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FCC To Test Opening White Spaces Up To Public

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the space-rush dept.

Government 68

GovTechGuy writes "The FCC will begin a test on Monday that will give the public access to 'white spaces,' the unused spectrum between TV and radio stations. The Commission is in the process of opening up the airwaves for public use; the last release of unlicensed airwaves eventually spawned a number of innovations such as WiFi, cordless phones and baby monitors. Officials hope this move will lead to better WiFi technology that can cover up to 50 miles."

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First Post (3, Interesting)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 2 years ago | (#37402850)

from my un-hackable 50mi wi-fi connection

Second Post (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37402876)

Second post. From your hackable 50mi wi-fi connection.

Re:Second Post (2)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#37406220)

WouId have had 3rd post, but everybody within 50 miles seems to be using this 'unhackable' connection... It's taken forever to post this.

Clarification (4, Informative)

Saishuuheiki (1657565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37402856)

I think summary need to be clarified.

The FCC is beginning a test Monday that will give public access to a database to be used to identify frequency bands available. This database will be used to determine what frequencies are available when the 'white spaces' go public.

Re:Clarification (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403754)

I think summary need to be clarified.

The FCC is beginning a test Monday that will give public access to a database to be used to identify frequency bands available. This database will be used to determine what frequencies are available when the 'white spaces' go public.

Ah, this does nothing but ask for even more clarification, as it would suggest that the FCC currently does not know exactly how the public would react to having access to this database? What is this, VC fishing from the FCC or something? C'mon, like we don't know what's going to happen when you offer up frequency bandwidth for public consumption? Please. I guarantee you the Ciscos, Microsofts, and Googles of the world have an answer...or probably 4,723 of them.

Re:Clarification (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37406224)

Ah, this does nothing but ask for even more clarification, as it would suggest that the FCC currently does not know exactly how the public would react to having access to this database?

If you need more clarification, you could, you know, RTFA!

Here, let me help you:

But the FCC's rules require that device-makers contact a database system to obtain a list of channels that aren't currently being used by radio services at their current locations to prevent possible interference with broadcasts.

Re:Clarification (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37411518)

C'mon, like we don't know what's going to happen when you offer up frequency bandwidth for public consumption? Please. I guarantee you the Ciscos, Microsofts, and Googles of the world have an answer...or probably 4,723 of them.

You better cool your guns if you don't want to get downmodded around here - you're implying that the government's artificial restriction on frequency use has prevented the kind of economic development activity you're talking about, and that just can't be happening in our environment. It's good for a handful of 'overrated's around here - rarely a substantive reply, though.

Re:Clarification (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438014)

I think summary need to be clarified.

The FCC is beginning a test Monday that will give public access to a database to be used to identify frequency bands available. This database will be used to determine what frequencies are available when the 'white spaces' go public.

It's a public test of the database system which white-space equipment must use to determine what channels (current but locally available tv channels, not the former ones above 51, or frequencies between tv/radio channels) are available for use without causing problems.

It's a bit strange that viewing the maps requires Silverlight. Something new shouldn't be using dying tech.

trial site:
http://whitespaces.spectrumbridge.com/Trial.aspx [spectrumbridge.com]

The F.C.C. blog posting:
http://www.fcc.gov/blog/fcc-announces-public-testing-first-television-white-spaces-database [fcc.gov]

FR1$t P0ST (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37402858)

FR1$t P0ST

50km? (1)

bsharp8256 (1372285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37402900)

I'd love to be able to reach my home connection from that distance, but do we really want 10,000 "linksys" APs showing up when doing a scan?

Re:50km? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37402946)

Obviously nobody running a WAN that covers 50mi is going to be stupid enough to broadcast the SSID. And certainly not 10,000 of them.

Re:50km? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403042)

I'm broadcasting 10,000 SSIDs right now just to drive the neighbors crazy. When you get that many SSIDs in one place the dogs can hear it. Don't think your neighborhood won't be next.

Re:50km? (1)

Vegemeister (1259976) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403162)

Anyone running a WAN that covers 50mi should be fined for abuse of radio spectrum if they don't broadcast the SSID.

Re:50km? (1)

batquux (323697) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403308)

But just because you can do 50mi doesn't mean you have to. Reduce the power and get 2 mile wifi...now that's handy.

Re:50km? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37407872)

You might have enough power to SEND out to 50 miles, but do the people connecting have enough power to REPLY?

You need signals going BOTH directions to have a network. Otherwise it's just a broadcast.

Re:50km? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37402960)

Oh god yes!

Re:50km? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403078)

Oh god no. Spectrum pollution would be untenable. That's why the 5GHz band is so great. Consumer 5GHz range barely extends beyond the front street of a large home. 2.4GHz is ineffective these days.

Re:50km? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403652)

Where you see pollution I see opportunity! A veritable Las Vegas Strip of interconnected, interlaced access points, all communicating with the net and also with themselves... Once again we will have free speech because no one will be able to monitor all that obfuscation - at least for a while.

Re:50km? (1)

pearl298 (1585049) | more than 2 years ago | (#37404414)

All you are doing with 5Ghz is adding a few channels!

2.4Ghz has only 11 overlapping channels in th e US - that is where the problem lies.

Hopefully a WAN implementation will define 10K channels and all will be well for a few months ... :-(

Personally I like the idea of infra red lasers - NO license, VERY directional and HUGE bandwidth!

Oh yes and a 50 mi+ range in Ham competition tests

Re:50km? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37405824)

2.4 interference is much worse. 802.11g routers typically broadcast over an entire city block. 802.11n routers @ 5 GHz: 1-2 parallel houses. So the 2.4 band becomes unusable in a large city.

Re:50km? (1)

pearl298 (1585049) | more than 2 years ago | (#37406974)

I would point out that there are far more mobile phones on these bands than routers! The difference is essentially one of proper spectrum management and number of channels available.

Re:50km? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37402968)

IMO... AP's that show up during a scan should only be Unencrypted Public AP's ... whats the point in having encrypted AP's showing up in a scan ?? ... if you know the key, you should know the AP's name.

this would solve that issue.

Re:50km? (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#37402994)

I'd love to be able to reach my home connection from that distance, but do we really want 10,000 "linksys" APs showing up when doing a scan?

The article is talking about something more like wimax [wikimedia.org] rather than personal access points.

Re:50km? (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403122)

Yea, but wouldn't you want to try and negotiate a clean channel with 10,000 other people rather then just have a few wimax points. Just think of the current issues with just 14 channels using wifi depending on regulations. 10,000 people setting up their AP to the same factory default settings sounds like fun.

Re:50km? (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403214)

I've stayed in hotels with WiFi where they put all of their stations on the same channel. I guess they didn't want to interfere with outside channels... just interfere with their own customers.

Re:50km? (1)

Omniscient Lurker (1504701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37402996)

If you get a way to search through the ssids, yes. Think of the free internet possibilities. No longer does there need to be one technologically challenged person on your street, no you just need one in the city.

Joking obviously. Don't steal wifi; it messes up the owner's ability to stream porn.

Re:50km? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403074)

Don't steal wifi; it messes up the owner's ability to stream porn.

It helps mine though.

Re:50km? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403116)

Is it really stolen if it is never gone? Any unencrypted radio signal on public frequencies should be considered public.

Re:50km? (1)

Omniscient Lurker (1504701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403258)

If you are limiting the owner's bandwidth it is stealing. The "stealing" analogy only applies to everything beyond to router. Which if the owner pays by the (giga)byte does remove resources he paid for.

Re:50km? (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 2 years ago | (#37406962)

So basically, what you're telling me is that if my neighbor is blasting music at my property day in and day out, it's not cool to go ask the DJ to play a different song if the neighbor neither notices nor seemingly cares?

Re:50km? (1)

Omniscient Lurker (1504701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37408562)

That analogy makes no sense.

Re:50km? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403544)

Yes it is gone. First, your connection can only go so fast at a time. Second, your home router can only handle so many connections before slowing down and crashing. Third, many people have quotas on their internet. Mine is 250GB a month, and excessively going over that can get the connection disconnected. The alternatives to Comcast are much worse than Comcast. There are four people in the house. That is just 2GB per day, per person. For the most part, we have enough for ourselves, but we don't have extra to spare.

Re:50km? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403020)

but do we really want 10,000 "linksys" APs showing up when doing a scan?

It'll provide more input for wireless-survey-driven location detection logic.

Re:50km? (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403070)

do we care?

How Racist (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37402930)

only access to 'white spaces'?

Re:How Racist (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403260)

actually the opposite---the FCC is considering allowing more color into the heretofore reserved 'white spaces'

Re:How Racist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37405090)

They can have the frequency at that back of the white spaces.

Dual use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403012)

My new wi-fi connection can also cook hotdogs from 50 ft away.

Mesh networks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403022)

Does anyone know if this would allow citizens to build a national network the could compete with the Internet?

Roof top routers (1)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 2 years ago | (#37413514)

Does anyone know if this would allow citizens to build a national network the could compete with the Internet?

Not the Internet, Not say cross country. But perhaps we can by pass the local cell(phone) towers. What we want are many ISP's that can provide competition for access to the the Internet. The goal being that we pay a fare price for good service, and not just pad the pockets of the monopolies. And not the 388kbit DSL that most of us get when we do not live packed in like Sardines. and Yes I live only two miles from a brick and mortar Version switch building.

Roof top routers should allow phones to work over much greater ranges as the data hops from roof to roof. well over 100 miles. with no paying for Air time. Or texting fee. Voice takes a tiny 56kbs. compared to WiFi as 54,000kbs. You are not going to find the bandwidth for down loading movies. Thats another story, all about NetIntegrity.

On the down side, I thing this is designed to fail.

The dead space in the TV bands are Best used out in Farm country. Where the next house is a mile or more away. In urban communities we should be using higher frequencies closer to the WiFi ranges but with less power restrictions. The lack of bandwidth in this test is just going to end up in a 'I told you so' ending to the test.

We also need a commitment to the right frequencies so that manufactures will produce the appropriate hardware. Without the hardware this will fail.

The FCC needs to recall bandwidth for this. It is not the FCC's bandwidth to give away like candy.

ham radios rejoice! (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403062)

a number of innovations such as WiFi, cordless phones and baby monitors.

Gee, thanks for that. Those things tend to be the scourge of the airwaves.

Re:ham radios rejoice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403634)

"This device complies with Part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions: (1) this device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation."

Re:ham radios rejoice! (2)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403706)

Yea, if only it was that easy [qrz.com] . You have to try and resolve it yourself... and good luck dealing with the soccer moms. You might have the law on your side, but it takes a long time to go about it that way.

Re:ham radios rejoice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403824)

Soccer mom won't be building her own router. Manufacturer guidelines could limit the amount of interference. Class A, band pass filters, sheilding, Spread Spectrum.

Re:ham radios rejoice! (2)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403872)

Eh? What are you on about? Go read the link. Family buys cheap baby monitor that spews all over the spectrum. HAM tries to help. Soccer mom freaks out (even to the point of trying to file a criminal complaint). Typical story, from what I understand.

Re:ham radios rejoice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37404476)

Eh? What are you on about? Go read the link. Family buys cheap baby monitor that spews all over the spectrum. HAM tries to help. Soccer mom freaks out (even to the point of trying to file a criminal complaint). Typical story, from what I understand.

I don't think it was a soccer mom, more likely trailer trash whose adult son was "disabled" as a result of too many generations of inbreeding.

Whitespace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403184)

Ifyougivepeopleaccesstowhitespacetheterroristswin.

Re:Whitespace? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37407876)

Considering how our rights are being eroded left and right I would call the GOVERNMENT the terrorist.

4 meters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403194)

I'd like a 4 meter allocation, please. Get us in line with the Europeans.

Re:4 meters (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37405122)

I think your allocation request is biologically impossible. And, Europeans tend to exaggerate.

Awesome Engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403198)

Well their website ( http://whitespaces.spectrumbridge.com/Trial.aspx ) was timing out about 5 minutes ago. I go back to it now though and am greeted by just a single image named "Capture.png"

They're solution to timeouts: render an image instead and hope no one notices

I thought it said "opening white spaces up to... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403286)

... NON-WHITES"...
Because apparently that's 'the way it is' nowadays - you know, what with white people not being ALLOWED to simply associate with their own kind...

Otherwise the TV will call you a heretic! ('Racist').

So slowly our countries are being destroyed by millions of worthless, selfish, hate-filled, parasitic third worlders...

Every single one of them knows that they are destroying our once safe and beautiful countries, and dragging us down into third world status with them.

OTA TV reception impact? (2)

GrumpyOldMan (140072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403456)

I'm a cord-cutter & I'm worried about the impact this will have on my free TV reception.

My understanding is that these devices are supposed to phone home, and find an "unused" UHF TV channel, so that they don't interfere with local TV broadcasts. But what is the definition of "unused" ? Will I still be able to pick up TV stations from 60 miles away, or will they be drowned out by the neighbors wireless gadgets? How about low-power (college / community) stations?

And then there are hacked gadgets (like people do now to enable wifi channel 14) and broken gadgets to worry about.

Re:OTA TV reception impact? (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403822)

I'm a cord-cutter & I'm worried about the impact this will have on my free TV reception.

My understanding is that these devices are supposed to phone home, and find an "unused" UHF TV channel, so that they don't interfere with local TV broadcasts. But what is the definition of "unused" ? Will I still be able to pick up TV stations from 60 miles away, or will they be drowned out by the neighbors wireless gadgets? How about low-power (college / community) stations?

And then there are hacked gadgets (like people do now to enable wifi channel 14) and broken gadgets to worry about.

You bring some sound points here. Perhaps it is too much of a risk to interfere with data streams(digital TV) that are dependent on good signal quality.

Or perhaps this is all part of Obamas big job push. Let people interfere with public broadcasting so they can justify another Department of Homeland Obscurity and a 150,000-man FCC goon squad that will run around the country with scanners to fine/arrest violators.

And the link in the article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403514)

goes to an ASP-generated page that just shows a screenshot? What the hay?

http://whitespaces.spectrumbridge.com/Trial.aspx

What about all those WiFi-headache wingnuts? (1)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403594)

There will be nowhere for them to escape to now.

i wished they would upgrade the specs of GMRS/FRS (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403606)

i would like to buy a 5 watt mobile UHF radio and a 5 watt UHF base station and both can use external antennas of my choice so i can RX/TX a few miles out on them.

Re:i wished they would upgrade the specs of GMRS/F (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37404076)

i would like to buy a 5 watt mobile UHF radio and a 5 watt UHF base station and both can use external antennas of my choice so i can RX/TX a few miles out on them.

Would you like 40 or 50 watts? That's a typical ham mobile power in the UHF band. Get thyself a ham license and have at it.

Oh, you want to talk commercial topics? Pssst, most, if not all, and at least many, UHF ham radios can be "opened up" and will cover the GMRS/FRS frequencies. Remove a jumper/0 ohm SMD resistor and bingo. Go to mods.dk for info. Don't tell the FCC.

Re:i wished they would upgrade the specs of GMRS/F (1)

Achra (846023) | more than 2 years ago | (#37404650)

i would like to buy a 5 watt mobile UHF radio and a 5 watt UHF base station and both can use external antennas of my choice so i can RX/TX a few miles out on them.

GMRS licensees are already authorized to transmit up to 50w and to have detachable antennas and there are repeaters as well. Ta-da! Your wish has been granted!

Say goodbye to wireless microphones (1)

rwhealey (957969) | more than 2 years ago | (#37403720)

Most wireless microphones operate in the "white space" frequency ranges. The FCC pushed wireless users out of the 698-806 MHz a couple years ago and caused havoc in the theater and concert industries - the small theater I worked for spent over thirty thousand dollars replacing their wireless mics, because it is now illegal to buy, sell, or use a 700 MHz microphone. I can't imagine what it will be like if they take away all the spectrum. It's hard enough as is to do frequency coordination for twenty or thirty mics that are used in larger productions. More info here: http://www.shure.com/americas/news-events/spectrum-issues/white-spaces/index.htm [shure.com]

Re:Say goodbye to wireless microphones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37406650)

That was a good move I was sick and tired of having my TV reception stuffed up every time they put a outdoor concert in the sports field next to my house. The bloody wireless mikes interfered with the local UHF TV repeater. The authorities said they could do nothing about it and the concert people could not give a f**k.

Oh great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37403744)

Supports lots of browsers! Yay!

And requires freaking Silverlight. I'm sure that will work wonderfully on my Linux boxen.

Some anonymous MS-loving loser programmer wins again.

Re:Oh great... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37404064)

Even better, it is currently just one big png image. I thought the last web designer that thought that was OK was beaten to death with a wet squirrel back in '99. We can only hope that's just a stand-in until the trial starts, but given that they made it dependent on silverlight, I'm not betting on it..

I guess the FCC only wants to hear from people who give their money to three time losers.

Windows users ONLY! (0)

pearl298 (1585049) | more than 2 years ago | (#37404218)

"The test facility at http://whitespaces.spectrumbridge.com/Trial.aspx [spectrumbridge.com] is non-responsive to Linux machines you gotta use Windows. This sort of blind spot on their part (and embrace of proprietary technologies) does not bode well for an effort to ensure inter-device compatibility!"
Not only that, but Mac users are ALSO excluded!
You need MS SIlverlight (!!!!) installed to use the FCC site!
That excludes some 20%+ of all Internet users as I read the numbers. Yes this is a GREAT "test"!

Moonloght (1)

David89 (2022710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37404574)

let me shed some moonlight on the subject

Re:Moonloght (2)

pearl298 (1585049) | more than 2 years ago | (#37406352)

let me shed some moonlight on the subject

The site is set up so moonlight does not work, ONLY Genuine "Silverlight"!!

Bandwidth theft! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37404390)

How dare they steal this bandwidth away from corporate profiteering.

Re:Bandwidth theft! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37407538)

How am I going to get my ads now!?
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