Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

White Space Wireless Broadband Trial In UK Is a Success

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the filling-in-the-spaces dept.

Networking 39

Mark.JUK writes "A major multinational ten month long trial of new 'White Space' technology (IEEE 802.22) in the United Kingdom, which uses the spare radio spectrum that exists between Digital Terrestrial TV (DTV) channels to deliver wireless internet access services over a wide area, has officially completed today and been deemed 'successful.' The technology, if approved, could one day help to bring faster broadband services to both isolated rural and urban areas. The TV White Spaces Consortium, which comprises 17 international and UK technology and media companies (BT, Microsoft, BBC, Alcatel-Lucent etc.), has now recommended that the UK regulator, Ofcom, complete its development of the 'enabling regulatory framework' (i.e. Draft Statutory Instrument) in a 'manner that protects licensees' from 'harmful' interference and encourages innovation and deployment."

cancel ×

39 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

harmful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39803739)

to the brosdband or DTV signals?

Re:harmful? Can't make things worse for me... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39803851)

to the brosdband or DTV signals?

Since, after the recent two rounds of DTB retuning in the UK, my digital TV has stopped being able to find any signals, introducing more into the spectrum can't make it any worse for me :-|

How much free frequencies are left? (0)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803895)

With frequencies being grabbed left, right and center, for whatever reason, I wonder how much frequencies are left out there for future use?

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39803913)

With frequencies being grabbed left, right and center, for whatever reason, I wonder how much frequencies are left out there for future use?

An infinite number ..... of zero bandwidth!

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (2)

Ozoner (1406169) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804049)

That's the whole point: There aren't any free frequencies left. White Space technology is an attempt to squeeze the last drop.

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804063)

That's the whole point: There aren't any free frequencies left. White Space technology is an attempt to squeeze the last drop.

I can't predict the future, but what if ...

What if 10 years from now someone actually invent the technology that can transfer matter from one location to the next, remotely - just like "Star Trek" - but they need radio frequency to accomplish that task

With "free" frequency all exhausted, that new invention can be put to use, can it?

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (2)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804193)

I think everyone can agree we can do without QVC.

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (3, Funny)

smpoole7 (1467717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804947)

> I think everyone can agree we can do without QVC.

Tell my wife that. I'll pop up some popcorn and watch.

From a safe distance. :)

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39804203)

_IF_ they actually invented that, that is what the FCC (in the US) and its counterparts are for. Since the radio frequencies are "public goods" the government can just call "eminent domain" and say that whatever frequencies it needs it can use (DoD does this). [and this is assuming it _only_ works on a certain set of frequencies... If it works on any frequency, then the FCC would dedicate small parts of different ranges for different purposes. Most would go to military use (lets be real about this... IMHO) ]

However... If it can be transmuted into radio frequencies... it could also be sent over other analog signals, and probably digital...but were entering completely sci-fi-realm now... so "ehh" to the rules of physics...

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39804205)

Well you would be out of luck, because I'm signing karaoke on that freq. Move your matter some other way.

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (3, Insightful)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804251)

What if 10 years from now someone actually invent the technology that can transfer matter from one location to the next, remotely - just like "Star Trek" - but they need radio frequency to accomplish that task

With "free" frequency all exhausted, that new invention can be put to use, can it?

You mean they can't do things like stopping transmissions of analog TV signals to free up spectrum? Like they've just done?

If there's a good reason to change frequency allocations, they'll be changed. As long as Ofcom (the relevant UK regulator given that this is a UK story; substitute with correct regulator in your locality as needed) remember to put things in place so that they can get the white-space frequency users out of the way of a regulated use, there'll be no significant problem. I guess that the devices in question will probably have to periodically (maybe monthly?) acquire the list of permitted frequencies for their locality somehow.

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39807773)

To be fair, the Analog TV shutdown was pretty simple, since it was a one way transmission situation.

I can't imagine this test involved many remote transceivers, but unless listen-before-you-talk logic is not included in any consumer devices the problems of getting rid of them when new bandwidth allocations are necessary could be significant.

There are more than a few virtually forgotten routers in my neighborhood, some left plugged in even after the home-owners moved out and the place if up for sale. These go nowhere, their upstream having been disconnected, but they are still broadcasting as long as there is power in the house (which there typically is in houses for sale).

Much more spectrum is available WITHIN the DTV channels (far more than what is available in the gaps between them), and most areas not all DTV channels are in use. TFA seems to suggest they were only using the bandwidth in the buffers between channels. Having a few rogue routers yapping in channel would be problematic for new stations, or when routers are moved.

Someone is sure to recommend a command and control channel for these routers to pick up their channel allocations, and someone else is sure to hack and exploit that the minute it is deployed.

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39807845)

In the UK turning-off analog only freed-up channels 7-13.... not a drastic difference. In the US it was 52-69 that was freed.

BTW I have no empty channels where I live. It's a side effect of living in the highly-populated northeast, so the whitespace device would be pointless. Every channel has a broadcast TV station.

Does the UK TV have any empty space? I thought all their channels were filled too, using multiplexes that span from former channels 14 to 60?

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39809167)

Just because you can pick up a channel, doesn't mean you're actually in that channel's specified broadcasting territory. You being able to pick up a channel is simply a side-effect of how a wireless signal that is strong for 10's (100's?) of miles doesn't simply degrade from strong to nil over the course of a few feet, so there's probably a couple channels that could technically be used for this in your region.

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804415)

Bah, they will just use pneumatic mail [wikipedia.org] like folks always did!

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (0)

Ozoner (1406169) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804687)

Future, wide bandwidth applications will used fibre optics, not wireless

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39805089)

Eventually we are supposed to be turning off analogue radio and older mobile phone frequency bands.

Analogue radio switch-over to digital is failing badly at the moment. Most new cars don't even have a digital radio.

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39811801)

Eventually we are supposed to be turning off analogue radio and older mobile phone frequency bands.

Analogue radio switch-over to digital is failing badly at the moment. Most new cars don't even have a digital radio.

Most of what you wrote there is complete gibberish. Do you mean AM/FM radio vs satelite radio?

AM/FM radio isn't going away anytime soon.

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (1)

Ultracrepidarian (576183) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804073)

So, maybe we could use the internet for essentially all communication. Possible? Just a thought.

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804821)

Next step - get this all enabled w/ IPv6, and just skip IPv4 altogether.

Re:How much free frequencies are left? (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804671)

That all depends on the use. Various bands have different properties which make them desirable for different things. Some bands propagate well only in line of sight but can carry large amounts of data. Others can bounce off the atmosphere and talk all the way around the world. Some frequencies are useful for talking to satellites. Few frequencies penetrate heavy ground / water.

We are only running out of frequencies for some services. Also it's worth noting that frequencies are often assigned in blocks. For instance our government licences 800MHz for 2-way landmobile communication. Great stuff, except that really limits the available gear here since much of the rest of the world also usees 400MHz for 2-way landmobile.

Most importantly of all, these frequency assignments are variable. They get reviewed, and they get changed depending on the needs (of the corporations usually).

upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39803763)

Looks like it's time to upgrade my tinfoil hat!

what is it? (-1, Offtopic)

sopcast.vn (2626291) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804013)

website http://sopcast.vn/ [sopcast.vn]

Beats By Dr.Dre (-1, Offtopic)

monster007 (2585623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804027)

If you are the music the way you want to get Beats By Dr.Dre [cheapbeatbydre.us] the best sound quality can be. In addition, you should be able to move and listen to music, look good, when you do it correctly? If this sounds like you, then you will want to know more about Beats By Dr.Dre Pro Headphnoes [cheapbeatbydre.us] . In this article, we will focus on his talents, to let you know dance by Monster Beats Solo Headphones [cheapbeatbydre.us] .

My 0.25 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39804165)

Yeah the internet gets developed and becomes a perfectly acceptable way of communicating to pretty much anywhere in the world. Then the $e£$£e step in and all of sudden you need wireless, sure it has its benefits... But to the average Joe on the street why would I want to use my laptop in the garden! I live in the UK, it'd only get wet and break! (Also; I don't have a laptop, another story!)

Apart from the obvious, really obvious benefits, i.e. no wires, its a pretty rubbish way of getting a connection. Its advertised(can you see where im going with this?) as a way to be more free to do things where ever you are. All I can see it as is just another way to get us to put our hands in our pockets but bringing no actual perceived benefit to the end user, except the supposed benefits of freedom, more time to do stuff (what!) sold to us by the big Telcos.

Re:My 0.25 (4, Informative)

worip (1463581) | more than 2 years ago | (#39804217)

You're missing the point - this is to cover areas with broadband access that previously did not have access (or had really slow access because they are located so far from an exchange). This won't give you coverage in your garden (that is what WiFi is for), it is more to get a bigger internet pipe to your house so that you can get some decent speeds.

Re:My 0.25 (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39805291)

You're missing the point - this is to cover areas with broadband access that previously did not have access (or had really slow access because they are located so far from an exchange).

I don't know what it's like in the UK, but in the states, if you're in a rural area (no broadband), you generally also have no DTV reception and have to resort to satellite.

Re:My 0.25 (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39805653)

I don't know what it's like in the UK, but in the states, if you're in a rural area (no broadband), you generally also have no DTV reception and have to resort to satellite.

Yes, that's the point -- locations for which the DTV stations are out of range, form a "TV White Space," where the DTV frequencies are not used. The frequencies then can be re-used for other applications, like wireless, wide-area Internet access. It gives the person in rural areas an alternative to satellites.

Re:My 0.25 (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39806433)

Yes, that's the point -- locations for which the DTV stations are out of range, form a "TV White Space," where the DTV frequencies are not used. The frequencies then can be re-used for other applications, like wireless, wide-area Internet access. It gives the person in rural areas an alternative to satellites.

No, that is not the point. White space is, as the summary points out, the space between DTV stations (i.e., unassigned to any station, empty "guardband" space between channels, much like using the white space margins on a piece of paper for notes). My point is that in rural areas where you can't get DTV, you are unlikely to receive broadband wireless on these frequencies because of terrain (e.g., mountains). Where there isn't enough market to put a TV station, is there enough market for a broadband station?

Re:My 0.25 (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39806521)

My point is that in rural areas where you can't get DTV, you are unlikely to receive broadband wireless on these frequencies because of terrain (e.g., mountains). Where there isn't enough market to put a TV station, is there enough market for a broadband station?

But hardly anyone lives there. Where there are mountains, people tend to live in the valleys between them, and those are largely practical to cover with smaller transmitters. Furthermore, the same transmitters could be tasked with offering both TV and "wireless internet" signals, allowing enough profit to be made off them to make much smaller installations viable.

Even the most rural parts of the UK are mostly not nearly as rural as the most rural parts of the US.

Sorry, no. (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39808097)

The summary means "between" in the physical sense -- when there is a physical space between the coverage area of DTV stations. Read a little about IEEE 802.22 [wikipedia.org] . (Maybe the second sentence in Wikipedia will help: "The development of the IEEE 802.22 WRAN standard is aimed at using cognitive radio (CR) techniques to allow sharing of geographically unused spectrum allocated to the Television Broadcast Service. . . .") An 802.22 signal has a bandwidth of 6, 7, or 8 MHz, depending on the bandwidth of the television channels used in the relevant country: It's not a narrow, "guardband" type of signal shoved in between the channels somehow.

Regardless, your question, "Where there isn't enough market to put a TV station, is there enough market for a broadband station?" to me remains the question to be answered about TVWS. Will applications be found for it that are economically viable?

Re:My 0.25 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39805597)

Everyone is missing the hidden fact.

All wireless broadband providers install systems that attempt to compete with wired broadband. At the usable frequencies in the U.S. this means the system only works for folks in densely populated areas or those in between that area and the WiPOP. Anyone outside of the propagation lobe remains slave to old technology or technology useless for anything but streaming down-link, if you can stand the lag time. When it rains, it doesn't pour.

No money centered entity will ever provide service geared for rural customers. The customer density isn't there.

My local Telco has had DSL equipment installed and running in the local switch for more than 10 years. They will not sell the service because it wouldn't be a profit maker. I know. I'm the one maintaining the switch and I'm limited to the lies of the satellite companies.

Re:My 0.25 (1)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39805841)

Yep. In the rural area I live: right now I have the fun choice of either sticking with my two year old technology that gets terrible download and upload speed, but can be canceled at any time because there is no contract, or upgrading to download speeds that are almost as good as what most people have had in suburban areas for about three years, but being tied to a minimum two year contract.

Because there's not a shit-ton of us out there, we just get shit-on.

Re:My 0.25 (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39806497)

No money centered entity will ever provide service geared for rural customers. The customer density isn't there.

That is why AT&T was required to provide service to rural areas, per government regulations as one of the 'penalties' for being a 'blessed monopoly'. ( before some senator got a burr up his butt and broke them up )

oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39804341)

which uses the spare radio spectrum that exists between Digital Terrestrial TV (DTV) channels

Spend a moment, dear reader, thinking about how much bandwidth that is - contrast with 802.11 if you will - and divide it among the number of users.

has now recommended that the UK regulator, Ofcom, complete its development of the 'enabling regulatory framework' (i.e. Draft Statutory Instrument) in a 'manner that protects licensees' from 'harmful' interference and encourages innovation and deployment."

Ofcom's responsibility, turning the function of the Radiocommunications Agency on its head, is basically to protect big business from anyone who tries to behave responsibly with the spectrum, ignoring abusers. The first step of such businesses is to go whining to Ofcom for some secondary legislation (i.e. government edict with no Parliamentary scrutiny) to protect their abuse.

Cambridge now has a city wide WhiteSpace network (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39804987)

One day? It looks like its happening now:

http://www.neul.com/neul-pr-250412.php

IEEE 802.22 TVWS standard available at no charge (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39811985)

...at the IEEE Get Program web site [ieee.org] .

TOO EARLY to tell... (1)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39820301)

whether whitespace broadband will be success. The Emperors are just now arriving at the rookery sites and mating will soon commence. After eggs are transfered to the males and the females go off to feed, expect some early indications July at the earliest to see how many eggs have survived the difficult incubation period. During total whiteout conditions of deep Antarctic winter they will huddle together in the whitespace. If too many eggs have frozen or dropped onto the ice the telecoms may as well hang it all up. September is when we'll know for sure if the spectrum left over from old telly channels can store enough fish goo for regurgitation. In December the grown chicks will be off we'll have a real fledge count to go on. I hope they will be big and fat so we all can get more throughput.

What about ham radio? (1)

wwphx (225607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39828963)

I remember the power line broadband trials were terribly noisy for ham radio services, I wonder if this is any better.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>