea.

and that's a different situation for the users than switching from analog to digital TV receivers because ...?

(Me watching DVB-T happily since 4+ years)

And The FCC's Reply... (2, Informative)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about 6 years ago | (#25160203)

FTFA (hiliting mine) "The FCC's wireless microphone field tests were carefully planned and thoroughly executed based on sound engineering science and real-world operating scenarios. These tests were open to the public, and those who choose to discount the results -- which have not yet been published -- had every option to be present and to witness them for themselves."

Ya gotta learn how to play the game, this is gov't after all guys and apparently you didnt lobby quite enough for this.

DTV Test Rigged Too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25160751)

The impression I got from looking at the tests that the FCC did to select 8VSB over COFDM and make the US different from the EU and JPN in digital TV standard was rigged too.

The new ATSC standard is dire in urban situations where multipath is a major issue. COFDM is miles better, but would have promoted a more decentralized infrastructure and lessened power of the legacy broadcast lobby, so we're stuck with shit.

Crybaby (3, Insightful)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25160939)

This is exactly how spooks and the like hide a microphone (bug).

The best way is to have it transmit within the exact same frequency or spectrum that another service uses.

If you use low enough power for your transmitter, you minimize collateral receivers being able to pick your signal up, while at the same time making it near impossible to track or find the bug.

Google's guy is just pissed he got one-upped. The FCC did this entirely within the realm of what would happen in the real world.

Sometimes it sucks to come out from behind the keyboard and discover real world stuff, huh?

--Toll_Free

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