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FCC Set To Finalize Rules For Next-Gen Wireless

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the listen-to-the-law dept.

Businesses 107

GovTechGuy writes "The FCC's agenda for Thursday includes a vote on the final rules for unlicensed devices making use of unused TV spectrum known as 'white spaces.' Industry and lawmakers have predicted the opening up of the white spaces could result in the biggest leaps forward in wireless technology in the past 25 years. Among the benefits is so-called 'WiFi on Steroids' which allows a large number of users within a 50-mile radius to tap into a single high-speed broadband connection for the same price as a traditional WiFi router. The FCC is expected to approve the move, but Google and other companies warn that the devil is in the technical details of the rules."

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Woo hoo! (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671352)


'WiFi on Steroids' which allows a large number of users within a 50-mile radius to tap into a single high-speed broadband connection for the same price as a traditional WiFi router.

Great! I can use open "Linksys" networks from across the city!

oh, great! (1)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671400)

So more coverage for porn downloads, I approve! The opinions posted from this user does not in any way reflect the company as a whole, but rather the individual himself. However, you may speculate as you please, it is your right to do so unless you live in North Korea.

P2P networking (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33671430)

Let's hope these types of changes lead to widespread distributed networking among members of the public.

I'm tired of having to choose between two or three effective local monopolies for internet access, and still having to put up with bandwidth-to-price ratios that are in the dark ages compared to many other developed nations.

Re:P2P networking (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33671474)

Let's hope these types of changes lead to widespread distributed networking among members of the public.

I'm tired of having to choose between two or three effective local monopolies for internet access, and still having to put up with bandwidth-to-price ratios that are in the dark ages compared to many other developed nations.

Don't worry, Congress will do their best to make sure this is also monopolized. Competition is a sin, after all.

Re:P2P networking (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671592)

Nope it won't.

It will be CB radio all over again. 40 channels of everyone trying to talk over everyone else. It will die in obscurity with nobody using it, because they've moved to something else. Think about how many people live in the 50 miles surrounding where you live.

Re:P2P networking (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671678)

I live in Los Angeles, so about 10 million?

Re:P2P networking (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671886)

Don't think so two dimensionally. How cool would it be to have wifi on commercial airliners that weren't based on the plane? Astronauts will be able to use it from space! Or, if you need it there, up to 50 miles straight down! Finally, Internet for the mole people.

Re:P2P networking (1)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671748)

It will be a paradise for anonymous cowards. We can hang out anywhere in that 50 mile radius. Really important if that radius is around Beijing or LA.

Re:P2P networking (1)

Atryn (528846) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676648)

It will be a paradise for anonymous cowards. We can hang out anywhere in that 50 mile radius. Really important if that radius is around Beijing or LA.

Yes, because I'm sure the FCC's ruling will fix your problems in Beijing... Unless of course the Chinese don't recognize the FCC's authority to regulate their airwaves...

Truckers (2, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672048)

Truckers are still using CB, same as always.

Re:P2P networking (1)

jmv (93421) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672188)

There's a few important technical differences between this and CB. First, the current protocols are *designed* to make multiple people "talking" over each other. It reduces the bandwidth, but it doesn't break things like for analog voice. It's now possible to computationally "steer" the transmission and reception so that you can have multiple users in different locations that aren't actually talking interfering with each other.

Re:P2P networking (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676598)

>>>the current protocols are *designed* to make multiple people "talking" over each other.

Code Division Multiplexing (CDMA). That's very effective for voice calls. A 20 Mbit/s 6 megahertz wide TV channel can carry five thousand 4 kbit/s voice calls, but of what value is that for internet? Assign 1 Mbit/s to each data user and you only have room for twenty people. Seems very impractical to me, and a wired solution (upgrading phonelines to DSL) seems like a FAR better solution to our rural users.

Also:

Paying for TV seems kinda silly. Here's a list of every channel I get. I probably left some off, but you get the point. Plus whatever else I get through hulu.com ----- all free.

ABC, CBS, et cetera
PBS
PBSkids
PBSworld
PBSinfo (documentaries)
CW
MyNetTV
ION
Mind
Link
Megahertz
ThisTV (movies)
Weather Channel
NBC Universal Sports
24 four News channel
RetroTV (70s/80s)
FamilyTV (50s/60s reruns)
RerunTV (stargate SG1,SGA,SGU, Star Trek, South Park, Mr.Monk, and so on)

Qubo
Smile of a Child
Univision
Telemundo
Telefutura
JCTV (music)
ION_life
Shopping channel
Wellness Channel (health, etc)

Re:P2P networking (4, Informative)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672270)

By posting this, I'm un-modding some other stuff. So be it.

With CB, you have to listen to everyone else's banter. Communications are broadcast, by definition, to anyone else whose particular squelch setting and receiver sensitivity will allow them to receive it. It is easy for one party in one conversation to step all over another party in a completely different conversation, while being completely unaware of it.

There are no PL tones [wikipedia.org] on CB to limit unintentional interference and distractions, just different channels.

But I hasten to say that things have moved on:

We now live in a world where communications are neither so rude, nor so limited.

It is now trivial to determine the precise sender and recipient of a transmission (hello, IP [wikipedia.org] ). It is trivial to ratchet down output power, automatically, such as to very nearly speak only to those who you intend to speak to. And it's possible to share a band, due to things like CDMA [wikipedia.org] , TDMA, [wikipedia.org] and OFDM [wikipedia.org] .

None of this exists on CB.

And when mesh networking [wikipedia.org] enters the picture, things become even less like a CB.

The acceptance of a white-space provision by the FCC, no matter what modern technology it consists of, will be a boon for communications amongst a populace -- including the torrenters and the porn mavens, as well as the web browsers and the Facebookers.

To think otherwise is to disregard everything, so far, that the Internet has brought to us, as well as everything that has been learned about RF communication over the past few decades.

Re:P2P networking (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#33678998)

Just curious - are there any projects currently running on regular wifi devices that would be "supercharged" once this took off? Like if 5000 people in a 20 mile radius installed these devices is the software out there to build them into an adhoc mesh network anyone could hook into?

Aloha Net (1975) (1)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 3 years ago | (#33680474)

The Aloha Net was a predecessor of ether net. The developers of ether net traveled to the University of Hawaii to learn how to make ether net from the technology of packet switch radio.

So my point is this adhoc packet switched radio networking predates all of the Internet protocols we use today.

To make this work, the FCC will have to develop the rules for devices to interact. That is the part that Google is warning us about. "the devil is in the technical details of the rules." Bad rules and the thing will be a joke. Good rules for making many hops and good allocation of bandwidth and the system will replace the last mile of the Internet.

Re:Aloha Net (1975) (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33682972)

I sure hope it doesn't replace the last mile.

I, for one, like having a choice of different services.

Ideally, a whitespace network should be capable of, eventually, replacing my 12Mbps VDSL...or at least supplementing it when it is more efficient to do so.

This way, I still get fast connections to far-away places, but don't need to bother with zig-zagging my data all over the country just to get it to Joe a few blocks over.

Re:P2P networking (1)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676514)

Don't worry... These claims are Bogus.. Nothing but snake oil..
'WiFi on Steroids' which allows a large number of users within a 50-mile radius to tap into a single high-speed broadband connection for the same price as a traditional WiFi router.

Sounds like the car that runs on water... The IPhone 4 not having an antenna problem, people are just holding it wrong.. and Timmy at the bottom of a well..

All Bogus claims..

Not CB, Packet switched (1)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 3 years ago | (#33680292)

A packet switched radio will not have people talking
all over each other. But the low bandwidth in the TV bands
will not allow the types of bandwidth we need in today's environment.

And your right the low bandwidth long range channels (TV)
will saturate with people trying to get a clear channel.
What we need are high bandwidth short range channels.
Something like 5 to 10 mile 300 channels of 2-3 gig each.

With this first thing your system does is find a low use
channel and sends to a host, a roof top, about 5 miles away.
Where the packet is send on in 5 mile hops until it reaches
your party.

20 hops 100 miles with latency under 200ms.
is as good as your going to get on any cell phone.
If you need more distance then that you should use
an ISP to switch to copper or glass ( what ever ).
With this kind of local infrastructure the need for local
right of way that blocks most out of the ISP service industry
will be by passed allowing competition and low service charges.

Re:P2P networking (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671614)

I'm tired of having to choose between two or three effective local monopolies for internet access, and still having to put up with bandwidth-to-price ratios that are in the dark ages compared to many other developed nations.

I'm with you on this! I can overpay for AT&T DSL (no Uverse) or Time Warner Cable, or pay out of a lower orifice for slow cellular technology (no 3G available at home). It would be a dream come true to have some real competition for internet access and/or television service.

AT&T's DSL is slow here, and rather pricey for the bandwidth you get. The kicker is that stand-alone DSL costs almost exactly as much as DSL with the cheapest available land line phone service, which I literally us about 3 times a year when I need to fax something from home. Time Warner is $45/month for 6Mbps, and their customer service is even worse than AT&T (yes, that is possible), and the redneck 3rd party installers couldn't get me a stable connection in two attempts, even though I told them exactly what they needed to do and that my frayed service line needed to be replaced. Their TV packages and prices are even more of a joke, and I'm canceling service at the end of the current billing period.

Re:P2P networking (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671644)

>>>I'm tired of having to choose between two or three effective local monopolies for internet access

Sorry but that's not will happen. The people behind these whitespace TV Band devices are the same people that control the cellphone market. ATT, Sprint, and so on.

Re:P2P networking (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671918)

I thought this was part of GOOG's plan for its dark fiber. It'd make that city broadband offer easier to fulfill.

Re:P2P networking (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671798)

It seems to me that a hub and spoke model would be more efficient and secure than a random net. I believe oligopolies can generally be defeated with some common-sense regulation - perhaps requiring companies to rent out any wires that run under public land?

Re:P2P networking (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673594)

It seems to me that a hub and spoke model would be more efficient and secure than a random net

Not always. Hub and spoke means that leaf nodes in the tree are often geographically close. For example, I can see a campus building from my house, which has a machine in it that I have an account on. It's about a mile, maybe a mile and a half away. When I run a traceroute, I find that the packets are going via London (a few hundred miles away), because that is the closest peering point between JANET and my ISP's network. If I pointed a directional antenna in the right direction, I'd be able to receive their WiFi quite easily.

Mesh networking doesn't preclude the existence of big links, it just means that the routing tables are automatically updated dynamically to route around congestion and to find new short paths when they exist.

2008 (2, Insightful)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671490)

Something similar seemed to be approved in November 2008. Anyone know why it didn't have any impact? As far as I can tell a bunch of tech companies complained that the requirement to listen for existing broadcasters, or looking up a database, was to expensive to implement in devices, and a bunch of existing broadcasters complained about interference. What will be different this time around?

Re:2008 (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671544)

"same price as a traditional WiFi route" the expensive part

Re:2008 (2, Informative)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671570)

This is the same issue on it's second or third go-around. I'm sure the rules for using the spectrum have been updated to take in the latest complaints, but that's probably about it.

It's time for the FCC to open this up and see what happens. Rules are in place. I'm sure they'll be adjusted as this goes. Let's use the spectrum and start dealing with some real issues instead of "possible interference" and horror stories.

-John

Re:2008 (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671660)

>>>Let's use the spectrum

Uh. Hello? The spectrum is already being used. By TV (channels 2-51) and FM Radio (sits between channels 6 and 7). There are empty channels if you live west of the Mississippi, but not along the east coast which is already assigned for Broadcast Video/Music and very, very full.

Re:2008 (2, Insightful)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671722)

Go fuck yourself. Why do we have to go through this every time? Not everyone lives on the east coast. Your free TV will not go anywhere.

Re:2008 (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671932)

>>>Why do we have to go through this every time?

Because I don't want my Free TV killed. Because I can't afford to spend ~$1000/year to get CATV. That's why.
.

>>>Your free TV will not go anywhere.

The FCC has a plan right now, endorsed by our president, to shrink TV from 50 to 25 channels. It used to be 83 channels but they keep nibbling-away piece after piece, the same way RIAA/MPAA is using the ACTA treaty to nibble-away your right to backup your personal CD/DVDs. In another five years I fully expect broadcast TV won't exist at all.... they'll remove the final 25 channels.

Re:2008 (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671960)

P.S.

And also because I don't want tv shows/movies/news LOCKED UP behind a paywall (where you have to subscribe to Comcast or ATTT Wireless to gain access to the programming).

Re:2008 (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672052)

P.S.

And also because I don't want tv shows/movies/news LOCKED UP behind a paywall (where you have to subscribe to Comcast or ATTT Wireless to gain access to the programming).

And they're going after torrent sites with ACTA, it seems (if I'm interpreting the MPAA's recent query about using ACTA to shut down Wikileaks correctly.) Does anyone else besides me and the Commodore see a pattern developing here?

Re:2008 (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672522)

25 channels, assuming every other one can be used in an area, is still 12 channels. That's 24 720p HD channels for your area. More than 24 channels if some choose to multicast 480i along with the HD channel or by themselves.

How much free TV are you entitled to? Are you entitled to more free TV than someone living in Wyoming?

The FCC needs to make sure it's looking in all areas for spectrum, including broadcast spectrum.

Re:2008 (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673784)

>>>25 channels, assuming every other one can be used in an area, is still 12 channels.

False assumption. Where I live, because all the cities are packed closely together, they use every 4th channel. I made a list further below where you can see every channel from 2 to 51 is occupied by a TV station. That means if they cut back to 25 channels, then half the stations will need to be pulled off the air.

Re:2008 (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676040)

Where I live, because all the cities are packed closely together, they use every 4th channel. I made a list further below where you can see every channel from 2 to 51 is occupied by a TV station.

Wait, so is it every four channels occupied in a market or every channel 2 - 51?

So if two DC stations are using 22 and 26 (four apart, like you said) and adjacent markets are using 24 (so close together, you can't use adjacent channels, right), who's using 23 and 25 in your market?

-John

Re:2008 (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33697226)

>>>Wait, so is it every four channels occupied in a market or every channel 2 - 51?

DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Harrisburg is, in essence, one giant broadcast area. They all have to share the same 50 channels. Each city gets about 12-13 but all 50 are viewable by any single home, due to the overlap between cities. Using your hypothetical example:

22 and 26 == DC
23 and 27 == Baltimore
24 and 28 == Harrisburg
25 and 29 == Philadelphia

And so on. All of these channels are "occupied" in this region, broadcasting video 24 hours a day. There's no empty channels for TV Band/whitespace Devices.

Re:2008 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33676304)

dude wtf just pull them ALL OFF THE AIR
and watch them streamed from the internet via wifi on crack!!!

What open channels? (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671620)

Where I live (the Northeast Megalopolis) there are NO open channels. Every single channel from 2-51 is occupied by a TV station.

(sigh) I can easily imagine the kid next door turning on his "next gen wireless iPod or iPad" directly over top the Philadelphia or Baltimore sports game I'm trying to watch. Technically the FCC rules say I can order the kid to turn off his gadget, but that doesn't mean he would comply.

Cellphones currently have 600 megahertz of space.
TV has 200. Let TV keep its space.

Ummmm (0)

sjbe (173966) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671670)

Cellphones currently have 600 megahertz of space.

I do not think that means what you think it means... [/Inigo Montoya]

(600 megahertz is a frequency, not a bandwidth [wikipedia.org] . Cell phones operate at many different frequencies.)

Re:Ummmm (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671784)

Cellphones currently have 600 megahertz of space.

I do not think that means what you think it means... [/Inigo Montoya]

(600 megahertz is a frequency, not a bandwidth [wikipedia.org] . Cell phones operate at many different frequencies.)

If I used bandwidth between 1000Mhz and 1600Mhz would that not be called 600Mhz of bandwidth?

Re:Ummmm (0, Offtopic)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671844)

well, no

that's only 598 BETWEEN.....

Re:Ummmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33671908)

Uh? There are 599 integers between 1000 and 1600, but frequencies are not limited to an integer number of megahertz, so it's reasonable to answer with the measure of the set (1000, 1600) which is 600. How do you get 598?

Re:Ummmm (1)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672346)

just a technicality.. but there are only 598 integers between 1000 and 1600.

where is your 599'th? 1000 and 1600 are mutually exclusive if you're counting values between them.

unless my math is wrong, 1599-1001=598

Re:Ummmm (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672360)

Try it in smaller range first. How many integers are there between 0 and 10? That's a small enough range that you can not only count them but also very easily list them: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Nine of them. 9 minus zero, or 10 minus 1, or 10-0 - 1.

1599 minus 1000, or 1600 minus 1001, or 1600 minus 1000 minus 1. All equal 599.

Re:Ummmm (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673818)

>>>1000 and 1600 are mutually exclusive if you're counting values between... 598

Well in that case you're till wrong. Excluding 1000 and 1600 MHz, you can have a cellphone assigned 1000000000.1 Hz and another assigned at 1599999999.9 Hz, so that would be 599999999.9 Hz, or 599.9999999 MHz.

Or you could just not be anal and round it to 600 MHz, like I did in my original post.

Re:Ummmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677090)

The thread wandered and he's solving the problem "how many integers are there between 1000 and 1600?". The question has nothing to do with MHz at this point. Try to keep up with the discussion!

Re:Ummmm (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673616)

Nope, 599 if you are rounding down, 600 if you're rounding normally. 1000MHz is 1,000,000,000Hz. 1600MHz is 1,600,000,000Hz. The space between these two points is 599,999,998Hz, which is 600MHz to a sane degree of rounding.

Re:Ummmm (3, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671836)

>>>(600 megahertz is a frequency, not a bandwidth.

How on earth did you get out of college with an engineering or science degree?!?!? The SI unit "megahertz" can be applied to a discrete point (600 million cycles per second on the EM spectrum) - or - as a measure of bandwidth (700 through 1300 MHz == 600 megahertz of space). So going back to what I said:

- Cellphones have been assigned, by the FCC, approximately 600 megahertz of bandwidth
- TV has been assigned approximately 200 megahertz of bandwidth

Perhaps I am to blame. Perhaps I wrote my sentence in shorthand (aka technospeak) but this IS slashdot after all - I expect technically-minded persons to understand the basics they learned in PHY101.

Re:Ummmm (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672480)

The space, added up from the variety of ranges they have, equates to a 600 MHz of bandwidth. That's 600 MHz of "space." So I don't understand what your complaint is, as it sounds just fine the way it worded.

Re:What open channels? (3, Interesting)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671700)

Yeah, the channel numbers stayed the same, but didn't they move in the spectrum during the digital changeover?

This is the whitespace formerly used by *ANALOG* broadcast TV.

Re:What open channels? (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671872)

>>>didn't they move the spectrum during the digital changeover?

No they did not. Analog 2-51 and Digital 2-51 are exactly the same spectrum. In fact a lot of the stations are had to do a "live cutover" from analog-to-digital at midnight June 12, because they occupy the exact same spot. These stations include WPVI, WGAL, WBAL, WHYY, WJZ, and so on.
.

>>>This is the whitespace formerly used by *ANALOG* broadcast TV.

Mistaken again. The former analog channels 52 through 69 have been sold to cellphone companies (plus emergency police radio), and are already in use even as I type this sentence. These TV Band/whitespace Devices don't operate in channel 52-69 and also don't exist yet.

Re:What open channels? (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672590)

Thank you. I was mistaken and unsure. I should have stuck with the first question, and not posted the second comment.

Re:What open channels? (1)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 3 years ago | (#33679330)

No they did not. Analog 2-51 and Digital 2-51 are exactly the same spectrum. In fact a lot of the stations are had to do a "live cutover" from analog-to-digital at midnight June 12, because they occupy the exact same spot. These stations include WPVI, WGAL, WBAL, WHYY, WJZ, and so on.

While that's technically true, ATSC also allows channels to be remapped - so what you see as "Channel 9" might actually be UHF channel 31.

I don't know of any market where all 51 channels are being used.

Re:What open channels? (3, Informative)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672112)

The spectra weren't even used by analog broadcast TV. The spectra consist of unused space between the old channels, space that was left unused to avoid interference, harmonics, etc. between the analog channels.

Re:What open channels? (1)

Daa (9883) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673164)

there is no "space" between the channels, each TV channel is 6 MHz and with digital TV uses all of the allocated 6MHz. the FCC allocates every other channel in a market, but the TVBD rules do not allow the use of the "empty" channel next to any allocated TV transmitter. In the major markets the "empty" channels are all allocated to stations in the next near by citys. you can look at the northeast coast area( BOS-DCA), the upper mid west(MKE-CHI), San Fran, Los Angeles, ... there is a broadcaster allocated on every channel from 7-51 in those areas which means within 50-70 miles of those citys TVBDs will be completely blocked from operating or if you are lucky ther might be 1 or 2 6 MHz channels to share with 1M other users

Re:What open channels? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675976)

>>>(Score:4, Informative)

I find it disturbing that Slashdot Mods write +4 Informative on a post that's flat wrong. Digital TV is more efficient than analog tv was, and it uses the entire 6 megahertz channel. There's no room between channels. Each TV station butts-up against its neighbor like books on a shelf. No space inbetween.

Re:What open channels? (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671770)

User's don't choose the frequency. If manufacturers put out a device that doesn't follow the rules, they'll be ruined.

If someone just wants to be an ass and fuck up your television reception, they can do it now, without these rules or the devices.

-John

Re:What open channels? (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671812)

Okay I just did a quick scan of my region, and here's all the occupied channels. Do you see any open spots for these TV Band/whitespace Devices? I don't. Also notice that many TV stations overlap simply because the FCC ran out of room!

VHF lo: 2 3 4 5 6 (VHF-lo)
FM Radio: between 6-7
VHF hi: 7 8 9 10 11 11 (WBAL and WBRE) 12 13 13 (WJZ and WYOU)
UHF: 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 21 (WHP and WIOC)
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29 29 (WUVP and WMPT)
30
31
32
34 34 (WCAU and WPXW)
35 35 (WDCA and WYBE)
36 36 (WTTC and WITF)
37
38
39
40
41 41 (WVIA and WUTB)
42 42 (WMCN and WTXF)
44
45
46 46 (WBFF and WFMZ)
47
49
50 50 (WDCW and WNEP)
51

Re:What open channels? (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671864)

What are all of those channels with no call numbers next to them? Or am I reading your chart incorrectly?

Either way, there is still a lot of the U.S. outside of where you live.

Market | Percent of TV Band Spectrum Vacant After DTV Transition
Juneau, Alaska 74%
Honolulu, Hawaii 62%
Phoenix, Arizona 44%
Charleston, West Virginia 72%
Helena, Montana 62%
Boston, Massachusetts 38%
Jackson, Mississippi 60%
Fargo, North Dakota 82%
Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas 40%
San Francisco, California 37%
Portland, Maine 66%
Tallahassee, Florida 62%
Portland, Oregon 58%
Seattle, Washington 52%
Las Vegas, Nevada 52%
Trenton, New Jersey 30%
Richmond, Virginia 64%
Omaha, Nebraska 52%
Manchester, New Hampshire 46%
Little Rock, Arkansas 60%
Columbia, South Carolina 70%
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 44%

(Source: http://www.newamerica.net/files/nafmigration/archive/Doc_File_2713_1.pdf [newamerica.net] )

Re:What open channels? (1, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672028)

>>>What are all of those channels with no call numbers next to them

Quoting myself: "Here is a list of all the occupied channels". In other words they all have TV broadcasts on them. Every single number listed in my last post is occupied by a Station broadcasting video.

As for your percentages above, they are not even close to accurate. Cities overlap. People can see TV stations from neighboring markets - in my case I can see 4 different markets, and sometimes even 5. So excluding isolated places like Alaska or Hawaii or Phoenix, you can take most of the percentages in your post and divide by two (or even three):

FIXED:
Charleston, West Virginia 36%
Helena, Montana 31%
Boston, Massachusetts 13%
Jackson, Mississippi 30%
Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas 20%
San Francisco, California 18%
Portland, Maine 33%
Tallahassee, Florida 31%
Seattle, Washington 26%
Trenton, New Jersey 20%
Richmond, Virginia 22%
Manchester, New Hampshire 16%
Little Rock, Arkansas 30%
Columbia, South Carolina 35%
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 22%
.

Re:What open channels? (3, Informative)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672140)

So if the data doesn't fit your assumptions, you just cut it in half? Nice.

Methodology for the Trenton, NJ area:

"TV channel assignments were compiled using a variety of data sources to ensure accuracy. The preliminary channel line-up was taken from the Consumer Electronic Association's "Antenna Web" online resource (www.antennaweb.org), which lists all available signals from a given zip code. In this case, the base zip code used was downtown Trenton. CEA's listing was then cross-referenced with data from the Center for Public Integrity's Media Tracker Database (www.publicintegrity.org/telecom/) and the television license query engine at REC Networks (www.recnet.com/cdbs/fmq.php). All of these databases consist of information taken from the FCC. A final check was performed using the FCC's TV TVQ Database Query (http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/audio/tvq.html). FCC databases were also searched to determine if any public safety organizations operated in the TV band. Channels with public safety devices were deemed occupied.

This combined station listing was cross-referenced with multiple local television guides to determine which channels are available over the air. All stations broadcasting in or near Trenton that can be viewed over-the-air in Mercer County were included."

Re:What open channels? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673878)

The study admits its methodology is Flawed (like those studies claiming cellphones cause cancer are also flawed).

It only looked at the Trenton NJ market, and never bothered to look at neighboring cities like New York or Scranton, all of which *also* occupy space on the dial and "stretch" into the Trenton area. You cannot have TV Band/whitespace Devices broadcasting over those channels. When I look at that city using TVfool.com and a typical rooftop antenna, I see about 5 open channels. That's it. Everything else has a TV station assigned to it.

Another flaw I noticed in the study: They counted channels 14-19 and channels 37 as "open" channels. Wrong. 14-19 are assigned to police/firefighters' emergency radio. Channel 37 is assigned to radioastronomy.

Basically that study is all kinds of wrong.

Re:What open channels? (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676468)

> The study admits its methodology is Flawed

What page is that on?

> It only looked at the Trenton NJ market, and never bothered to
> look at neighboring cities like New York or Scranton, all of which
> *also* occupy space on the dial and "stretch" into the Trenton area

Really? Is that why all of those New York, Philadelphia, etc. stations (up to 57 miles away) are listed as occupied?

> When I look at that city using TVfool.com and a typical
> rooftop antenna, I see about 5 open channels

When I look at Trenton, NJ with a 25ft antenna, there are 12 open channels (2 - 51). An attic antenna yields 26 open channels and a set-top antenna would have 35.

Are rooftop antennas typically directional or are they omni? With worst case signals coming in at -80dBm or -90dBm, it seems like a directional antenna would be required.

Re:What open channels? (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676552)

Oh...

> They counted channels 14-19 and channels 37 as "open" channels.
> Wrong. 14-19 are assigned to police/firefighters' emergency radio.

Did you even click the link? Two channels are listed as occupied for public safety in the Trenton, NJ area.

Those channels aren't solely for public safety use, either, and aren't national. If public safety licenses existed in an area, those channels were marked as occupied. Richmond, VA area, for example, as TV stations on channels 14 - 19 and the methodology states "FCC databases were also searched to determine if any public safety organizations operated in the TV band. Though there are some public safety mobile radios licensed in channel 17 for Stafford, VA, they are far enough away from the Channel 17 transmitter so as to cause no interference."

> Channel 37 is assigned to radioastronomy.

Yeah, that's why it's red on every chart and counted as occupied.

-John

Re:What open channels? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33682936)

Yup, that's exactly what they do. [slashdot.org] In that post, they admit that they are not taking someone else's suggestion for bettering their data because the results already fit their preconceived notions.

Re:What open channels? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33682596)

Quoting myself: "Here is a list of all the occupied channels". In other words they all have TV broadcasts on them. Every single number listed in my last post is occupied by a Station broadcasting video.

If that's true, then why couldn't you label them? Admit it, you're just being your usual trollish self.

Re:What open channels? (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672290)

Seeing as how the channel allotment is artificially limited by the FCC these numbers mean little.

There are very few full power assignments available or at least not in the markets that anyone wants to be in. Sprinkle some LP, translator or other class A licenses around and it still doesn't add up to the capabilities of the technology. Even if you went to the effort to petition for a new license it wouldn't be guaranteed to be yours. It would then go through a bidding process available to all the vultures.

Now in some geographic areas anything less then a full power license would not be worth pursuing. In areas where terrain creates difficulties in signal distribution there will be a significant segment of the spectrum open because no one would waste their time on an LP assignment.

Re:What open channels? (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672400)

Are you arguing that there's only whitespace because of the artificial limitations the FCC puts on channel assignment? If they didn't have co-channel interference rules or geographic assignments, all of the channels be used by television broadcasters?

Re:What open channels? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673888)

>>>channel allotment is artificially limited by the FCC

False. Channel allotment is limited by physical law. You can't have a channel 11 in Baltimore, and another channel 11 right next door in Washington or Richmond. The two stations would interfere with one another and the viewers would end-up seeing nada.

Re:What open channels? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33671978)

Based on your overlap list, you had to compile TV from at least 4 markets (DC, Baltimore, Harrisburg, Philadelphia) to come up with a "full" spectrum. What happens when you stop bullshitting around and use a list of signals you can actually receive? Tah-dah: "white space"

Re:What open channels? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675180)

Unless you actually live in Baltimore, which I assume commodore64_love does. I can easily see someone in Baltimore getting channels from all of these markets, especially DC.

Re:What open channels? (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675362)

Actually, what he put down is quite accurate. If you live in Baltimore, you can actually receive the signals from all four of those markets. When they plan the TV stations, they take and draw a circle around the transmitter on a map of the size of the broadcast range for the particular channel, when circles intersect, the people in that overlap area won't receive either station as they will interfere with each other. As all those cities (except maybe harrisburg) are within 50 miles of each other, the overlap areas are pretty large, so the markets have to cooperate on channels.

Re:What open channels? (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672536)

How many of those do you actually receive in your home?

Re:What open channels? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673916)

Almost all of them.

Let's see..... 2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,24,27,29,31,33,35,36,37,41,42,44,45,48,49,51. Every one of these is a station I can view from my home, although some of them, like 6, only come-in after dark (the sun interferes with TV reception).

Re:What open channels? (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676620)

Channel 37, really? You just discounted a study because channels 14 - 19 are public safety, yet you're receiving stations on those channels? Oh yeah, they're not solely for public safety use.

So I count 34 channels listed out of 50. What do you call those channels you haven't listed? Oh yeah, whitespace.

-John

Re:What open channels? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33673782)

What a maroon.

All those channels are not being used by broadcast. You're looking at your cable, nimwit.

The FCC doesn't assign licenses to adjacent channels in the same area because of interference issues.

In general, most areas have 3 or 4 broadcast stations that they can pick up well (at least in the days of analog). These were typically used by ABC, NBC, CBS, and perhaps PBS. Very large markets might have had a few independents.

Re:What open channels? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676186)

Anonymous Coward wrote:

All those channels are not being used by broadcast. You're looking at your cable, nimwit.

hahahahahaahahha. Sometimes AC's can be funny. I don't even have cable TV, because Comcast's ~$80 pricetag is too high.

Re:What open channels? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33673946)

That's cool.

I get ABC, NBC, FOX, PBS, and sometimes CBS. Why shouldn't I be able to use the unused bandwidth, just because you can't? Why should the rules for me change because of your liberal east-coast whining?

Re:What open channels? (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#33674716)

as I have seen you railing and railing on this over the whole thread, I decided to reply to this post. You obviously live in the same area I do, which is rather interesting, and you are posting on Slashdot, which means you are literate. I am a little baffled why you rail against this technology without even reading about it.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130052519 [npr.org]

These "wifi routers" are working in the white space between channels that was freed up due to the digital conversion, due to the way the channels are allocated by the FCC, when the digital transition was accomplished, each channel needed less bandwidth. Think of it as channel 45.5, not as 45 and 46 are losing their license. When the channels were analog, there was a gap between the channels in order to prevent interference, with a digital broadcast, interference is less of an issue, and this area of "do not use" is now free, the best way to visualize this is to look at a chart of the wifi bands used in 2.4 Mhz:

http://www.radio-electronics.com/info/wireless/wi-fi/80211-channels-number-frequencies-bandwidth.php [radio-electronics.com]

if you look at the chart, and the source material for it a bit above, you will notice that for instance, between channels 1 and 6 there is a unused band of 14 khz, if you collected the bands between 1, 6 and 11, you now have 28 khz. When speaking of the TV channels, look how much possible bandwidth is available now that the gaps are no longer needed in the TV frequencies.

Hopefully this post allows you to understand what the FCC is doing, because everything I have seen you comment in this article appeared to be complaints due to lack of knowledge of the subject. Maybe someday we can meet up for beers.

Re:What open channels? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676138)

>>>These "wifi routers" are working in the white space between channels

You didn't get far. Only your second paragraph and already a blatant error. The TV Band/whitespace Devices broadcast ON channel (i.e. 13 through 51), not between channels. In fact it says that right in the article.

Furthermore there is NO space between television channels. Channels are like books on a shelf - they exist directly side-by-side. AND each channel is 6 megahertz wide - exactly the same width they were in the analog days. I know I sound angry, but I'm getting tired of people (you) passing along Pseudo Information. It's essentially the same as lying.
.

>>>between channels 1 and 6 there is a unused band of 14 khz

No. Not unused. It's occupied by various wireless services like police radio. Also 14 kHz isn't anything to get excited about. That's equivalent to a single AM station, and AM Digital Radio only broadcasts at 30 kbit/s...... slower than dialup internet. Completely worthless in the modern age. THINK.
.

Re:What open channels? (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#33678012)

You didn't get far. Only your second paragraph and already a blatant error. The TV Band/whitespace Devices broadcast ON channel (i.e. 13 through 51), not between channels. In fact it says that right in the article.

Did you bother to read the linked article? Let me help you out some:

ROSE: TV stations need licenses to use the airwaves. But the FCC wants to open up the so-called white spaces between channels so that tech companies can use them without a license. Genachowski says its the same approach that worked 25 years ago.

Unless you think the between there is wrong, but that is exactly what this person who works for a company that designs devices currently using this method says.

>>>between channels 1 and 6 there is a unused band of 14 khz

No. Not unused. It's occupied by various wireless services like police radio. Also 14 kHz isn't anything to get excited about. That's equivalent to a single AM station, and AM Digital Radio only broadcasts at 30 kbit/s...... slower than dialup internet. Completely worthless in the modern age. THINK.

I was speaking of the gaps in the bands of 802.11, if there are police radios up in the 2.4 Mhz range, that would surprise me greatly, as they wouldn't be much use. As to the speed issues you raise, the TV band with even a 14khz bandwidth is still pretty significant when you aggregate several of these bands together. As I am not a EE, and since I don't see you mentioning anything about you working on this project, but the people working for the FCC who are trying to nail out the rules for this are mostly EEs, I imagine they have already thought about these problems pretty heavily.

So just forget about home users? (4, Interesting)

alexwcovington (855979) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671648)

Allowing these devices to power up through a 50 mile radius basically speaks to the market the manufacturers are working toward.

These "white space devices" are going to be industrial-scale. They will cost tens of thousands of dollars and will have to be set upon a pretty tall tower or building to even be safe from an EMR standpoint.

It's not home networking. It's not even local area networking. This is a business model for Wireless ISPs that doesn't include an FCC licencing and application process.

That's it. Big Whoop.

Re:So just forget about home users? (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672076)

I doubt the stations will broadcast that far.

50 miles requires a large antenna like the one I'm using now (4 by 3 feet) to receive a signal..... not really practical to attach on an iPod or iPad. 50 miles also requires a transmitter output of ~100,000 watts. That would drain a tiny iPad battery in about 1/4 minute.

Re:So just forget about home users? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33672300)

Please stop posting about things you obviously know jack all about. You're thinking of broadcast FM stations where it's all about advertising revenue, where dumping more power in to the antenna directly relates to having more people that MIGHT be able to listen to your station, and it will certainly help the people at the fringe of your service area hear the advertisements better. VHF is line of sight only except in a few rare circumstances (tropospheric ducting and sporadic-E). 100,000 watts is hugely overkill for things that computers listen to, especially when you can plug a huge antenna in, unlike your car where you want as small of an antenna as possible. More power does NOT equal more distance, only antenna height will give more distance. Most broadcast stations also have to contend with another station on the same frequency only 100 miles away, so most of their power is wasted drowning out interference to better improve your listening experience.

For VHF and UHF communication all you need is line of sight and enough power to get over the noise floor and whatever path loss there is (trees, distance, a wall or two). 20 watts out at the "base" station up on a tower would be far more than enough. Since they'll be using nice big gain antennas so you don't have to, it would have about 50-ish watts peak emitted power, and your incoming signal would be amplified by many dB's. Your little box that you plug in to your network would probably max out at 10 watts out, and it will probably be able to automatically reduce power like existing RF networks. For people on the edge of the service area an outdoor antenna would be all that's needed.

The way the network would work is that your dinky iPad would connect to your existing wifi, which would then connect to whatever replaces this 'white space'. Antennas for this band are simply not small enough to fit in to an iPad and still be useful.

I assure you, 50 miles radius is actually quite trivial, especially when you don't have to worry about mobile stations with crappy antennas.

Re:So just forget about home users? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673948)

>>>100,000 watts is overkill for things that computers listen to

What do you think TV is? Answer: Computer data. If you want to send that computer data across 50 miles, you need at least 100,000 watts. By the time it reaches your home it's degenerated to only a few microwatts - just barely receivable by a larwe antenna (and not receivable at all with rabbit ears/loop).

WPMT-DT broadcasts at 933,000 watts.
WPHL-DT is at 645,000 watts.
WMPT-DT is 209,000 watts.

THAT'S what it takes to transmit the DTV computer data across 50 miles range so people at home can receive it.

Re:So just forget about home users? (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676874)

You've just agreed with the AC. I looked at the FCC data [fcc.gov] for WPMT [fcc.gov] - they are transmitting with 933 kW ERP, with ERP being the important difference - that stands for Effective Radiated Power, which takes antenna gain into account. The AC stated that using lower transmitter power coupled with large antennas on the tower are sufficient. I submit that WPMT is using a relatively high gain antenna to obtain the 933 kW ERP. This site says they have a transmitter putting out 20.2 kW with an 18.22 dB gain antenna [rabbitears.info] .

Re:So just forget about home users? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673954)

>>>More power does NOT equal more distance; only antenna height will give more distance

This too is wrong. When WPVI-6 quadrupled its power, it also extended its range to double what it was before. It used to barely reach from Philadelphia to northeast Maryland, but now it reaches all the way to Baltimore. They didn't change their towers' height - only their transmitter power.

Re:So just forget about home users? (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676976)

Both of you are correct to an extent. For high VHF and UHF frequencies, the propagation is fairly close to line-of-sight. That means that no amount of power will force RF to penetrate the earth beyond your radio horizon [wikipedia.org] .

That said, receivers need a certain signal level to work properly. Until that level is exceeded at every point inside the radio horizon, additional power will help receivers that aren't seeing their minimum signal level. Once that level is reached for all points inside the radio horizon, additional power will not increase reception distance.

Re:So just forget about home users? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33672260)

Er?

FTFA (yes, yes, turn in my /. creds)

The move to adopt white spaces for devices is expected to significantly accelerate adoption of wireless broadband because the low-frequency waves can travel through buildings and trees and cover a radius of 50 miles with a single router.

Quinn said new routers would leverage the larger coverage area to allow many more users to access the Internet for the same price as a standard W-iFi router. He predicted the earliest adopters would be college campuses, schools, libraries and other institutions that seek to provide ubiquitous Web access but have thick walls that make it difficult.

It *sounds* as if the technology is largely safe (because it's just wi-fi with more range) and is something that most places would invest in quickly. Sure it's not something you'd have at home, but exactly why would you need more square footage in the first place? It's not home networking because, unless you're living in a massive house or wanting to get your home wi-fi from your workplace, the nearby park, or a restaurant down the street, I don't understand why you'd need the massive range.

Now, if you *do* have a larger than average house that requires more range (and I don't get how big your house would be. I can see the wifi of people two houses down from where I live) I'm sure they'll release low powered super wi-fi up to a half a mile or whatever the hell you need.

Why are you so angry about this? People out in the boonies now have a better chance of getting broadband if this goes through and it means that those of us not in the boonies might be far more likely to not get stuck in dead zones without wi-fi access.

Not wifi like at all (1)

Thagg (9904) | more than 3 years ago | (#33671674)

If these are really low frequency ( less than 2 ghz) and really long range (many miles) then they have to be slow if there are many users. It might be good for rural areas though

As someone living on satellite internet... (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672428)

"WiFi on Steroids' which allows a large number of users within a 50-mile radius to tap into a single high-speed broadband connection for the same price as a traditional WiFi router. "

Puuuhhleeeze make it so.. Im only a 20 miles from town and spending $80 a month for basically a little more than dial up with latency that makes baby jeebus cry...

Re:As someone living on satellite internet... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33673976)

Wouldn't cellular internet be cheaper? Where I live they advertise $40 per month for 1500k speed.

Re:As someone living on satellite internet... (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677808)

No data where we are at.. :(

Yeah - WiFi is just like broadcast TV.... (4, Informative)

markana (152984) | more than 3 years ago | (#33672534)

This is going to work really well... not

Think about it. Compare this mythical 50-mi radius super WiFi to an existing hotspot. Or cell tower, for that matter...

1 - Contention. how many clients will be in that coverage footprint, competing for the bandwidth. Radio is a shared medium - only one source can be using it at a time (disregarding exotic and expensive tricks). So you split it up into channels - there goes your bandwidth. And you MIMO the area into sectors - bummer if you live on a sector boundary and bounce between them. No matter what you do, you have to divide a limited resource among a whole lot of users. Suddenly, small local cells look a lot better.

2 - Power. Sure, your local TV station gets great coverage (or since digital, not so much). They've got a 50-Gazillion-Watt transmitter, and it's one-way. How much power will your laptop/tablet/phone/etc. need to talk reliably to a base station 50 *miles* away? At a decent data rate, with the interference of everybody *else* trying to get the attention of that base? It's hard enough to do on analog *voice* systems. If you thought hidden-node problems were bad with WiFi, you ain't seen nothing yet! Oh, and how big are the antennas going to have to be for these lower frequencies (compared to 2.4Ghz)? The next iPad will have a band around *it* for the antenna....

3 - Infrastructure. How many of these mega-APs will get to be in a given area? Does everybody get one (hey - no license)? It's not going to be easy or cheap to backhaul all of those clients from your huge central site. It's simple to serve a small area at a time, and the cell companies certainly have the hand-off issues worked out (well, mostly). But the only long-range two-way systems out there are fairly low-bandwidth and server relatively few nodes.

You can have bandwidth, coverage, or population - pick 2.

Re:Yeah - WiFi is just like broadcast TV.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675612)

Where I live, population is not a problem. Bandwidth and coverage have always been a problem. This is a win-win for me, I get bandwidth and coverage I didn't previously have, and I don't have to kill everyone around me for it. :)

Re:Yeah - WiFi is just like broadcast TV.... (1)

Aut0mated (885614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33678812)

This is going to work really well... not

Think about it. Compare this mythical 50-mi radius super WiFi to an existing hotspot. Or cell tower, for that matter...

1 - Contention. how many clients will be in that coverage footprint, competing for the bandwidth. Radio is a shared medium - only one source can be using it at a time (disregarding exotic and expensive tricks). So you split it up into channels - there goes your bandwidth. And you MIMO the area into sectors - bummer if you live on a sector boundary and bounce between them. No matter what you do, you have to divide a limited resource among a whole lot of users. Suddenly, small local cells look a lot better.

2 - Power. Sure, your local TV station gets great coverage (or since digital, not so much). They've got a 50-Gazillion-Watt transmitter, and it's one-way. How much power will your laptop/tablet/phone/etc. need to talk reliably to a base station 50 *miles* away? At a decent data rate, with the interference of everybody *else* trying to get the attention of that base? It's hard enough to do on analog *voice* systems. If you thought hidden-node problems were bad with WiFi, you ain't seen nothing yet! Oh, and how big are the antennas going to have to be for these lower frequencies (compared to 2.4Ghz)? The next iPad will have a band around *it* for the antenna....

3 - Infrastructure. How many of these mega-APs will get to be in a given area? Does everybody get one (hey - no license)? It's not going to be easy or cheap to backhaul all of those clients from your huge central site. It's simple to serve a small area at a time, and the cell companies certainly have the hand-off issues worked out (well, mostly). But the only long-range two-way systems out there are fairly low-bandwidth and server relatively few nodes.

You can have bandwidth, coverage, or population - pick 2.

Sure it will work, we're already doing it....

1.) Quit thinking WiFi and realize there are GPS time synced solutions out there for existing 900, 2.4, 3.65, 4.8, 5.2 bands etc... also read about OFDM (orthogonal radio's). Currently there are several of us using the same bands competing with each other already and successfully, but a little more spectrum wouldn't hurt ;) .

2.) Currently with 1watt TX power I'm able w/high gain antennas shoot 800Mb links 50+ miles, LOS, NLOS or nLOS. Again quit thinking of this as WiFi, it's Point To Point/Multi-Point technology with an AP and a SM (subscriber module). The size of the antenna on the customer side will (according to Motorola and the likes) still be a yagi (3ft) or reflector based (size of modern small satellite dish). Our backhaul radios use anywhere from a 3ft-10ft microwave raydome antennas, which *gasp* is what the cell companies use for their backhauls ;) . AP's will be similar size our current antenna's are anywhere from 10ft-15ft tall on 300+ft towers.

3.) We cover 5000sq miles with about ~$10m invested in infrastructure. I can push 12Mb to my customers, 20 miles from the AP with up to 50 ppl on said AP and no service degradation with the current bands. Again, quit thinking WiFi...

It pains me to see this modded Informative when looking at it from a hobbyist sure, but we WISP's are capable of a lot more commercially and this is what our industry is petitioning for. This could be a great thing for people wanting to severe ties with their current telco/cableco internet, using wireless for the last mile which is by far much cheaper than copper/fiber. Lets just hope that the major telco/cableco's don't lobby it to death, or FUD it to the consumer which seems to be already the case.

Re:Yeah - WiFi is just like broadcast TV.... (1)

ResidentSourcerer (1011469) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687014)

Right now in Canada we have broadband coming into semi-rural areas (lake cottages, acreages, with spillover to Farms)

Xplornet has just put up a new tower 15 km away. Unfortuantely I'm in a hollow, and can't 'see' it.

The way they work locally uses small directional antennas at the house end -- they look like a tupperware square cake container on a stick) -- and presumably a zoned antenna on the tower.

My expectation is that the new frequencies will be licensed, similar to the present ones, at least for power greater than N watts.

An application I *would* like to see: Cordless phones that I could use anywhere on my 80 acre farm. There exist such, but they cost about $800 -- not worth it.

Parent is correct: bandwidth, coverage, and population are mutually exclusive as a triple. However this gives some better options for sparsely populated areas.

Broadcast is not an answer in the city. In the Bad Old Days before cell phones, getting a radio license in a city was very hard to do. Way too many people wanted one.

Narrowcasting makes a lot more sense.

Cheap free standing towers start at $2000 for 80-100 feet.
Place as needed. Each tower has a microwave relay to a more central tower, and a router that distributes packets to the appropriate house link. The house links can range from millewatts to watts depending on distance.

If power consumption of a tower isn't outlandish, the terms of rental are something like, "we pay you 20 bucks a month, and give you free 10 Mbit/s internet, and we plug the tower into your outlet.

If it's higher, or too far from the house to be practical to plug in, run a separate electrical service.

Interference with my TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674874)

How will this affect the analog over the air TV stations I receive right now? (1 Mexican, 4 English speaking) There are broadcasts on 3,6,7,12,21,27,33,35,41,45,49,57,64, & 69.

When is Slashdot going to get Proofreaders? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33674948)

I know Slashdot does not have editors, but nobody proofreads the summary either.
The term is not "WiFi", it is Wi-Fi (see http://www.wi-fi.org) and is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

The article gets the terminology correct. but this "technical" site does not know the technology, apparently.

Yes, I RTFA.

Useful in wide-area low-usage scenarios (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675642)

This will be good for places like large farms, disaster zones like Haiti, and other places where:

* The number of computers is small enough that bandwidth saturation is not an issue
* The site has a sufficiently high tower and sufficient power to run the equipment
* In a disaster scenario, there is a generator and a mast available
* There is a "backhaul" Internet with sufficient bandwidth. In a disaster scenario this might be microwave or if latency isn't a problem, satellite.

Some disaster-usage scenarios:

Combine this with a portable cell tower a la Burning Man [slashdot.org] and a satellite dish and you can give relief workers in a disaster zone good within-a-several-mile-wide-zone email and phone communication and limited communication with the outside world.

Mesh+Power solves spectrum? (1)

snadrus (930168) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677826)

Mesh + multi-antenna directional + minimum hop power + (DTV & Wifi correction codes) should keep this as resilient as 2.4Ghz (phones & 802.11b/g) today, right?
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