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Internet Hardware For White-Space Spectrum?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the where-are-the-software-configurable-radios? dept.

Communications 36

g2 in the desert writes "I live in a small rural community in the US Southwest, where broadband service varies from decent but very expensive, to lousy but less expensive. Now that the Federal Communications Commission has approved the use of the soon to be vacated White-Space Spectrum, I'm interested in helping the community build its own local Internet service, providing villagers another choice. Does anyone know what companies will be manufacturing hardware that will be required to utilize this spectrum, and what steps need to be taken in order to be in compliance with any FCC rules and regulations?"

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first post (-1, Troll)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762601)

fp bitches

Watch out for the Big ISPs (3, Informative)

NotNormallyNormal (1311339) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762669)

Seems the big ISPs don't really want your kind in the broadband business [slashdot.org] . Watch what happens when good ideas meet greed - i.e. Greenlight [greenlightnc.com] providing competition [dailytech.com] to the greedy last mile ISPs.

All I have to say is - good luck!

Mod Parent Down (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27762773)

Seems the big ISPs don't really want your kind in the broadband business [slashdot.org] . Watch what happens when good ideas meet greed - i.e. Greenlight [greenlightnc.com] providing competition [dailytech.com] to the greedy last mile ISPs.

All I have to say is - good luck!

Interesting? How did that help the person or answer any questions at all? What an extremely shitty defeatist attitude.

Re:Parent is worthwhile (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27762903)

Anyone considering developing their own community-driven ISP should be aware of the ongoing struggles these kinds of enterprises are facing, and the ends to which big media will go to stop them from cutting into their profits (such as push-polling).

Mod root up, the internet is serious business.

Re:Parent is worthwhile (1)

Ozlanthos (1172125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765489)

I don't understand how. As it is many companies are complaining that they "can"t make money on the internet" and others are complaining about how they are "losing money on internet ventures".

-Oz

Re:Mod Parent Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763273)

Interesting? How did that help the person or answer any questions at all? What an extremely shitty defeatist attitude.

How did yours help? How much of a malcontent are you to work for TWC^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h post a down-mod like that?

Re:Mod Parent Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763401)

Interesting? How did that help the person or answer any questions at all? What an extremely shitty defeatist attitude.

Well he's just being realistic. While the goal is laudable, once the lawyers get involved they'll quickly grind you down and kill off any enthusiasm you have for the project, and then shit you out the other end. Your faith in your fellow human beings destroyed. To quote Homer Simpson:

"Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try."

Re:Mod Parent Down (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763589)

Well, this seems to differ at least slightly from Greenlight in that Greenlight was a government effort, and this seems to be a coop type effort.

Re:Mod Parent Down (1)

NotNormallyNormal (1311339) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763649)

It may seem defeatist to you, A.C., but it is important to understand the marketplace when starting a new business. While I applaud his efforts and back him 100% in trying to provide something useful to the locals, you have to understand how your business is going to function in its environment. Good ideas, while the basis of entrepreneurship, aren't all that's required. Many businesses have been sunk over the years by bigger or monetarily stronger companies who do they same job (more or less) but in a shoddy way or charge the customers prices that are outrageous because no one is doing it better. When someone tries to do it better, they bring in the high-priced suits to slow down or stop the competition and the little guy generally gets squeezed out. It's unfortunate but that's business.

Re:Watch out for the Big ISPs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27762807)

NotNormallyNormal. OK, and what? Normally an asshole?

Negotiations for the new Millenium. (2, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762691)

"... Does anyone know what companies will be manufacturing hardware that will be required to utilize this spectrum, and what steps need to be taken in order to be in compliance with any FCC rules and regulations?"

Yeah, I know what you need. Palm Grease. Industrial-grade Palm Grease. You can order it directly from AIG in 55-gallon drums.

I hear the OEM is General Motors, so you might get a discount going directly to the manufacturer.

Seems to work damn well as bailout lubricant too. Just FYI, in case your idea starts to go south...

K-Y Palm Grease (2, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762733)

Yeah, I know what you need. Palm Grease. Industrial-grade Palm Grease. You can order it directly from AIG in 55-gallon drums.

I hear the OEM is General Motors

I thought the manufacturer of palm grease was Johnson & Johnson [wikipedia.org] .

Re:K-Y Palm Grease (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766693)

That's correct. Your mom told me you use so much of it that I invested in J&J.

WISPA (5, Informative)

Flimzy (657419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762715)

I'm sure the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA -- http://www.wispa.org/ [wispa.org] ) will be an invaluable resource for you. If they don't have the answers you seek already, they probably will as soon as they become available.

Proprietary All the way (0)

kaptk2 (1425549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762785)

Only the companies with large amounts of cash could afford to buy spectrum in the white spaces. I predict that we are just going to see more of the same (poor service, expensive). Where I live the company that bought the white space did so so that another company could not come in and compete with it cable broadband offering.

Re:Proprietary All the way (2, Informative)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27762837)

I don't understand your response. The to be vacated white space is free - by edict.

Re:Proprietary All the way (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27763485)

Sorry since the article you refered to is a broken link I though you were talking about the 700Mhz spectrum that was auctioned off.

The 300-400Mhz spectrum has only one major player right now and that is Motorola. The device that they are proposing uses the TDD FSK Modulation with a GPS sync much like their canopy line. However I am hoping that they will choose to follow a standard (unlike canopy line) so that others will be able to interoperate.

The Motorola device uses an FCC database to help it to find open channels. I do not know how well they can make that scale.

Re:Proprietary All the way (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27762849)

parent is talking nonsense.

the white spaces are free for unlicensed use just like the 2.4 GHz spectrum currently used for wifi routers. no one can buy the white spaces.

Answer Cloudy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27762897)

Ask Again Later

Airspan WiMAX (2, Insightful)

beirutbob (1002743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763027)

Airspan makes a WiMAX unit that operates in the 700mhz band (google airspan 700mhz). I have not used it, but it is available. I think the bigger problem is actually getting the license, unless you can lease it from an existing license holder. From what I understand, the license is very expensive and has a lot of strings attached (ie coverage requirements).

Does anyone here have any first hand knowledge of the 700mhz license?

Re:Airspan WiMAX (3, Informative)

KeithIrwin (243301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763263)

The poster was asking about the "white-space" which is the space between television channels. The FCC has recently approved its use without a license. This is not the same thing as the 700Mhz band.

Your confusion is probably because the original poster described the space as "soon to be vacated" which is not an accurate way to describe the white-space. 700Mhz will be vacated soon, but must be licensed. White-space is already vacant and won't need to be licensed.

Here's one... (1)

wrfelts (950027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763251)

I found this [wispa.org] . It's a product release announcement.

Ubiquity (2, Informative)

sxpert (139117) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763447)

Ubiquity makes hardware that you may find useful

see http://www.ubnt.com/ [ubnt.com]

Re:Ubiquity (1)

charlesnw (843045) | more than 5 years ago | (#27764733)

Your right. They make excellent gear. I have a nanostation2. The general consensus is that UBNT will be the first to provide TVWS gear. I definitely plan to get some when it becomes available.

Too soon (1)

Daa (9883) | more than 5 years ago | (#27763701)

At this point no one is making 400-700 Mhz hardware, and the required database for the fixed stations is not designed, much less in operation. Google and others have a working group that is working on a design spec for the database but they are not done and the FCC has not indicated if they will use the spec that Google etal come up with. Once a spec is approved then the database system has to be created and deployed before the first stations can be sold. I expect it will be 6 mo. to a year till the pieces are all in place to start the testing and manufacturing of white space networking hardware

Standard isn't finalized (1)

NewmanKU (948325) | more than 5 years ago | (#27764139)

What will most likely go into that space are 802.22 WRAN devices, so look for manufacturers that are claiming to be working in this area. The problem is that the 802.22 isn't finalized, so as the previous poster states, its a little soon to know who the players are. However, a good guess would be the members of the white space coalition: Adaptrum, I2R, Microsoft, Motorola, and Phillips.

Alternative air interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27764347)

Packet-switched carrier-grade pigeons!

Your Business Plan? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27764603)

I'm interested in helping the community build its own local Internet service, providing villagers another choice.

It sounds as if you have at least two established, viable, commercial competitors in a very small market.

If they are DSL or cable, then they are almost certainly offering bundled services that you are not going to be able to provide.

I think you need to sit back, relax, wait and see how small-scale projects in the 700 MHz band fare elsewhere.

Nomadio is the big one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27764871)

They've been manufacturing these for the military for a couple years already. They can run 802.11j (5MHz wide 802.11g) on basically whatever frequency they want. I hear that they're gearing up for some big high profile demos with their commercial customers. www.nomadio.net

What spectrum is that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27765199)

There is no recently-vacated white-space spectrum. White-space systems think they can detect (or use an FCC databse to determine) what channels (TV band primarily) are unused in a given area and broadcast there. The recently-vacated spectrum was 700mhz TV band.

          Last I heard, every single device that was "supposed" to autodetect free channels and pick one that is unused has failed to do so, and there's NO whitespace hardawre on the market. Good thing too -- I don't want some neighbors "wallmart special" whitespace LAN to drown out my TV.

Bandwidth costs and the backhaul (3, Informative)

willzzz (701172) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765353)

I'll let others comment on the hardware and business plans but the problem with rural inherently is that cost of delivering bandwidth from a major city/internet POP to your rural location ala backhaul. Bandwidth is EXPENSIVE when purchased in a rural location unless you have the big $$$ to operate your own fiber backhaul or a wavelength of existing fiber from the POP to your location. It really depends on how rural the location is. You really need to consider the costs and oversell ratio if you're going to do this. Try asking here btw: http://www.dslreports.com/forum/wisp [dslreports.com] In rural areas the ILEC setup is usually the minimum unless the CO has been setup for DSL/higher bandwidth services meaning it's usually only TDM based. The ILEC has to share the resources with the federally required voice service. And if they haven't deployed broadband out of the CO already then it's not profitable for them. This eventually most likely with the ILEC telling you a very high bandwidth costs and even higher if there's fiber/equipment buildout costs needed. If you're in a rural but not-so-rural location and can do wireless backhaul for the bandwidth (microwave) then you can lessen your costs that way. This is all based on what I read online. Good luck btw.

Funding (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27767657)

If you plan on a municipality/federal government doing some kind of funding, which is available currently via the RUS grants through the FDA's website, you might well take 2-3 years to get it rolling. If you have funding from other sources, go for it! I actually started a WISP in the "Southwest" (Arizona) back in 2001 and it did well, but bandwidth costs were prohibitive. I sold out to a local Cell phone company and they still use the infrastructure we built out, but they could better afford the bandwidth.

Wait & hope. Maybe 3650 wimax? (1)

valenti (58141) | more than 5 years ago | (#27770371)

Knowledgeable people in the wireless ISP industry say whitespaces gear won't be available for at least another year. If it works out as expected, you would just buy it and use it, similar to today's wifi gear. It would require an Internet connection, to lookup the available channels database (daily) in your location.

As an alternative available today, you might consider the WISP 3650Mhz spectrum. The license for that costs $210. A brand I have looked at is Tranzeo, they sell Wimax gear in that frequency. (about $2000 for the AP, $250 for client radios). There are some exclusion zones that you aren't allowed to use 3650 within, so do a little research first.

And there is, of course, the usual wifi based gear. For example, see StarOS/Lucaya (my choice), or Mikrotik. And Motorola Canopy seems to work well at 900MHz.

Congratulations on being in the desert! You have a big advantage there with the lack of trees.

My advice: step back from the community wireless (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 5 years ago | (#27770827)

Or maybe you can get a really good deal on all the dead solar powered poles on every other street corner in about a 1/3 of my suburb of Saint Louis Park, MN. It's an officially dead project. Something in the applied math. They never were able to get decent and reliable throughput in the quadrant that went live tests.

Wireless Equipment (1)

Gallomimia (1415613) | more than 5 years ago | (#27774905)

I have seen several projects operate in similar situations using wireless technology in rural environments. I have no idea what spectrum the wirless operated on, however it need not matter. I don't expect this information to be of too much help, but here it is.

First, I must emphasize the point made by many previous posters that you need to do your homework. Examine the costs involved in starting such a company. Examine the competition closely, and compare it to your potential to make profits and essentially steal their customers. How will you do this? Will you offer superior service? Lower prices? Will your customer support be more personal? Will your uptime be better? The list is endless

There are two aspects of being a consumer level ISP, aside from the other aspects of any business such as management and customer service. First, you must bring service from a higher tier ISP into your place of business.

Sometimes there is also a network exchange which ties into other local networks in order to prevent data from leaving the municipality only to return on a different link, but that's really for urban environments.

It doesn't matter to most customers where you get this service, as long as it's reliable, fast enough to serve all your customers, and gives reasonable ping times to the rest of the internet.

There are many ways of doing this which are not outlined in above posts. The two methods I read by other posters were the same method really. Own your own fibre link or lease space off another's. This will be suicide for your business model I think. The former is prohibitively expensive, and the latter is to put your business and your customers at the mercy of the very companies you wish to compete against. They may subject you to traffic-shaping, false unreliability (they switch you off and call it equipment problems), or the ever fearsome CENSORSHIP.

An alternative would be satellite link up. I can't recommend this but do your research. I understand it's ridiculously expensive and is normally sold to end users rather than ISPs. I also hear that it's slow, gives retarded ping times, and is very unreliable.

When I was growing up and the days of dialup were upon us, the ISP of the town had a microwave link. The equivalent of a T1 was sold to them over microwave relays atop the mountains. It ran from Seattle WA to Mackenzie BC, some 800 miles or so. The ping was great, and the link speed was 1.5Mbps bidirectional.

The second aspect of running an ISP is to get your service from your place of business to your customers. In the example I wrote about above the ISP in my hometown began offering a wireless service which was rather expensive but became the town's only broadband service at the time. The primary customer to this was the schools in town. Of course being a student at said school I quickly saturated this pipe with hotline downloads and got in plenty of trouble, but that's another story. This link up was point-to-point and went throughout all the schools in town. A reasonably hilly town, this was likely aided with the original microwave tower on the nearby mountain, but I'm not sure. The ping was LAN quality and it seemed to have speeds of 1.4Mbps (I'm unsure of whether it was bidirectional or not).

The OP is discussing the reality of making this happen with the newly allowed whitespace between TV channels. The question is does hardware exist to do this yet? Well, if it doesn't it is not particularly hard to design your own using existing hardware and modifying the spectrum it operates on. I have met a gentleman who was hired to do a similar linkup in his own town, very hilly, to the schools in that place. He spoke to me of modifying the radios he had. I cannot remember the spectrum they operated on, or if he even told me, but he was able to tighten the band for less interference given and received. He also needed to seek inspection of these devices by a regulator. Keep in mind this is in Canada so the rules may be different. In the end the schools lynched his payment so he lynched the microchips needed to make it go. The schools were left with a bunch of inoperable but expensive equipment because they refused to pay for the services and software they commissioned alongside it.

Other posters has submitted differing ideas on how to get your service to your end customers. There are many frequencies available, and there are varying prices of equipment and licenses. Compare them all, and consider availability as well. Don't get deadset on using this newly available whitespace just because there's no license. The equipment to exploit this may be more expensive, as-yet-unavailable, and/or unreliable (perhaps due to interference).

If you truly want to do this business, do the work required to start any business. And then when you're finished hit up Uncle Sam for funding!
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