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FCC Wants Proposals To Manage White Space Database

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the piece-of-your-mind dept.

Government 46

kdawson writes "A year after voting unanimously to open 'white space' frequencies for unlicensed use, the FCC has now issued a public notice seeking database proposals (PDF). Howard Feld explains in his blog posting: 'At last! We can get moving on this again, and hopefully move forward on the most promising "disruptive" technology currently in the hopper. And move we are, in a very peculiar fashion. Rather than resolve the outstanding questions about how the database provider will collect money, operate the database, or whether the database will be exclusive or non-exclusive, the Public Notice asks would-be database managers to submit proposals that would cover these issues. ... I label this approach "good, but weird."'"

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i want UHF CB Radio! (3, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306654)

like the ones they have in Australia, UHF does not get the DX/Skip interference like 27MHz does, when I want to talk locally i dont want dozens of people from all over the USA or all over the world interrupting our conversation just to say "hi, where are you?, what kind of radio do you have?" etc...etc... it gets old and annoying after a while

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306732)

DX/Skip interference like 27MHz does

Ionospheric propagation is a feature, not a bug. In fact it would be interesting to see what could be done below 30Mhz with protocols similar to CDMA, once all the commercial services have moved to the microwave bands.

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (2, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309232)

it is a feature if DX/Skip is what you want to use, if you want to talk locally but can not because of the DX/Skip noise is too high then it is a bug, (all a matter of perspective)

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309458)

If you're interesting in such things, look into the research Amateur Radio operators have done into HF radio protocols [verizon.net] such as PSK31, TOR, Clover, MFSK16, etc. I have personally send data via PSK31 from my house in Va to Australia using 1 Watt of power. That's by no means a km/Watt record. See this database [wsprnet.org] for contacts made.

This guy [on.net] (who received my 1 Watt signal) is seriously into weak signal work.

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30321232)

Yeah I think the Voyager or Pioneer probes have the km/Watt record. Line of sight helps of course.

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (3, Informative)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307162)

FRS radios operate in the 400MHz range, which is UHF just like you desire. So there you go. :)

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30307766)

I'd rather have 12 watts SSB than 0.5 watts FM

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30307942)

I would rather have 1000W SSB and still be legal

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308136)

Get a HAM license and you can have 1.5 kW.

But.. um.. your car is going to need a mast.

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30311378)

your car is going to need a mast

Do you recommend the Urbator brand from personal experience?

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308976)

frs frequencies are fine, the existing radios in the stores are very inadequate, i want a 5 watt radio that runs on 12 volts DC that has a PL-238 antenna connector on the back so i can attach a 50 OHM coaxial cable that runs up to an antenna,

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309026)

PL-238 antenna connector

That would be PL-259, and you *don't* want that on UHF. They suck above 150MHz. They suck a bit above 50MHz, at that.

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309114)

i have a dualband kenwood 731 VHF/UHF right now that has two SO-238 connectors on the back (SO, not PL = my bad). the SO-238 are the chassis mount connectors that receive the PL-259 coaxial connectors, and they work fine

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30317022)

Mmmmhmmm. I have about 3500 Tait T2000s on both VHF and UHF, and they all use BNC connectors. If you look on proper antennas and RF equipment that's used above HF, you'll find only N connectors, except for enormously old VHF commercial equipment. Of course, once you get into low microwave you get some seriously odd connectors.

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309570)

Aside from not using a PL-series connector, I think there are rules to specifically prohibit removable antennas or antenna connectors on FRS radios to prevent people form doing exactly what you describe - adding an external high gain antenna.

GMRS (which requires a license) allows for repeaters [mygmrs.com] , so that's what you'd want if you feel the need to boost your signal.

Of course you could join us Amateur Radio folk and have the best of all worlds - frequencies from DC to light (almost!), and much higher power limits. It really is fun.

Re:i want UHF CB Radio! (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310826)

wow! i made first post!

with the economy in the pits it would do some good to stimulate the economy with some new products, take a look at the UHF CB radios in Australia and make something similar for the USA, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UHF_CB [wikipedia.org]

if this was opened up in the USA it would stimulate the economy, a hell of a lot of people would buy them especially if you included nice features like CTCSS, all mode = AM/FM/SSB, 5 watts plus the ability of installing in automobiles, with external antennas, we should be able to have alternative radio communications other than that messy old 27MHz.

Whitespace?!! I call dibs on tab!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30312712)

I call dibs on the tab character!

The rest of you people using it can talk to my lawyers for licensing agreements!

Who says Intellectual Property isn't good for the economy? I'm gettin' rich, oh yeah!

Summary doesn't make sense (2, Interesting)

Joreallean (969424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306690)

It makes perfect sense. They have no idea how to do it or the answers to those questions, so they are asking for current database experts to propose a solution. That is opposed to arguing about whatever option they happen to chose arbitrarily until nothing gets done.

Re:Summary doesn't make sense (4, Informative)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306866)

They know how to do it. They have CORES [fcc.gov] already. You register, you get an ID, you use it to fill out forms and pay bills. In the case of whitespace, you register, you get an ID, you use it to fill out forms, and not pay bills. Easy.

Re:Summary doesn't make sense (2, Insightful)

Joreallean (969424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307180)

Quoted from the proposal: "Although there appears to be general agreement on the basic functional architecture for TV band database(s) (i.e., a data repository, a data registration process, and a query process), there are a variety of views on whether we should designate one data repository administrator and allow multiple registration and query service providers, have each administrator perform all functions, or some other combination." They obviously don't know how to do it, no matter how clear the answer is in front of them. I don't think its a bad thing to ask for solutions from the private sector. They don't want to manage it, but they also don't know the best person to manage it either.

Re:Summary doesn't make sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30308836)

you're missing the meta data relating to radio devices. The database is akin to what has been proposed for cognitive radio devices for years now. For further information check out the IEEE 802.22 group, for 802.11 based devices check out 802.11y which allows for radio resource management.

Re:Summary doesn't make sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309042)

And as we all know, when the government claims to know the best way to do something, it is always right. Bullshit. The FCC is inviting innovative thought from the private sector - there nothing weird or unusual about that. Try looking up the word 'procurement' in Wikipedia.

Re:Summary doesn't make sense (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315244)

Okay. Now suppose I'm watching channel 17 from ~60 miles away.

And my neighbor decides he wants to turn-on his whitespace TV Band Device directly over top channel 17.

How is this database supposed to stop that from happening? I'm afraid the DB will tell the neighbor's TVBD that it's okay to broadcast over channel seventeen because it's not located inside my market. Goodbye channel 17; hello digital hash.

Re:Summary doesn't make sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30316850)

Ah no, you don't understand. This is a database that *every* whitespaces radio (or at least AP) will be hitting daily, providing a lat/long location, and getting back a list of what are the allowable channels to use. If you can't contact the database for 24 hours, legally the AP shuts down.

Legalize it. Then tax it. (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307422)

I dunno.

How hard is maintaining a database? Especially one that doesn't get updated that often? I'd guess the trick would be distributing the right information to the right devices.

It seems to me that this is *exactly* the kind of thing that should be run by government bureaucrats. It could be designed and operated by a private organization like BB&N, but I certainly don't want to see for-profit companies that might have agendas *other* than accuracy. Crafting creative public policy is not something you want a for-profit entity to do, either directly or through front groups.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I fail to see any economic mystery here. They're just creating a new, flexible class of license which allows manufacturers to sell, and consumers to buy and operate, devices that adjust to the local allocation of spectrum. Invest the money in the system so it gets done fairly, then tax the devices enough so the database becomes self-supporting.

Re:Legalize it. Then tax it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30308256)

not something you want a for-profit entity to do, either directly or through front groups.

Has the DNS been a failure?

Re:Legalize it. Then tax it. (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309690)

not something you want a for-profit entity to do, either directly or through front groups.

Has the DNS been a failure?

Yes, yes it has.

DNS the protocol is fine and dandy. DNS as in the root servers and domain policies, before they were given over to InterNIC (thus before ICANN) was fine.

DNS after a commercial for-profit company however is ass.

Do YOU know what the difference between .com .net and .org is? If not, don't feel bad. You had to be online in the late 80s early 90s to even have seen what the point was and how it worked.

These days they actually literally encourage you to purchase all three!!
This is something that was forbidden, and for good reason, before.

Why bother having three filing cabinets to keep things sorted and separate, when you are then going to charge people to put files in it, and then encourage them to make copies as to keep one in each cabinet, not to make it easy to find but so you can charge multiple times. THAT is what commercialization of DNS has done, and yes, it is a failure now.

Re:Legalize it. Then tax it. (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30311384)

If only it were that simple, the data base must be able to account for local licences, some that are only valid for a week or two updating the database could be a daily occurence. They frequently let special devices operate in allocated space as long as certian power requirements are satisfied. With a data base implimented getting special exemptions will take even longer because so many requests will be made for all the nonconforming devices.

Re:Summary doesn't make sense (2, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309352)

It makes perfect sense. They have no idea how to do it or the answers to those questions, so they are asking for current database experts to propose a solution.

Well, in that case I think they should dedicate the airwaves to either :
- white noise so that we can generate random numbers
- wireless networking

Oh, and regarding database, I think mauve has the most RAM.

uh oh (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30306786)

This thing might get a bit political, with some not very nice things being said about whoever wins it. Some problems may be experienced with the day-to-day operation, too. Perhaps another story in Slashdot about some of that down the road.

Would be nice if they had included a schema (2, Insightful)

superid (46543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306902)

I've read the proposal twice. They don't describe what they want to store at all. And I don't see a reference to another document either. How can anyone make an informed proposal without knowing anything about the data!!

How do you gouge if your customer has a clue? (4, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306994)

I've read the proposal twice. They don't describe what they want to store at all. And I don't see a reference to another document either. How can anyone make an informed proposal without knowing anything about the data!!

Clearly you've never worked for a consultancy. What you need is a few dozen current buzzwords/phrases - like Cloud Computing, Virtualization, Web 2.0 - and a few weasel words/phrases - like Synergy (a must have in any proposal!), Then you need to proove you can throw 300 people at the problem if needed (and you will find a way to justify it!). Never mind that some dork with a PostGres database and a few scripts (or Access 2007 database if you're a Microsoftie) can probably do what they need. If they can't work out what they need it's a business opportunity.

Re:How do you gouge if your customer has a clue? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307382)

If you need help with the buzzwords and brochure-talk, then try an automatic Mission Statement Generator:

http://www.joe-ks.com/archives_feb2001/AutoMSG.htm [joe-ks.com]

(I couldn't find the Dilbert brand MSG)
   

Re:How do you gouge if your customer has a clue? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308032)

No, a Microsoftie would recommend using MS SQL. They also know MS Access sucks balls!!! The idea of using it sounds great in theory. Then, it just grows, festers, and becomes a huge cluster f**k to manage. Yuck!

Re:Would be nice if they had included a schema (2, Informative)

WidgetGuy (1233314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308164)

I've read the proposal twice. They don't describe what they want to store at all. And I don't see a reference to another document either. How can anyone make an informed proposal without knowing anything about the data!!

I dunno. I just read the Public Notice (only once, and quickly). Sounds pretty straightforward to me. They are looking for a database with a real-time API that can be used by devices designed to use the white space bands. These devices are required to have geo-location capabilities (e.g., GPS) so (presumably in real-time) they can give the database their current location (e.g., GPS coordinates). The database replies with an "available channels" report based on the device's location and information it has obtained from "incumbents" who want their channels protected from interference. From the Notice:

"The database will tell a TV band device which TV channels are vacant and can be used at its location." They're not handing you a database definition, but they're surely telling you what type of data you are going to need to store and communicate in real time. In the next sentence,

"The database will also be used to register the locations of fixed TV band devices and protected locations and channels of incumbent services that are not recorded in Commission databases."

That's pretty traditional IT stuff. And that's really it (other than unresolved architecture issues, which they define quite clearly). The rest of the report covers what type of presentation they want to see from a prospective provider and how to go about filing it.

I would seek clarification about how they propose the TV band device communicate in real-time with the database if its not using, well.... some of the TV band. There should be a reserved frequency for that type of thing, but the Notice didn't address that issue.

And, then, there's footnote 5 on page 1 of the Notice: "See 47 C.F.R. %%15.713-15.715 for the rules pertaining to the operation of the TV band database" Sounds like a pretty on-point reference to other documentation to me. Don't have the time to look it up, but it's there and they've given you a pointer to it.

Thirty days should be more than sufficient for a reasonably competent applicant to submit a proposal based on the description of the problem given in the Notice.

Just a query, how is this related to rights? (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306988)

Just curious, that's all.

Re:Just a query, how is this related to rights? (1)

story645 (1278106) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307636)

Open white space frequencies are part of American slashdot users rights, so a proposal for a db that contains data on who is using that falls into the rights category. (Or 'cause yro is a bit of a catch all catagory.)

Re:Just a query, how is this related to rights? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310548)

Do we have the right to use those frequencies, or will that "right" be managed by these database providers? That is a relevant question, at least in the Slashdot crowd where some people have the technical prowess needed to exercise that right.

TSA (-1, Offtopic)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30306992)

I would also like the EFF to hit the TSA with a lawsuit over their SecureFlight Data Program. The official propaganda has it that this is for traveller convenience. I have an allergy to bullshit and I've got a feeling its more for tracking and ease of data mining for TSA investigators. It ain't got nuthin' to do with traveller convenience - it is all about the convenience for the TSA.

An easy way to profit by screwing OTA viewers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30307324)

1. Win the proposal to manage the white space database.
2. Create a white space whitespace based ISPs which will block out all OTA broadcasts in the areas in which it serves.
3. The jammed OTA viewers will have to pay for video over IP service via that whitespace ISP to be able to watch local television again.
4. Profit!

Madness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30307700)

They want to implement a database in Whitespace?!?! [dur.ac.uk]

...Oh... I guess that's why people keep telling me to RTFS.

poor choice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30307880)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitespace_(programming_language) [wikipedia.org]

I'd not use it for any significant project, let alone writing a database, personally.

Here's an existing implementation (2, Informative)

jeffstar (134407) | more than 4 years ago | (#30307912)

these guys [spectrumbridge.com] seem to be on top of it and have their database finished.

White space database? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309782)

So the FCC wants to chronicle every python script ever written?

What a monumental waste of tax money!

How will these work? (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310862)

My understanding was that these devices will monitor for activity and not transmit if something is detected. So what is the database for? It certainly isn't adequate to replace this active detection. Does it black-list bands that cannot be transmitted on locally even if they appear to be empty? Does it white-list band that are candidates for transmission if they appear to be open?

Are these devices required to check with both the geolocation service (GPS?) and local database before they can operate? It makes sense, because if I move a device to a new area and turn it on, you wouldn't want it to just start transmitting on bands that were allowed in the previous location but not here. But getting a GPS fix can take a while, and it would be a pain to have to wait upto a minute before using the device each time you turn it on - I suppose they would have suspend mode that keeps GPS lock, but has everything else powered off, rather than completely shutting the unit down when you weren't using it.

Re:How will these work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30311060)

The database will probably supplement detection and also provide a black list. Yes, the devices are required to utilize GPS and query the database ... but how do you query the database if you can't activate data services until you know what the database says?

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