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FCC Approves Unlicensed Use of White-Space Spectrum

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the knights-in-white-spaces dept.

Wireless Networking 138

sidesh0w was one of a number of readers to alert us to the FCC's unanimous decision approving unlicensed devices to use the white spaces of the spectrum unused by television broadcasters, provided they take certain precautions not to interfere with licensed users. "Denying a tremendous last-minute lobbying effort by broadcasters, the vote on white space devices went ahead as planned today after a several-hour delay at FCC headquarters. When the vote came, though, it was unanimous. For the Democrats on the Commission, the devices are appealing because they offer a potential new avenue for broadband services, while the Republicans are pleased for the same reasons, but love the fact that this is a deregulatory order that focuses on less regulation and more competition."

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138 comments

Great! More interference (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635657)

I can't wait to have my cordless phone screw up my TV signal! Wee!

Re:Great! More interference (5, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635713)

I can't wait to have my cordless phone screw up my TV signal! Wee!

Your new phone won't interfere with your TV, as your TV does not use this spectrum. Your new phone will only interfere with other devices currently using this band. It's no different than your 2.4GHz phone interfering with your WiFi today.

The reason this is such a "fun" decision is that a large number of wireless microphones (used by entertainers, churches, actors in theatres, musicians, etc.) have been illegally occupying this spectrum for many years. That's right, they've been squatting spectrum that they should not have been using, and when this announcement came out all these "performers" started whining that they'd have to buy something else.

I think this is the ideal punishment for those lawbreakers: too freakin' bad, you should have been purchasing and licensing COMPLIANT equipment all along, morons! Now you get to pay for it twice! It makes me happy.

Re:Great! More interference (3, Insightful)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635865)

Wow, that was an incredibly bitter and spiteful comment.

What happened that makes you wish harm on complete strangers that likely had no idea that their devices were problematic?

Re:Great! More interference (5, Interesting)

SaDan (81097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635997)

If you have ever had to deal with RF interference as a primary duty for your job, you'd feel even more hostile than the previous poster.

Re:Great! More interference (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636019)

Harm? I'm not wishing harm on them nearly as much as I'm cheering the equality that's being forced upon them. If they want interference-free equipment, they'll now have to license it just like everyone else.

I have ALWAYS paid for my FCC licenses because the law says I'm supposed to. They didn't, and never have.

I might have had one ounce of sympathy if they didn't rise up as a group crying when someone else wanted to share their sandbox. But no, they've been using something for free that was not lawfully theirs to use in the first place, and now the FCC has said "it's a public sandbox and everyone else gets to play there too."

Re:Great! More interference (2, Interesting)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638871)

>>>they've been using something for free that was not lawfully theirs to use in the first place

True for the wireless microphone users, but not true for the TV broadcasters. There are over 5000 local stations and/or repeaters spread over this continent, and they have all bought-and-paid-for exclusive use of 1 channel per station. I think those local owners have a right to be angry the FCC decided to make their expensive licenses essentially worthless.

I'm sure the owners of expensive antennas are none too pleased either, since they will be losing approximately half their channels (the long-distance ones from neighboring cities).

Re:Great! More interference (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638847)

>>>What happened that makes you wish harm on complete strangers that likely had no idea that their devices were problematic?

He's a member of the Entitlement Generation.
They hate everyone who dares tell them "no".
In this case, he hates those who say "no" to WSDs

Re:Great! More interference (3, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635887)

Has your life been negatively impacted by these "illegal" wireless microphones ? No ? Then STFU!

The whole concept of licensing airwaves is loopy to begin with. Who "owns" the airwaves ? Not the US Gov't nor the FCC. I respect the need for some regulation, mainly to ensure operability, but that's roughly where my concern ends.

Re:Great! More interference (4, Insightful)

Jahf (21968) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636051)

"Has your life been negatively impacted by these "illegal" wireless microphones ? No ? Then STFU!"

Actually yes, yes it has. Multiple times.

And opening this spectrum doesn't stop the existing non-broadcast users from utilizing it ... and for free ... it just allows everyone else to do the same thing. Oh, wait, now other devices are going to stomp on those frequencies? Well ... bone up ... because those microphones have been doing it others for awhile.

And you're sitting there going off about how no one "owns" the airwaves? That sounds like the position of someone in favor of deregulation. Guess what this judgement just did for those frequencies? That's right. Deregulated them.

Re:Great! More interference (1)

Stellian (673475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25637971)

And opening this spectrum doesn't stop the existing non-broadcast users from utilizing it ... and for free ... it just allows everyone else to do the same thing. Oh, wait, now other devices are going to stomp on those frequencies? Well ... bone up ... because those microphones have been doing it others for awhile.

Not quite. Wireless mics will continue to use the spectrum illegally, and they will continue to cause whatever interference they were causing.
Whitespace devices will do spectrum sensing, they will detect wireless mics (and TV stations, and everybody else) as non-whitespace devices, and will avoid that spectrum.
During the licensing effort for WS, a great deal of focus was put on the issue of not causing interference with existing devices, be they licensed or not, and wireless mics were often mentioned.
White-space devices assume all used spectrum is used legally, so they are far from being on equal footing with the mics.

Re:Great! More interference (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25639241)

I'm fairly sure if you file a complaint with the FCC, and you are a licence holder, they will attempt to located the interference, fine the persons, and confiscate the offending equipment. And I believe a small number of complaints by non-licenced consumers of these air waves are also able to file complaints and receive action from the FCC.

Part of the FCC's charter is to protect the airwaves. They understand if a spectrum becomes diluted, it is not serving the spectrum holders or the public at large.

I know many unlicensed operators have been shut down by HAMs filing interference complaints with the FCC. Why would any other spectrum be any different?

Re:Great! More interference (5, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636061)

Why yes, my life has indeed been negatively impacted. I've been paying the FCC for licenses to use a tiny portion of the spectrum. And I've been supporting more than my fair share because these scofflaws have not been paying at all.

Without the revenue from the licenses, we would have no regulatory body, and without rules we simply would not have any working RF devices at all. A few giant broadcasters would be pumping megawatts into a handful of megastations, and we'd probably be getting nothing but crappy AM radio leaking interference into every electronic device in existence. Nobody would be responsible for ensuring their signals are of high quality and don't leak. Tiny signals would be drowned out. Cell phones would be impossible, as would any of the GPRS / 3G / EDGE type networking solutions. The fact that the FCC has provided this badly needed regulation says to me that they're an effective body (despite Pacifica and the censorship issues.)

And the licenses pay for it all. My license and my dollars have paid for my small portion of it. Their money has not. It's time for them to pick up the slack since they're reaping the benefit.

Re:Great! More interference (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636097)

Just imagine what would happen if a ton of different, say, "devices" used the same range of frequency for day-to-day communication. It'd be a nightmare; they wouldn't be able to communicate at all.

Re:Great! More interference (4, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636111)

the radio spectrum is a limited public resource. it's something that is incredibly useful (and increasingly vital) but has to be shared by everyone. therefore, in order to prevent the tragedy of the commons [wikipedia.org], it has to be regulated.

and really, the best way to regulate it is through licensing. though how it is licensed could probably use some improvement. and if you are against licensing airwaves, then why are you complaining about the FCC's approval of the unlicensed use of the white-space spectrum?

the people who bitch about how this will affect their TV reception or wireless microphones are basically claiming this entire unlicensed block for themselves and are trying to prevent the development of wireless technologies that are much more broadly useful to the general public. why should they alone be allowed to benefit from this shared public resource? why should their private interests be placed above public interest?

wireless microphones and wireless broadband are not mutually exclusive. but that requires that people be considerate when developing their wireless technologies and implementing wireless applications in the white-space spectrum. i mean, when you use an unlicensed spectrum you should naturally expect to have other devices residing on the same frequencies. that's why it's an unlicensed spectrum.

Re:Great! More interference (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638027)

Here in Australia we have a UHF CB radio band (as well as the American 27meg AM). This band is unregulated, there are a few rules such as 5watts being the maximum allowed output but apart from that it is entirly self regulating.

Being in the UHF band means there are ALLOT of handhelds in operation, in the city allot of nightclubs use the CB band for their staff communications and most of the time their is no problem because most people are willing to share the band.

Thats what it ultimately comes down to, sure there will be ass holes on the spectrum but most users will be reasonable and willing to share.

Re:Great! More interference (1)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25640795)

Correct me if I am wrong, but with the advent of digital TV, the public broadcasters won't use all of the spectrum -- hence the term 'white space'.

This is no different than CB radio spectrum - that is largely unregulated (everyone can broadcast on it).

That being said, this white space will not impact your TV reception.

Finally, this largely is an issue for rural areas -- most urban areas are wired with cable TV or satellite TV anyway. As a result, the odds of a rural person's TV reception being impacted by a whitespace device are minimal due to: a) lack of proximity to other people, and b) the fact that whitespace is seperate from digital TV space.

Re:Great! More interference (2, Interesting)

SleepingWaterBear (1152169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636957)

Laws licensing airwaves are important. If they didn't exist, no one within 100' of me would ever be able to use a cell phone, because I would have a jammer.

This would make me happier since I wouldn't have to deal with people talking on cell phones in restaurants, or in theaters, and I wouldn't have to listen to obnoxious ringtones, but ultimately, I have to admit that preventing me from jamming cell phones is in society's best interest

Re:Great! More interference (4, Informative)

Meest (714734) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636363)

Do you do any research into this subject?

Musician's and production company's have not been ABLE to buy the correct licensing to run the microphones in the first place!

In order to get the permit you have to be a licensed broadcaster or broadcast media creator. Then you can get a permit.

So in a sense the musician's and company's that use these pieces of equipment aren't even able to get the correct licensing by law because of the law.

And as for buying something else. Please tell me where I may buy a Sennheiser EW300G2 IEM system that is in a correct frequency band?? Thats right, they don't make any!

So lets see if I have all your arguments here.

Q. They don't have the licensing
A. They can't get the licensing because of the FCC laws.

Q. Why don't they buy something else?
A. Because their is nothing else.

Please remember next year when your city wants to budget more money for replacing their wireless equipment that they have in any civic center/event center/broadcast center they have, to think back to your answers here.

My quest that I would like to ask is. What becomes of the people that actually were able to get licensing for their units? Is it now tough luck, thanks for playing?

Re:Great! More interference (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25637519)

And as for buying something else. Please tell me where I may buy a Sennheiser EW300G2 IEM system that is in a correct frequency band?? Thats right, they don't make any!

Well, now they have a reason to hurry up then.

Re:Great! More interference (4, Informative)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25639433)

The ones truly getting the shaft in all this are the TV broadcasters. It was always their band, so companies like Sennheiser made the gear for them to use in their own space. Nothing wrong with that. But everyone else went and bought that gear without the right to operate it, and now they feel entitled. And it's not currently made in other frequencies because Sennheiser built it only for their primary customers -- the already licensed users of the spectrum.

They've manufactured perfectly legal equipment for a licensed band, and a bunch of unlicensed users bought it and used it. That hardly makes it legal. So the non-legal users can start licensing some of the commercial UHF frequencies, just like everybody else who needs the exclusive use of RF for some business purpose. And it's going to cost them, and people are going to whine, and all because they suddenly have to pay their fair share. Don't worry if the gear's not there today, because if there's a dollar to be made selling it someone will start making it tomorrow.

Churches and cities can keep using their old, now-legal gear, and now it's official. But they're taking chances with shared spectrum just like anyone else. My city probably won't have the budget for replacement microphones and licensed spectrum, but that doesn't mean their current gear stops working: they just have to hope that some guy with a Fisher-Price baby monitor or a laptop won't start abusing it. But professional entertainers such as singers and NFL commentators will most likely step up and license a frequency because they can't afford to take the chance of some drunk interrupting a live performance with a baby monitor.

Re:Great! More interference (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25641607)

Please remember next year when your city wants to budget more money for replacing their wireless equipment that they have in any civic center/event center/broadcast center they have, to think back to your answers here.

Actually, you missed part of this issue. The problem was the mobile licenses were limited to the media. Fixed licenses have been available for event centers and such.

Re:Great! More interference (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636695)

The problem has always been finding affordable equipment that worked well. Sure, you can get up to the really high ranges for short range links, but that really requires an investment.

Some good stuff has come out on the unlicensed bands relatively recently. Still, too many devices feature a 12 frame or greater sync loss with audio. Which is flipping loony tunes!

Hopefully, the new equipment using these frequencies will be semi-affordable. (With time anyway)

Wait. (2, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635669)

Did somebody just describe God's Own Crony Capitalists(tm) as loving competition?

Re:Wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635707)

yes. Republicans are all for small gov't, less regulation. this extends to markets. of course, this also means that if capitalism works, monopolies form, and competition ends.

Re:Wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635883)

Have you been living under a rock for the last two decades?

Re:Wait. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25636171)

yes. A rock serviced by one single broadband provider, one power company, one water company, and no other choices.

Now you have a chance to tell me that running water is a luxury. Go on, i'm waiting...

Re:Wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25637383)

That is because of Democrats, MORON!

Re:Wait. (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638643)

Well if THIS republican was in power (me), you wouldn't have just one service. There's enough room in underground pipes to run cables from Time-Warner, Comcast, Cox, Verizon, and allow each customer to choose their own company. This competition would ultimately drive-down prices due to positive pressure from angry homeowners. The Dish Company currently provides cable channels for as low as $20 a month. I suspect cable competition would lead to a similar pricing scheme, and which would benefit all citizens by helping them save money.

As for power, water, and so forth, I don't know how I would fix that. There's not enough room to run multiple water lines, so we'd probably have to stick with the current model (private companies but price-fixed by government).

>>>"Initially ALL devices must access a database of prohibited channels, based on location....and undergo certification."

This is VERY BAD NEWS, because the database will determine my WSD-equipped neighbor is in the Lancaster-Harrisburg DMA, and decide that channels from nearby DMAs like Baltimore and Philadelphia are not being used. Then it will start broadcasting directly over top the Baltimore/Philly channels.

This is the same way Dish and Directv markets are setup. Your "locals" are only those stations inside your DMA. Other stations from nearby cities don't exist as far as they are concerned, and the Whitespace devices will likely operate on the same principle of ignoring nearby cities.

I may as well sell my antenna now and jump onto cable, since I will soon have WSDs trampling all over my long-distance channels 2, 3, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 29, 35, 45, 57, and 65..... thereby making the antenna worthless for over-the-air reception from Baltimore or Philly.

Re:Wait. (1)

knails (915340) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642507)

The reason you have only one broadband provider, one power company, et c. is because of the regulation in those industries. Deregulation is always a good thing for competition - it allows for startups to change the rules and provide choice to consumers.

Re:Wait. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636303)

Ummm... Actually if everything was deregulated, monopolies would not form and we would have thriving capitalism. Unfortunately the Republicans won't abolish the hindrances such as patents, absurd copyright, etc. which leads to monopolies.

Re:Wait. (1)

ClassMyAss (976281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25637561)

Ummm... Actually if everything was deregulated, monopolies would not form and we would have thriving capitalism.

Yes. Please do explain to us the market forces that lead to a reigning monopoly that has already extended its reach across several industries ceding power to the up and coming soon-to-be competitors that it could otherwise crush without any trouble at all by using the tried and true anti-competitive tactics that we've all become far too familiar with. And explain why it would be in the best interest of the monopoly to do such a thing.

The problem is that deregulation is not enough to prevent monopolies; economies of scale, business arrangements with material suppliers, and other barriers to entry make it so that an unregulated monopoly can very easily hold on to power without having to worry about competition, simply because it can threaten to pull business from anyone that would otherwise help out the competitors. This has happened before (see the Microsoft + OEM crapfest, which was as monopolistic and anti-competitive as things get, and a textbook case of free market failure - literally the only way to prevent such a situation is to make the business tactic illegal), so don't try and pretend that this is merely a theoretical problem.

Re:Wait. (2)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#25637633)

Here's your clue for the night: "everything deregulated" would mean no copyrights. Copyrights are a form of regulation. So how does Microsoft maintain their monopoly?

'Everything' is an expensive term to use, needless to say.

Re:Wait. (1)

thannine (576719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638809)

Here's your clue for the night: "everything deregulated" would mean no copyrights. Copyrights are a form of regulation. So how does Microsoft maintain their monopoly?

'Everything' is an expensive term to use, needless to say.

By buying out it's competitors, forcing all the other players on the field to only do business with them. Forcing TV stations not to run ads for their competitors etc... They have the means. They have the money. It's the regulation that's keeping them from doing that (mostly).

Re:Wait. (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642455)

"everything deregulated" would mean no copyrights. Copyrights are a form of regulation. So how does Microsoft maintain their monopoly? 'Everything' is an expensive term to use, needless to say.

That only works with software though. The GP used MS as an example, but his point was wider than that.

Removing copyrights wouldn't stop one firm from consolidating all the gas stations in the US into one giant chain, for example.

(I could have sworn I posted this earlier. Must have forgot to hit "submit")

Re:Wait. (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638055)

I don't think I'll ever understand the thinking behind that notion.

The way I see it, the most perfect free market that ever has or ever can exist is that embodied in the First Law of Thermodynamics. Nothing happens in the physical universe that doesn't involve an exchange of energy. There is no regulation. There are no free lunches. Everyone pays the going rate. And yet, the physical universe brings forth singularities.

And if, in the one system we know that is fundamentally beyond regulation, a single body can grow so powerful as to swallow up all within its sphere of influence, why do we suppose this to be impossible in economic systems? It seems like pure magical thinking to me.

Re:Wait. (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638763)

>>>And yet, the physical universe brings forth singularities.

Yes but even they (black holes) eventually succumb to Thermodynamics and die-out. They gradually lose their energy and dissipate, and the universe becomes a vast nothing with no objects left except random electrons scattered throughout, and a universal average temperature of about -272 Celsius (heat death).

   

Re:Wait. (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 5 years ago | (#25642665)

Yes but even they (black holes) eventually succumb to Thermodynamics and die-out

True enough. And similarly, I suppose, once formed, a monopoly must eventually fail and fall apart by itself. The trouble is that it's still not a good idea to allow them to form. They do tremendous damage to the economy while they exist, and we don't have any real grounds for speculating about how long it would take them to break up. We don't know what the economic equivalent of Hawking radiation is. And we really don't want to have to wait for the heat death of the universe in order to find out.

Re:Wait. (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638851)

You do realize that Adam Smith, the founder of capitalist theory says you're wrong, right? Complete deregulation always leads to a one provider monopoly over absolutely all goods and services. There isn't any other possibility, eventually one business gains enough resources to start merging and ultimately wins out over all the other companies.

There's a reason why regulations exist and it is precisely to prevent that sort of scenario from playing out. The Republican party chooses to be ignorant of capitalism so that they can justify wealth redistribution up the income ladder.

Re:Wait. (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638929)

>>>one business gains enough resources to start merging and ultimately wins out over all the other companies.

And then several new guys arrive on the scene, and they undercut the monopoly with lower prices, thereby restoring competition. One obvious example is the downloadable MP3, which killed the 1990s-eras monopoly on music (CDs and cassettes) that Sony and Philips once held.

I'm sure there are many, many other examples out there where a monopoly's back was broken by new innovative or cost-cutting competitors.

Re:Wait. (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643491)

And then several new guys arrive on the scene, and they undercut the monopoly with lower prices, thereby restoring competition.

"Economies of scale" says otherwise. The larger the company, the lower their costs per-item, and in most cases that is a HUGE price difference.

I'm sure there are many, many other examples out there where a monopoly's back was broken by new innovative or cost-cutting competitors.

A few, but there are many, many more where a monopoly used its money and influence to embrace said new technologies, while keeping prices rather high.

Note that all the electric-car startups are having next to zero effect on the market, while Toyota, Ford, GM, etc. are slowly jumping onto that bandwagon. You can't out-compete a heavily entrenched competitor.

Please don't confuse ... (4, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636213)

Did somebody just describe God's Own Crony Capitalists(tm) as loving competition?

Please don't confuse the Neocon faction currently in control of the Republican party electoral machinery (and most of the (R) seats in the congress) with conservatives. B-)

Republicans in appointed and bureaucratic positions are more likely to be from the other factions - some of which give more than lip service to economic freedom (which emphatically includes competition and excludes government action selectively helping favorites).

Re:Please don't confuse ... (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25637163)

I don't. Unfortunately, judging from the fact that the Neocon faction is currently in control of the electoral machinery and most of the party's seats, a bloody lot of alleged conservatives apparently do.

Re:Please don't confuse ... (4, Funny)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25637489)

An interesting idea I saw posted a couple days ago regarding the Neocons machine and this election:

I keep getting a mental image of McCain on election night, looking broken, then walking off stage, shutting himself alone in a room, and out comes an enormous creepy grin. He immediately picks up a phone, dials a number, and says, "Hello, Karl? Yeah, how do you like your permanent majority now? Payback's a biatch, fat boy," then hangs up.

I just cannot believe you people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25636789)

in Pennsylvania voted to keep that fat, slandering, cowardly sack of shit Jack Murtha as your Senator. What the hell is wrong with you people? You really must be a bunch of dumb-ass rednecks. Too dumb to realize that your own Senator insulted you to your faces.

And Al Franken in Minnesota? Yeah, a real class act. I'm sure he'll represent you well.

What about the Ghosts? (5, Funny)

Mysteerie (972719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635671)

You know the ghost that uses the white space to communicate on the tv and recorders? Won't they get pissed now that thier channels are getting clogged? Sigh... don't mind me... stupid stupid corny joke... lala

Re:What about the Ghosts? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635741)

White noise. Static. Not white space. So the joke is both stupid and wrong.

Not like I believe in it or anything, but I do believe in arguing semantics.

Re:What about the Ghosts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635913)

Well, that's a relief. I was worried about my white noise cd [wikipedia.org] for a minute there...

Yeah, expect a lot more of that sort of trouble. (2, Funny)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636235)

You know the ghost that uses the white space to communicate on the tv and recorders? Won't they get pissed now that thier channels are getting clogged?

Sure.

Remember what they already did to that little kid [tvsquad.com] in _Poltergeist_? We can expect a LOT more of that.

Re:What about the Ghosts? (0, Offtopic)

hellwig (1325869) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636311)

Oh man, I accidently modded this Offtopic, what the hell, why isn't there a confirmation or something. Thankfully my actions aren't overpowering to this system.

Anyway, I never saw that White Noise movie with Michael Keaton, but if licensing the White Spaces would have prevented it, then I'm all for it.

Oh, I can undo the moderation by posting this very comment. Awesome.

Who THe FUCK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635733)

Do they think they are allowing white space broadcasts into my grey matter. Hopefully our new black president can save me from cancer.

Now hold on a minute! (5, Funny)

Radical Moderate (563286) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635873)

Republicans AND Democrats are happy about this? We are so screwed.

Re:Now hold on a minute! (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636799)

But the broadcasters are unhappy...

I seriously don't know what to think now.

Commie broadcasters! Serves them right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25637495)

Neo-logic in action:

1. Republicans and Democrats are happy.
2. Broadcasters are unhappy.

Ergo,

Broadcasters are anti-American communists!

(Texas addendum: They're probably Muslim or Jewish, too!)

Transmitter Power (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635901)

Does this mean that whoever has the most powerful transmitter in an area will be able to drown out all other broadcasts on a given frequency?

Re:Transmitter Power (2, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636187)

i'm assuming that wireless protocols used in the white-space spectrum (i think WiMax has an unlicensed spectrum profile, though i don't know what frequency range it's in) will account for potential interference and frequency conflicts from other devices. most-likely these protocols will be designed to detect whether a particular band or frequency is occupied by another device and try to find one that isn't. they'll probably also be designed to jump to a different band/frequency if a new source of interference is detected on the current band/frequency.

now, whether other devices/applications will play nice is yet to be seen. i don't know if the frequencies used in wireless microphones are configurable, but they probably aren't sophisticated enough for this kind of band negotiation. the other main source of interference would be TV transmissions, and they are generally fixed (and much more powerful), so any wireless broadband devices would have to work around them.

Re:Transmitter Power (1)

Stellian (673475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638143)

i'm assuming that wireless protocols used in the white-space spectrum (i think WiMax has an unlicensed spectrum profile, though i don't know what frequency range it's in) will account for potential interference and frequency conflicts from other devices.

I would extend the question further: what happens in a competitive environment where:
- providers compete among each other to serve as much customers as possible over whitespace ?
- customers compete among each other to maximize their own download speed ?

I realize the devices are themselves approved by FCC, but what happens when you can improve the quality of service by hacking the firmware ? How many people will refuse to install the "double your bandwidth" hacked firmware, that just so happens to disable any spectrum sensing and pump out bits at the hight power level available, and also disables FCC's ability to patch remotely ?

If two providers are operating in an area, and they have similar base stations, but have a different number of customers, how will the free spectrum be divided to avoid a destructive arms-race:
- each base station receives a fair share, so the ISP with fewer customers offers better service; In this case would setting up more base-stations offer a competitive edge, although they are not technically required ?
- each customer receives a fair share ? What's a "customer" ? Bridging more devices will increase my bandwidth ?

How can different service levels be enforced, assuming the only limitation is the available spectrum, not the fiber-optic backbone ?

Per Shannon's law, the bandwidth is proportional with available spectrum and power level, and decreases with distance (noise).
What about remote users, who necessarily require more power/spectrum for the same bandwidth ? Is it worth to sacrifice 5Mbps from a near user, to give 50Kbps to a distant user ? More importantly, who makes that trade-off when the two customers are served by different ISPs ?

Re:Transmitter Power (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638803)

>>How many people will refuse to install the "double your bandwidth" hacked firmware, that just so happens to disable any spectrum sensing and pump out bits at the highest power level available, and also disables FCC's ability to patch remotely ?
>>>

Thanks. You just ruined my day. If the firmware can be hacked in your whitespace-equipped Ipod, you could also disable the TV-protective database, and broadcast your Ipod signals directly overtop of existing channels (like WGAL in my area).

Ghosts in the Machine (-1, Offtopic)

not_hylas( ) (703994) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635983)

Ghosts in the Machines

This is not a terribly good thing at this time, they're not prepared.
For those of you that have an understanding:

Below Links: [tagmeme.com]
She's forgotten to pay her SSL certificate fees - click through, it's more than likely 99.999% cool.
See:

http://laughingsquid.net/faq/ssl/ [laughingsquid.net]

Site:

https://tagmeme.com/exmachina/ [tagmeme.com]

Guide to the source archive contents:

https://tagmeme.com/exmachina/a/000177.html [tagmeme.com]

Orinoco-like:

https://tagmeme.com/subhack/a/pcmcia07-051227.txt [tagmeme.com]

It's taken 10 years to find someone else that will talk about their experiences with this hack. It has been named "Subversionhack" or just plain "Subversion".

If you've ever been hit by this you'll soon see that it affects computers with no wireless cards, allowing for Ultra high frequency (UHF, VHF, etc.) receptions (see FCC warning label on your computer) using a techniques of code replacement, i.e. chip crowding or just a plain re-flash of non-flash-able chips. It can also be achieved through kernel kits written in assembly.

This has been so under the radar (no pun intended) for so long people will call you names for just considering it.

Find out for yourself.

Packet Radio:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Packet_radio [wikipedia.org]

Ultra-Wideband:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra_wideband [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra_high_frequency#United_States_2 [wikipedia.org]

Why do you think the Air Force wants to go with custom networking protocols?

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/11/air-force-aims.html [wired.com]

Because they can't beat it.

http://www.securityfocus.com/comments/articles/11372/33500#33500 [securityfocus.com]

http://www.securityfocus.com/comments/articles/11372/33017#33017 [securityfocus.com]

http://www.securityfocus.com/comments/articles/11372/34206/threaded#34206 [securityfocus.com]

http://www.securityfocus.com/comments/articles/11372/34207/threaded#34207 [securityfocus.com]

Let the lawsuits begin.... (4, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636047)

Pretty much no doubt the NAB is going to sue over this, right?

Re:Let the lawsuits begin.... (5, Funny)

Starayo (989319) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636277)

I asked a NAB employee about that, and he said, I quote:

"The National Australia Bank has no comment on this issue."

The plot thickens.

Re:Let the lawsuits begin.... (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#25637653)

All the NAB has to do is distribute some sensitive equipment, with training manuals, to a number of people around the country. They train how to detect infringing devices. They follow the steps in the manual to report the infringing devices. A crack legal team at the NAB receives notifications from said people.

I imagine it wouldn't be hard for a lot of cease and desist orders to be issued at a fairly low cost per order, if a well-organized campaign was organized. Said group of trained people proceed to run whitespace device vendors out of market with a 'chipping away' strategy of driving the whitespace device customers into returning the infringing devices to stores where they were purchased.

Remember, these devices can only be used if they are non-infringing on other, licensed uses. A small army of well-trained advocates of watching TV for free would be easy to pull together.

now that we have a black president (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25636207)

does that mean the politics section will suddenly disappear so any criticism of him will be modded to hell as off-topic?

Re:now that we have a black president (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636463)

Oh, most certainly. I simply can't imagine a more rabidly politically correct bunch than Slashdotters.

/sarcasm

Good news just keep coming in (0, Offtopic)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636333)

the good decisions fcc took in the last few months, obama leading 200 to 100 in eastern states, (even getting florida), and now this.

unspeakable joy.

Re:Good news just keep coming in (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25636383)

are you going to apologize to all of us when it turns out that obama's campaign promises are lies?

Re:Good news just keep coming in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25637129)

God I hope they are. It's the only thing that'll save us.

Re:Good news just keep coming in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25638783)

obama leading 200 to 100 in eastern states

What does this have to do with white space?

A tremendous opportunity (3, Insightful)

davide marney (231845) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636381)

This is undoubtedly the right technical move. There is a huge amount of underused bandwidth in this part of the spectrum. As long as there is a reliable way to avoid the licensed operators, it would be stupid not to optimize our usage. Not optimizing our bandwidth is one of the reasons why we're slipping in broadband adoption compared to the rest of the world.

Re:A tremendous opportunity (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638833)

>>>There is a huge amount of underused bandwidth in this part of the spectrum.

???

Here in the crowded Northeast region, I have four empty channels. 2,3,4, and 25, and only the UHF-band 25 can be used by these compact whitespace devices. So that's ONE empty channel. I don't call that a "huge amount" in any way, shape, or form.

Re:A tremendous opportunity (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638931)

Somewhere in the midwest, I have four channels (well, I can aim the antenna and pick up a fifth, snowy channel, but that is a decent reason not to count it in a digital context).

An Admin at a Wireless ISP (1)

lineman60 (806614) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636659)

I Both happy that this has happened from an technology Point view but, concerned at how this is going to effect the small WISP providers.

adding to the Part 15 cesspool (1)

dbc (135354) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636747)

Part 15 devices already create a spectral cesspool. Between devices that are shoddily made, not made to their certifications (ie: the manufacturer certified a 'lab queen' and what they actually build doesn't meet spec), and end users adding illegal power amps and illegal antennas, Part 15 devices are already a huge headache to the licensed users with whom they share spectrum. The SNR on digital TV is already marginal enough. This could very well go badly for all concerned. Part 15 devices need to be segregated into totally unlicensed spectrum so that they don't cause interference to licensed users. Let them lie in their own dung.

Re:adding to the Part 15 cesspool (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#25637689)

I see a growth industry:

Development and deployment of infringing devices that totally pollute the spectra, rendering all the other whitespace devices unusable. It's a 'lets all get along' area of the spectrum. None of the unlicensed devices have to not infringing on other unlicensed devices, do they? Your neighbor is jamming your over-the-air TV reception? Buy a "Widget N" from an NAB-sponsored website. It uses two AA batteries and makes your neighbors whitespace device totally unusable. All for a low price of $3. Widget N is a simple very inexpensive small black box with no controls except one button. It performs the amusing function of making a 'remote module' on your roof blink a pretty light pattern. It's a wireless holiday decoration. That's allowed, isn't it? As long as it only infringes on other whitespace devices it's okay, right?

Visible Light (3, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636877)

Out of curiosity, has there ever been an attempt to license in the visible portion of the spectrum?

Re:Visible Light (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#25639531)

Out of curiosity, has there ever been an attempt to license in the visible portion of the spectrum?

FCC regulation stops at 300 GHz. Ask your nearest (well informed) ham radio operator.

It is a free for all above 300 GHz.

Water adsorption is so high from 100 GHz up to light that it doesn't matter.

Re:Visible Light (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643315)

Water adsorption is so high from 100 GHz up to light that it doesn't matter.

Water absorbs light? Odd that.

I'm sure the reason for the lack of regulation is simply because such frequencies are so extremely directional that there's next to no possibility of even neighboring transceivers causing interference.

Yea! Less regulation!! That can only be good.. (2, Funny)

mnemotronic (586021) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636937)

Just like it was for the real estate, mortgage, and banking industry! Less pesky, intrusive government oversight. I expect big things.

Re:Yea! Less regulation!! That can only be good.. (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25639161)

Just like it was for the real estate, mortgage, and banking industry! Less pesky, intrusive government oversight. I expect big things.

The problem with the finance industry wasn't lack of government oversight, it was ineffective government oversight.

In an unregulated environment, investors would have been more cautious and would have done more due diligence on the nature of the mortgages their securities backed. In a well-regulated environment, regulators would have done the due diligence and made sure that the risks were appropriately communicated to investors. Investors believed regulators had their back, but were wrong, and that screwed us.

Of course, the government proceeded to finish the job by showing the financial industry that as long as you screw up really BIG, the taxpayers will bail you out.

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