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In Florida, a Cell Phone Network With No Need For a Spectrum License

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the emergent-order-rocks dept.

Communications 107

holy_calamity writes "Technology Review reports on a cell phone network in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, like no other. Instead of paying to reserve a section of wireless spectrum its owner, xG Technology, uses cognitive radios that steer signals through the unlicensed 900MHz band more normally used by cordless phones and baby monitors. The radios in both handset and base station scan for gaps left by other devices in that band and make dynamic connections that constantly hop frequencies to ensure a good link. The network is designed to show off the tech, which the company says could be used in conventional cellphones to access extra spectrum or white spaces devices."

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So what's the range (3, Funny)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980402)

and does it use a lot of "femto-cell" style towers? It would seemingly have to. Meaning, how well would it work in a car?

Re:So what's the range (3, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981104)

900Mhz is the most popular GSM band in Europe and most of the rest of the world. My mobile operator uses it, and it works very well in my car. I guess that means it would be illegal to use this phone in most parts of the world.

Re:So what's the range (3, Informative)

zn0k (1082797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981242)

The 900Mhz ISM band is free to use in region 2 (the Americas, Greenland, and part of the Pacific Islands).

Re:So what's the range (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983850)

It is only a small portion of the bandwidth between 900 MHz and 1 GHz that is license free. The exact frequency used by UMTS/HSPA networks in Europe/Asia use a different portion of the bandwidth, thus they do not overlap.

It isn't going to work (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33980414)

It's never going to work in the long term. I work for a wireless ISP, and our 900 mhz band is getting killed by utility/electriticy companies rolling out things like smart electric meters that exist in every home and do the same thing: hunt for the least noisy band and transmit. We've seen noise floors in the -40s straight across the spectrum on our worse days. We can't beat the noise more than a couple of miles from a cell tower using fixed, directional antennas. What makes them think they can beat it with tiny, handheld devices?

Re:It isn't going to work (3, Funny)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980650)

I would mod you Informative, and I have the points, but I'll be damned if I can find the apply moderation button to make it take effect.
br>Also, why am I now being forced to preview? Maybe I like making errors.

Re:It isn't going to work (5, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980754)

They changed the name of a pref from 'Use Classic' to 'Dynamic Discussion', defaulted it to 'yes' and made it so that it can only be accessed (as far as I have found) from the prefs that pop up with the button on the bottom of the comments pages.

Re:It isn't going to work (5, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981050)

Thank you. Finally restored the old, crappy, but understood format. I wish Slashdot would spend less time writing code, and more time reading and editing articles if they really want to improve the site. I'm just hanging by a thread as it is.

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983048)

Yeah me too, was considering just giving up on slashdot. The dynamic discussion is a big nono.

Re:It isn't going to work (-1, Flamebait)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983502)

Did you get the ability to disable ads on slashdot, yet, like I have?

Because that's my punishment for them until they start fucking proofreading and editing their stories.

Editing for sensation is bullshit, when better and longer conversation (and thus more pageviews/adviews) can be had without trying to fucking troll us.

I'd love to smack every /. editor across the face for some of their shit, including stuff from my own submissions that was omitted to get the fuel burning, only to have ME get burned in the process by the rest of the slashdotters fooled by the fucking editing.

FUCKING SAMZENPUS - DON'T *EVER* LET ME FIND OUT WHERE YOU LIVE, ASSHOLE. I WILL RIP YOU A NEW ASSHOLE FOR YOUR BULLSHIT.

Re:It isn't going to work (1, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984132)

FUCKING SAMZENPUS - DON'T *EVER* LET ME FIND OUT WHERE YOU LIVE, ASSHOLE. I WILL RIP YOU A NEW ASSHOLE FOR YOUR BULLSHIT.

You're a big fucking idiot for posting anything like this, anywhere, ever. Calm down, have some dip.

Lameness filter encountereLameness filLameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

ter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: Don't use sLameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

o many caps. It'Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

s like YELLING.

d. Post aborted!
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.
 

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984366)

Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

I think he understood that. My guess is it that it was intentional. Duh. Sometimes, screaming is appropriate, particularly when talking about the progressive decline in quality here lately.

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984546)

Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

I think he understood that. My guess is it that it was intentional. Duh. Sometimes, screaming is appropriate, particularly when talking about the progressive decline in quality here lately.

I was pasting the output from the lame filter, noob. Who did you buy that UID from?

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984356)

Did you get the ability to disable ads on slashdot, yet, like I have?
Because that's my punishment for them until they start fucking proofreading and editing their stories.

Yes, and me too. I used to allow them to display as well, but don't now for the same reasons.

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

Huntr (951770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33982364)

Thank you so much. I had some points the other day and thought I was mis-marking posts or something because my points disappeared when I scored a post but I never hit "moderate."

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33982724)

Bless you.

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983448)

I'd mod you up, but you're already at +5, so I'll just say thank you.

Re:It isn't going to work (3, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980980)

Also, why am I now being forced to preview? Maybe I like making errors.

Slashdot wasn't losing users at a fast enough rate, so this is part of a new program to piss those of us off that have been here for many years, and get us to finally leave forever. It is about to work.

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981880)

Soon maybe some random personal site can't even be slashdotted...

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33982096)

Give it two more weeks, and we won't even be able to /. this website [120.146.162.194] .

Re:It isn't going to work (-1, Offtopic)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983508)

"Soon maybe some random personal site can't even be slashdotted..."

You poor suckers don't even have the power to take out my site any longer. Well, you never had that capability anyways, apparently the majority of the so-called network engineers here can't build a /.-proof website, yet I can maintain my store against a redditing, digging, slashdotting, and fucking 4chan DDoS on the same day (and did so two weeks ago while asking for help with assholes stealing my website content,) with a PIECE OF SHIT CELERON SERVER.

Re:It isn't going to work (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980778)

The ISP I worked for (and managed the network operations of) mucked around with 900mhz band proprietary WiFi and it was, for the most part, a total disaster. The worst came when the guy whose apartment was immediately below our antenna went out and got some sort of 900mhz cordless phone that just splattered horribly over that area of spectrum, taking everything down with it. My boss literally went out and bought the guy a 2.4ghz phone just to stop it. Then the pager tower near one of our other antennas went crazy and started spewing forth over that bit of spectrum too.

We were told by the supplier that their equipment could pick the holes in the 900mhz unlicensed band, but so far as I could tell, anything beyond fairly mild interference just made the whole system highly unreliable. Hell, the last 900mhz cordless phone I bought when we were stilling living in an apartment was constantly picking up other phone calls.

I didn't know dick about radio at the time, but asked my boss why weren't going with 802.11b (which had just become available not to long before, and was up in the 2.4ghz range and had a growing number of WiFi devices that could talk to it, meaning we didn't have to rent out custom WiFi units to our customers). He liked the proprietary stuff because it was more secure (true enough, from an obscurity point of view, though I don't think it was encrypted) and because he wasn't relying on the 802.11 access control methods (though he had no problem with a Radius server for our dialups).

The 900mhz bands are just to bloody dirty and too congested.

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981932)

Maybe what we need is unlicensed spectrum with some established (and enforced) "rules of the road" - meaning everything in that spectrum operates over a fixed CSMA/CD protocol that does nothing but fairly negotiate access. (Maybe just mandate 802.11n or later in that spectrum?) I realize "fair" is the sticky point here, but it should be easy to come up with something more fair than "do whatever you want." You have dumb old devices like analog wireless phones and R/C cars jamming up airwaves that could carry multiple megabits for dozens of users with more modern technology.

Re:It isn't going to work (2, Informative)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983272)

Then you would need to, well license the device that they indeed comply to the "regulations". The the point of the unlicensed band is that you don't need a FCC (full) license, but you may get interference and its not anyone else problem.

Also because of the interference problem, IIRC it was ruled that a commercial operator cannot use the ISM bands for a cell network in Canada. This is not the first time its been tried.

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983518)

"IIRC it was ruled that a commercial operator cannot use the ISM bands for a cell network in Canada.'

IIRC as well you can't even run in that band without severely limiting the transmitting power of the device.

A decade ago, when I was in Quebec, the 900 MHz phones sucked not even a room away from the base station.

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984844)

A decade ago, when I was in Quebec, the 900 MHz phones sucked not even a room away from the base station.

Whats ironic is that the original selling point of 9800Mhz cordless phones was less interference compared to the 47Mhz phones. Then an arms race started with 2.4Ghz and later 5.7Ghz phones.

Re:It isn't going to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33984784)

Maybe you need to just get a license to use the spectrum that's been allocated as well as the new frequencies that the FCC
is allocating as we speak/type. Maybe you could go over to fcc.gov and start looking around there for some useful information
on how all this is happening - i.e., become somewhat informed.

Putting cell phone systems on the shared ISM band is a very, very bad idea. There is absolutely no protection there from other
unlicensed (i.e., Part 15) users, and there are other licensed users (such as the Amateur Radio Service) who use that band as
secondary users to stuff like military systems and vehicle tracking/monitoring systems. Sorry, but I can't risk a call to 911 over
a phone system like that !

I live in Broward County and can't wait to start calling CQ on a vacant frequency in the 902-928MHz band with 1500W output into
a 23dB+ gain antenna. Let's see how your femtocells handle that !!

Re:It isn't going to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33984136)

The problem is trees. We've got plenty of customers that can't get a decent signal on 2.4 or 5.8 Ghz, but 900MHz does the trick.

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985418)

We found the shot worked, until it rained, and those frickin' rain drops in leaves and such caused major multipath problems. I know some of the newer equipment can deal with that, but still, it's only one of many problems with the 900mhz band.

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984464)

One of the main problems with 802.11 for wide-area use is that it's a version of csma; a radio will listen for an open spot, then transmit when thinks it's quiet. Now, locally, that's usually fine. But for wide-area issues, consider this: base station A sees radios B and C. Radio B doesn't hear radio C; they're twelve miles apart, on opposite sides of the base station. Therefore, radio B and C talk over one another.

You need some sort of polling mechanism where the client radios only talk when the base indicates they're allowed to.

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

cforciea (1926392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984848)

It actually uses CSMA/CA instead of CSMA/CD, which means they don't just listen for open air and transmit, they actually request permission from the access point to transmit and it gives a go ahead, which all clients hear and know not to step on even if they can't see the transmitter. The problem in a WISP environment is that you can have 100+ clients to a single access point, at which point the requests for transmit time get so dense that they themselves start colliding frequently. It isn't a problem of geography so much as number of subscribers.

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985008)

Collision Avoidance, in this case, means they listen for open air. Collision Detection means they talk, and back off if there's a problem. This also makes it difficult to do QoS at the radio level.

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

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

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985044)

Oh, and self reply, RTS/CTS doesn't quite make it compared to a proper polling system or TDMA. You also can't do any sort of base station syncronization with an 802.11 style setup.

Not all 900MHz data transceivers are created equal (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33980840)

Try GE MDS Mercury 900MHz systems. We're getting between around 300-500Kbps average up and down between moving vehicles and the nearest access points almost anywhere in the whole city. Fixed locations such as traffic light controllers with small yagi antennas pointed back to an access point tower site easily hit 900-1000kbps symmetrical bandwidth up and down.

Re:It isn't going to work (2, Interesting)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980964)

Came in here to mention this. I worked for a WISP a couple of years ago, and while it was in a rural area in Kansas (but i repeat myself) we were already aware of possible issues with public spectrum transmissions and signal-hopping competition from god only knows what. We had a 900mhz unit in town, aimed at an AP on the other side of town with a clear LOS (i dont know why they did this is town, it happened before I was there) and we couldnt get it to work for our life. We had a spectrum analyzer and couldnt even get a lock on what was causing the issue.

Stuff outside of town aimed at the AP worked dandy, but nothing in the city limits.

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981224)

I think in a rural setting, particularly a relatively flat setting, 900mhz would probably work. Certainly our time with 900mhz WiFi suggested that where we could get a good run over sparsely populated areas, the signal would carry very well, but yeah, we found that the town itself just has a bazillion sources of interference at and around those bands.

I actually wish I had a couple of those 900mhz transmitters now. I own some acreage with two houses, one about fifty feet above the other and a couple of good sized trees to plant an antenna on and it work perfectly

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983524)

"We had a 900mhz unit in town, aimed at an AP on the other side of town with a clear LOS (i dont know why they did this is town, it happened before I was there) and we couldnt get it to work for our life. We had a spectrum analyzer and couldnt even get a lock on what was causing the issue."

HPS and fluorescent magnetic ballasts, most likely. Not very much else typically causes spikes in that range out in the wide open. Malfunctioning magnetic ballasts destroyed cell and cordless capability at an old apartment in Memphis.

Re:It isn't going to work (1)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981634)

I have seen the same thing regarding 900mhz. High noise floors resulting from utility companies and pager networks make it difficult to use even with precise fixed antennas. The free 900mhz spectrum is only 26mhz wide, there is hardly any wiggle room.

Re:It isn't going to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983362)

Hahahaha

They have a hard enough time keeping subscribers connected on a dedicated band. It's a joke.

Re:It isn't going to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983902)

If I am not mistaken, that is the ISM band. You are limited to one watt if you use a frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) method and a tenth of a watt if you don't. One watt. Line of sight. Good luck with that!

Never mind that most users, such as you, have pointed out that there are a slew of applications that still use this spectrum. They all want the most range, so they are also going to be using a FHSS method and intermittently cutting into your data stream at the maximum power allowed. Hell I just bought a baby monitor that works this way in the 900 MHz spectrum. Let's not forget the semi-recent walkie talkie fad that spawned the eXRS radios that work the same way. Some people still have cordless phones, wireless AV, wireless cameras, wireless micrphones, wireless home automation, and some of the earliest wireless LAN technologies. Plus you know, industrial, scientific, and medical users of the spectrum.

And on top of all that, my vaporware detector is going off.

Hello football game (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980422)

(zap)

Goodbye football game. I can easily imagine this device broadcasting directly over long-distance channel 17 while I'm trying to watch the game (or movie or Glee or whatever). The device will think the channel is "free" because it cannot detect it, and start broadcasting on 17, but in reality it will be occupied.
.

>>>Feedback on this comment system?

Yeah it sucks. And it's slow (CPU intensive). And I can't get back to the classic (plain text) index even though I've un-checked and checked it multiple times.

Re:Hello football game (2, Informative)

TheClam (209230) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980514)

Click the pencil/paper icon on the right hand side of the bar above the first comment. There's a pref for the old system.

Took me about 15 minutes to find it, since it wasn't in my user prefs.

Re:Hello football game (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980588)

The paper/pencil button doesn't work for me... it just grays out my screen for about half a second and goes right back to whatever was showing before. The same is true for about 80% of the new system. So, slashdot is basically nonfunctional for me now. I'm using Firefox 3.6.10, anybody know the problem?

Re:Hello football game (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980694)

It's working for me in Firefox 3.6.11 on windows XP.

Re:Hello football game (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980732)

Oh, thank heavens, the pencil/paper button works if I click it on a page that only has one comment (or the composition page), and I can disable the dynamic/interactive stuff. I'm back in business, I'm sure you're all so relieved!

I wouldn't bother posting this but I assume others are "suffering" too. Maybe if they click "5 more messages" a few hundred times they'll see this.

Re:Hello football game (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983586)

/. won't go back to the old system totally.

Hey, if you want the site stable, tell the nimrods to move to something more stable and less likely to get exploited, like the motherfucking standard of the web - HTML.

Or get the rest of the site to tell them to fuck off until they do.

Good luck with either.

Re:Hello football game (1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980612)

Yeah I *finally* got it fixed by unchecking "dynamic" in the Discussion menu.
Jeez. It should not have defaulted to being turned on.
Or else make it more obvious how to disable it.

Re:Hello football game (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983590)

Obviousness is not a strong point of /. programmers or editors.

In fact, given the differences between the systems, I'd suspect /. made this default so they could serve up more advertisement stuff on the fly.

Re:Hello football game (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985086)

>>>made this default so they could serve up more advertisement stuff on the fly.

Like Google's instant search. ;-)

Re:Hello football game (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33980600)

Trolling, or just RTFS fail? Considering it's commodore64_fuck (1445365), it's always hard to tell...

This isn't a white-space device running in "unused" TV channels, it's using unlicensed spectrum, just like bluetooth and wifi. The only other thing in this band is... other unlicensed devices, all talking over top of each other. It ends up a lot like 2.4GHz wifi, of course -- too many people transmit all at once, raising the noise floor, so everyone has to retransmit more, and eventually it becomes practically useless in all urban areas. Tragedy of the commons and all.

But since TV broadcasters pay for TV-licensed spectrum, what it won't do is disrupt your precious TV.

Re:Hello football game (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980772)

>>>commodore64_fuck
>>>This isn't a white-space device running in "unused" TV channels

Speaking of not being able to read. From the article: "The system could augment emerging networks that operate in the unlicensed 'white spaces' recently freed up by the end of analog TV broadcasts."

Re:Hello football game (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33980958)

Yes. Like you, I can read.

Apparently unlike you, I know what "augment" means.

Re:Hello football game (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983610)

"augment emerging networks that operate in the unlicensed 'white spaces' recently freed up by the end of analog TV broadcasts"

Want to re-read what you quoted? It clearly implies that these networks *ARE* running in unused TV channel-space and that the technology in question will ENHANCE (augment) the capability of those networks to operate in that frequency range by skipping back and forth across detected unused frequencies within that range.

Re:Hello football game (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985116)

>>>It clearly implies that these networks *ARE* running in unused TV channel-space

Yes I know.
The AC said 'These devices won't be used in TV band'.
I was refuting that; clearly he's wrong.

Re:Hello football game (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985898)

The device will think the channel is "free" because it cannot detect it, and start broadcasting on 17, but in reality it will be occupied.

Is the government or industry under some kind of obligation that you receive a distant station? I don't think so. There's an obligation for free television in support of the public interest, but not for any and all stations you could ever pick up from any market with any size or gain antenna.

Come back to us when a local television station is interfered with by these mythical whitespace devices.

-John

You gotta wonder how much bandwidth is left (1)

imgod2u (812837) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980484)

You have to wonder, with all of these devices that use the rather spread-thin (no pun intended) "free" spectrum, just how much bandwidth is left in your average area? What with everyone's WiF, cordless phone, microwave, bluetooth, etc. devices running constantly, are we reaching a point where "free" consumer spaces simply need more bandwidth?

Re:You gotta wonder how much bandwidth is left (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983618)

No, we are reaching a point where we need to figure out and list exactly how much bandwidth each given range of frequencies has, then we need to figure out which available devices best fit those ranges, and then restrict them to those ranges and that bandwidth allocation. Let them fight over the subchannels.

Re:You gotta wonder how much bandwidth is left (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985674)

We will just have to start using longer or shorter wavelengths for communication; we have yet to tap the communication potential of nationwide gamma-wavelength television broadcasts.

From the article . . . (3, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980492)

the system could augment emerging networks that operate in the unlicensed "white spaces" recently freed up by the end of analog TV broadcasts

The only channels "freed up" when US NTSC ended was 52-69 and they've already been designated for Cellular and Emergency Radio usage. These gadgets are verboten from broadcasting in that area.

A recent study by University of California-Berkeley academics revealed how the density of TV stations in metropolitan areas could reduce the availability of white spaces in such areas.

That's true. The "whitespace" idea only works in rural regions, not heavily-populated areas like the North, northeast, or mid-atlantic which use every channel from 1-51 (including the FM band).

Re:From the article . . . (0, Redundant)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981114)

A recent study by University of California-Berkeley academics revealed how the density of TV stations in metropolitan areas could reduce the availability of white spaces in such areas.

That's true. The "whitespace" idea only works in rural regions, not heavily-populated areas like the North, northeast, or mid-atlantic which use every channel from 1-51 (including the FM band).

There are more than 51 channels, there are 68 (2-69).

Re:From the article . . . (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981572)

Not anymore. Channels 52-69 are no longer in use, not being permitted for TV broadcasters.

Re:From the article . . . (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981982)

>>>There are more than 51 channels, there are 68 (2-69).

Judas Priest. Can't you read? Quote: "When US NTSC ended was 52-69 and they've already been designated for Cellular and Emergency Radio usage." At one time there USED to be 82 channels (2-83) but everything from 52 up has been deprecated and no longer exist as channels.

Re:From the article . . . (2, Interesting)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#33982546)

That's true. The "whitespace" idea only works in rural regions, not heavily-populated areas like the North, northeast, or mid-atlantic which use every channel from 1-51 (including the FM band).

Note that Channel 37 is not used for over the air tv broadcasting in North America and the few other uses area very limited (things like low-power indoor hospital equipment. It's being kept very quiet for those listening for interesting things from deep space. The signal that one would get on Earth from a hand-held garage door remote on the moon would be comparable to a very strong signal from deep space. The spectrum has to be kept very quiet to be able to hear faint signals, so scratch channel 37.

I'm curious when the FCC is going to figure out that hardly any broadcasters remained on their former analog channels 2 through 6. (54 to 88 MHz, minus a 4 MHz gap between channels 4 and 5) Most still display the old number as a virtual channel number, but are actually on UHF. For those with mountains to deal with, the change severely degraded coverage. Broadcasters apparently figured few people would be willing to put up big tv antennas with the longer elements needed for those low channels. High band VHF (7 - 13, 176 to 216 Mhz) and UHF (470 MHz and up) signals use much smaller antennas. I'd like to see more of the rural area served by the low-band channels. If they allowed power levels close to what they used with analog service, many could easily get well over 100 miles on those channels. Even at the currently allowed power levels coverage is better than the other channels if people have the proper antennas (but often worse with the wrong antennas). A half-wavelength dipole at 54 MHz (channel 2) is near 3 meters long so the biggest elements near the back of a tv antenna should be about that length. The length at channel 14 is about 1/9th as much.

The FM band, 88 - 108 MHz is not used by the tv channels. It's between tv channels 6 and 7, as are a number of public services and the 2 meter ham band. There's a much bigger gap between channels 13 and 14 (216 to 470 MHz), but that is allocated to various government and commercial service, and a little there for ham use also.

Re:From the article . . . (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983648)

"I'm curious when the FCC is going to figure out that hardly any broadcasters remained on their former analog channels 2 through 6. (54 to 88 MHz, minus a 4 MHz gap between channels 4 and 5)"

Never, because there are at least three separate pirate stations that use that range. It appears as used to the FCC as anybody else.

54.88765 MHz was my favorite back in Memphis. Had to use an OLD multi-range radio with shortwave capability to access it, but that had the BEST indie techno ever. And the Chinese broadcasts were quite interesting, too, when my pal was over to translate.

Re:From the article . . . (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985330)

>>>I'm curious when the FCC is going to figure out that hardly any broadcasters remained on their former analog channels 2 through 6

The FCC knows it.
They were the ones who *recommended* stations avoid 2-6.
Most listened to the FCC but some (like 6 in Philly) did not.

>>>Broadcasters apparently figured few people would be willing to put up big tv antennas with the longer elements needed for those low channels.

They were right unfortunately. I've heard engineers saying their viewers *refuse* to give-up their UHF antennas and buy a larger combo VHF/UHF. They hear things like, "We used to get channel 8 & 6 but now we don't." They don't understand that these stations were on 58 and 56, and now they moved to their original allocation, so they need to get a new antenna. One station boosted their power so high, you could use a coat hanger and see them. The other station installed a secondary UHF repeater, simply because their viewers refuse to buy the needed VHF antenna to see the real channel.

Over in Europe they don't use VHF at all. The digital television is confined to channels 14 and up.

Re:From the article . . . (0, Flamebait)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983628)

"The only channels "freed up" when US NTSC ended was 52-69 and they've already been designated for Cellular and Emergency Radio usage."

Excuse me? I'm getting 53 DTV and 59 DTV on my antenna.

Better re-check what did or did not get taken out *AND* in which areas, pal. Hollywood and Mexico seem to still be broadcasting across ALL the channels you just mentioned. I just turned my TV on to check, and I *JUST* bought a nice non-powered antenna just so I could watch the OTA Korean soap operas.

Re:From the article . . . (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985384)

>>>>>"The only channels "freed up" when US NTSC ended was 52-69 and they've already been designated for Cellular and Emergency Radio usage."
>>
>>Excuse me? I'm getting 53 DTV and 59 DTV on my antenna. Better re-check what did or did not get taken out *AND* in which areas, pal.

(sigh)

Well "pal" those are virtual channels. I too get channels 57 and 61 and 65 and 69 on my DTV, but the *actual* channels are inside the 2-51 limits imposed by the FCC's post-transition standard. Also you'll note I said *US* NTSC. - "(Score: Flamebait)" For once the mods applied a score I agree with.

NACK (2, Informative)

gafisher (865473) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980548)

While these phones may very well scan for channels not being used at the moment by baby monitors and cordless phones, said baby monitors and cordless phones etc. aren't as accommodating, meaning your pseudo-cell call could presumably be interrupted at any moment by the sounds of a crying baby or a pizza order. Cheaper isn't always better.

(I'll stick with my modified 10-meter 1KW CB radio ...)

Re:NACK (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980682)

If someone in your neighborhood turns-on their portable phone or baby monitor, this experimental device is supposed to instantly "jump" to another free frequency. Due to digital buffering you won't hear any kind of interruption.

I'd like to see the FCC sell-off channels 1-13, which are basically worthless for DTV (too much noise), and use them for cellular internet (which has better error-handling). There's also a large chunk of old analog CB radio that could be reclaimed between channels 6 and 7.

Re:NACK (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981670)

Given the rise of cell phones, I'm not sure why we don't go back to just 23 channels rather than 40 anyway. Is the CB spectrum really crowded enough to still need 40 channels somewhere?

Re:NACK (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983650)

"Is the CB spectrum really crowded enough to still need 40 channels somewhere?"

Most of Middle USA, the entirety of the Interstate system, and most major cities with trucking depots (like Memphis, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, etc.)

Even FRS/GMRS is crowded in those areas. Been there, tested that. FCC is slacking, half of the GMRS band is taken by unregistered/unlicensed people.

Re:NACK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33980838)

pseudo-cell

Why? It can be real cellular, indeed it must be cellular, since the other (interfering) transmissions are mostly low-power and local. If you use one station for a large area, it'll detect a frequency that's clear at the tower, and be drowned out by your neighbor's baby monitor.

interrupted at any moment by the sounds of a crying baby or a pizza order

No, it could be interrupted by a signal carrying those sounds, but unless you're using a compatible encoding, you won't actually get the sound. Since it'll almost certainly be using a digital mode, and the baby monitors and phones are mostly analog (old baby monitors were AM, I think they're all FM these days), it'll just cause a very brief dropout from the lost transmission, then hop to another frequency. (Existing cell-phones do this all the time in moderate-to-weak signal areas, and people still find them useful...)

(I'll stick with my modified 10-meter 1KW CB radio ...)

Good for you -- but I hope you realize these are for completely different types of communications, and were the potential users of this to hop on 10m instead, you'd be just as pissed with the endless gossiping of teenage girls as they would be with the fact that everyone could listen to them. As I see it, all radio's good radio, just different stuff for different purposes. As this concept (and if not this specific commercial implementation of it, hopefully at least some cheap hardware resulting from it) lets more geeks (i.e. ones who refuse to get an amateur license, perhaps for anonymity issues) tinker with radio by running their own cell tower, I'm all for it.

73 de AB9UL

Validity Questioned (5, Informative)

philipborlin (629841) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980574)

This article [ka9q.net] questions the validity of the company.

Validity of using up bandwidth that way? (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980722)

Forget the company. I don't want anyone clogging up any unused unlicensed frequencies and causing interference for every other device that does use that space. It's unlicensed for a reason and that reason isn't so some douche can sidestep going through the proper channels to set up as a carrier whilst hosing everyone else's use of those frequencies.

Re:Validity of using up bandwidth that way? (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980806)

>>>hosing everyone else's use of those frequencies.

Given recent FCC decisions, I suspect they don't care. After all this agency approved TV Band/whitespace Devices even though they will interfere/block usage of wireless microphones and other A/V equipment. I wouldn't be surprised if they read about this new Florida Experimental cellphone and say, "Approved."

Re:Validity of using up bandwidth that way? (2, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981266)

If the FCC was a local health and safety authority, the approval process would go something like this:

FCC: We see, Mr. Cacapoopoo, that your sewer technology takes raw human waste and dumps into rivers and aquifers.

Mr. Cacapoopoo: Yes, that's correct. My patented OneTube sewer device takes a large pipe from underneath each toilet and then promptly dumps into the nearest reservoir of drinking water.

FCC: And you've tested to make sure that this doesn't cause people to get sick.

Mr. Cacapoopoo: Oh my, yes. Our research shows that the human diet can be 1/3 fecal matter without any adverse health affects. I have a degree in Public Health and Theology from Patriot University, so you can believe me.

FCC: Well, Mr. Cacapoopoo, I'm overawed by your colorful diploma and your clearly laid out plans. I see no reason that you can't begin installing the devices as soon as possible. Would you like a glass of water?

Mr. Cacapoopoo: No, I only drink cream soda.

Re:Validity of using up bandwidth that way? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985480)

Translation for those who are confused:

FCC: We see Mr. Representative of Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc, that your TV Band technology takes data and dumps into the television channels.

G,MS,A,etc: Yes, that's correct. My patented device broadcasts over top the 6 megahertz channels currently used by television.

FCC: And you've tested to make sure that this doesn't block people's television.

G,MS,A: Oh my, yes. Our research shows that the human television will be unaffected within 30 miles, and only 1/3 of viewers will lose television beyond 30 miles, but they can buy cable if that happens. I have a degree in nothing, but the engineers assure me this is fact. Trust me.

FCC: Well I'm overawed by your colorful business suit and your clearly laid out plans. I see no reason that you can't begin installing the Tv Band devices as soon as possible. Would you like a free antenna?

G,MS,A: Hahahahaha. Heck no. Antenna TV will be unusable after we release our iGadgets... oops I mean..... sure!

This could be distributed/home grown GSM's break (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980584)

Americans are in a good situation here that an unlicensed 900MHz band even exists. This could be the proving grounds for a future distributed/mesh based mobile telephone network.

For now the only decent BTS an 'ordinary' consumer can get their hands on is USRP/OpenBTS which costs around $1000. The idea of normal people running a mobile network has been pretty much suppressed everywhere else so it would be interesting to do some long term real life testing with real users if its perfectly legal so the concept might gain some steam

Re:This could be distributed/home grown GSM's brea (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980736)

>>>The idea of normal people running a mobile network has been pretty much suppressed everywhere else

What do other regions (like EU) use the 900 MHz band for? According to wikipedia the US allocation is only 5 TV channels wide, so not a huge amount of room for data usage.

Re:This could be distributed/home grown GSM's brea (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981148)

We use it for licenced GSM cellphones. In the UK, Telefonica O2 and Vodafhone operate on that band.

Re:This could be distributed/home grown GSM's brea (2, Insightful)

King InuYasha (1159129) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981732)

To be clear, in Europe, the 900MHz band is currently used for straight GSM and EDGE. UMTS/WCDMA (GSM 3G) runs on the 1800/2100 MHz band pair. In the USA, the AWS band pair (used by T-Mobile) is a subset of that. It uses the lower half of the 1800MHz for uplink, and the lower half of the 2100MHz band for downlink (which is why it is referred to as the 1700/2100 MHz band pair). T-Mobile uses the 1900MHz band for GSM, but also supports the 850MHz band for roaming, since AT&T uses that band. AT&T's UMTS bands are 850MHz OR 1900MHz. Most areas use the 1900MHz band, but rural areas use 850MHz.

kind of an annoying name (2, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980814)

"Cognitive radio"?

A protocol that continually finds and hops to not-interfered-with frequencies is perhaps "intelligent" in a generic sort of way, but calling it "cognition" is a bit weird. It's pretty standard communications-theory stuff.

Re:kind of an annoying name (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981594)

Marketing wank.

Lies, Lies, Lies (2, Informative)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981068)

This company lies all the time. The company I work for tested this tech a few years ago in Missouri, but It was a failure. They have been trying to sell their product for the past 6+ years.

Any for-profit outdoor system (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981190)

should be using licensed spectrum. I know these guys all want to use the same radio that's built into every device, but commercial operators competing to drive up the noise floor does no-body any good. Pretty soon there won't be any gaps in the spectrum to be found - these radios will not be so "cognitive", "sentient", "feeling" or whatever the crap they claim to be when they have simply made ISM, U-NII and other unlicensed bands unusable.

Frequency Hopping and Security (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981208)

Assuming this works, does the frequency hopping make this kind of system more secure?

Re:Frequency Hopping and Security (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981694)

Somewhat. Frequency hopping was invented to prevent radio-steered torpedoes from being jammed by the enemy.

Re:Frequency Hopping and Security (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#33982948)

Somewhat. Frequency hopping was invented to prevent radio-steered torpedoes from being jammed by the enemy.

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

even more blocked ranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33981710)

Oh goody, now we can block even more of the spectrum from scanners and owning an old scanner will be illegal.

Ricochet did this a decade ago (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33981856)

Ricochet [qsl.net] did this in the 900MHz band using spread spectrum a decade ago, for wireless Internet access. They put up little nodes on street light poles, using a deal where the municipality got free data access. It worked fine, but only delivered dial-up speeds, so it was overrun by DSL and cable. Even back then, getting around narrowband interference was no big deal.

Re:Ricochet did this a decade ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33982920)

Most of those Ricochet modems are still in place out here in Oakland, CA just unplugged. Not much info online about them. Seems to me free for the taking.

enigma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33981978)

this is how the wireless functioned on the Enigma and was used by early cellphone companies that were all sued for killing babies

Does this mean (1)

gone.fishing (213219) | more than 3 years ago | (#33982022)

that Slashdot now needs a "Florida" tag?

Re:Does this mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33982252)

There should be a Florida tag letting everyone know the article hails from the scam capitol of the world.
Nigeria wishes the could run a ponzi like florida runs a ponzi

Re:Does this mean (1)

Huntr (951770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33982386)

Speaking as someone who lives in Florida, you can feel free to use whatever tag you have similar to "scam" in lieu of a "Florida" tag.

2.4Ghz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983390)

The technology has existed for ages in the 2.4Ghz band, and it's used for radio control things.

Cognitive radios, eh? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983462)

Instead of paying to reserve a section of wireless spectrum its owner, xG Technology, uses cognitive radios that steer signals through the unlicensed 900MHz band more normally used by cordless phones and baby monitors.

Strap on your tinfoil hats, people, because this time it's the real deal!

Yeah but will it...? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984384)

Does this mean later, cell phone co can actually use this technology, and lower their prices, or will they just use this, and still charge us an arm and a leg.......as we ARE the world's most highly charged for cell phone calls in the world.

Not so exciting (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984416)

If this ever caught on all it would do is make the 900mhz band so crowded as to be useless and still not even take a significant number of cellular users off the existing networks.

Frauds... total FRAUDS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985166)

These company behind these 'tests' appear to be complete and total frauds:

Google "Marc Dannenberg" and see some of the following:

http://xgtechnologyscam.blogspot.com/

After N.C.R. was closed down Dannenberg goes freelance, selling the shares of xG Technology, whilst projectile vomiting about xG all over the internet. Some of his ramping about xG going to $100 a share would make a psychologist gasp. (Check out the back records of iii.co.uk and look for Marcsanpedro.) All the time he was ramping on the bulletin boards and attacking any critic he was selling xG shares to unfortunate investors - even though he was not licensed, or ‘officially’ employed by xG. But these shares weren’t free market shares. Oh no. These shares are ‘Regulation S’ restricted shares owned by one of the xG Directors Palmi Sigmarsson.

Someone else mentioned this article earlier too:

http://www.ka9q.net/xmax.html

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