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WiFi 802.22 Can Cover 12,000 Square Miles

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  • Finally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Monday August 01, 2011 @01:09PM (#36949322)
    Someone's finally planning to plan to do something with the spectrum? We didn't downgrade ourselves to digital TV for nothing?
    • Re:Finally (Score:5, Funny)

      by robthebloke (1308483) on Monday August 01, 2011 @01:24PM (#36949564)
      It's pretty useless really. How many people can afford to buy a house that covers 12,000 sqr miles? What's the point in that? When will technology companies learn that enough is enough! It's just like the time Apple went and released the iPad. My iPhone squeezed in my trouser pockets just fine, but I had to get all my trousers upgraded to the 'apple approved trouser pocket size' when I got my iPad, and to add insult to injury, they only went and bloody removed the 'phone' part. This is just yet another unreasonable attempt at extracting more money from consumers, and I for one am disgusted! Right. I'd better go start saving for a larger house....
      • by xclr8r (658786)
        Think Agriculture or more specifically ranching. Rancher's spend a lot of their time monitoring their animals... if it can be done remotely that saves a lot of time, gas and keeps you playing WoW/Eve Online longer if you have real-time remote monitoring.
      • Wow, imagine when everybody has this in their Netgear router. "You have 120,000 unprotected Wi-Fi access points near you. Select a source to connect"
        • Re:Finally (Score:4, Informative)

          by camperslo (704715) on Monday August 01, 2011 @02:05PM (#36950112)

          Actually what they're talking about is ONE base station covering a radius of 62 miles (pi r squared = 12,000 sq miles). The 22 MB/S is based on use of one 6 Mhz tv channel and that's a TOTAL for all user traffic and overhead on the channel. Some channel hopping is possible but it is doubtful that people would want antenna covering the whole tv spectrum (great big UHF/VHF antenna). Antennas made for a portion of the spectrum could provide better gain and in some cases much smaller size. Clients would have an outdoor directional antenna and GPS. Range would usually be best at the lowest frequencies (channel 2 is 54-60 MHz) But the antenna for that would be pretty large. The upper UHF frequencies can do pretty well if line of sight. Coverage at a distance would be spotty otherwise.

          Let's hope the signals occasionally getting reflected off of airplanes doesn't cause too much grief for tv reception.

          PDF overview of standard
          http://www.ieee802.org/22/Technology/22-10-0073-03-0000-802-22-overview-and-core-technologies.pdf [ieee802.org]

          • by Adriax (746043)

            I wonder how small of a plasma antenna could be used for something like this?

        • I wonder whose door the authorities will kick down when they see something illegal going on over the network?

      • by vlueboy (1799360)

        Not needing to pay $60+ a month to tether a mobile laptop legally would certainly be cool to companies and their short-range travellers / roaming techs. 12000 sqr miles is not that much really. It represents a rectangle 400 x 30 miles.

        It's way too big for any farm I know of, but should suit your M.A.N. just fine, and probably save a ton of cash on line-of-sight lasers for college-campus building conglomerate connectivity, or even ground-tearing for fiber runs. For a cab company that wishes to switch from sp

        • by saider (177166)

          400x30 is a really poor visualization for a WiFi like antenna. A circle about 85 miles across, is a much more intuitive way to understand 12000 square miles.

        • Not needing to pay $60+ a month to tether a mobile laptop legally would certainly be cool to companies and their short-range travellers / roaming techs. 12000 sqr miles is not that much really. It represents a rectangle 400 x 30 miles.

          That's some odd gear you've got if the signal propagates in a rectangle. I think the reference you were looking for is a 62 mile diameter circle. [wolframalpha.com]

      • by formfeed (703859)

        It's pretty useless really. How many people can afford to buy a house that covers 12,000 sqr miles? What's the point in that?

        Not a lot. But just think of the enormous trickle down effect that will help all of us!

  • Should I change the password and enable WPA?

    Or allow my neighbors in a 12,000 sq mile radius to share my connection?

    I like sharing, it seems neighborly.

    • by Timmmm (636430)

      Ha ha, what is a 12,000 sq mile radius?

  • Range in "square miles"? That's as silly as this [lee-phillips.org].
  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday August 01, 2011 @01:15PM (#36949400) Homepage Journal
    By my calculations, you could cover the entire continental US with just under 250 of those base stations. Obviously real life factors would increase that number quite a lot, but that still doesn't seem like that many towers. I'm guessing it's probably not practical to put very many people on a single tower, so such a system would have to be fairly exclusive (probably expensive).
    • While I'm sure not that many people could go onto each tower, this could still be useful for getting broadband to areas where homes are very spread out.

    • The flip side is that you don't need to cover the entire country, and most of the areas you would need to cover have fairly low population density. This could be a real solution for rural areas that are going to be hard to service with cable or DSL. Urban and suburban areas already have wired access; and while more choices are always nice I can't see this being a match in capability, reliability and price.

      • This has potential to dramatically improve US internet access. In China, they have been able to completely ignore the pain that the US had in wiring the entire country with telephones because they can just stick up one tower and give an entire remote village cell phone service. This allowed China to get the entire country phone service in a matter of decade (not decades). It'd be great if the US could do something similar with broadband internet.

      • "This could be a real solution for rural areas that are going to be hard to service with cable or DSL."

        This.

    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      Well, first off, I'm assuming that you just took the US land area (in sq miles) and divided by 12,000. Unfortunately, the areas are circles, not squares, so you need overlap in order to cover all land area. (fitting circles edge to edge leaves ~22% of the area uncovered.) I have no idea how many extra stations you would really need, and no time/ immediate desire to calculate it, but it would probably be at least 30-40% more, at a quick guess. Not counting for terrain. (the problem of the most efficient way

      • by JSBiff (87824)

        "So, it'll never replace other systems, but it could be useful for government work (search and rescue, park rangers, and of course the military) or people who live way, way outside civilization and can't get satellite systems."

        I wonder about potential mesh-networking applications? Somewhat highspeed wireless backbone, anyone?

        I know that licensed Ham radio operators can already take WiFi, adjust the frequency it operates on to be inside amateur portion of 2.4 Ghz, connect it to external, directional antennas

    • Blimps/Aero-Sattelites hovering at around 40,000 ft that gets them above a lot of the atmosphere and a lot of the weather.

      At that height the output of solar panels goes up compared to ground based solar, because there is a lot less atmosphere absorbing the energy before it gets to the panel.

      The solar power could be used for the repeaters, antennas, eletric propellors for station keeping, etc.

      And systems like these could be deployed over a disaster site like Haiti very quickly to network emergency responders

    • Your calculations are incorrect. If we take the land area for just the continental U.S., you'd need a minimum of 260 towers to cover the same area. And you'd need 317 if you wanted to include the land area of Alaska and Hawaii as well. Mind you, those numbers fail to take into account the fact that most of the coverage would be lost to overlap between towers, which would mean you'd actually need significantly more towers. Those numbers also assume that you're able to utilize the full 12,000 sq. miles claim,

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Really, you'd just be building another nationwide cellular network. So my question is, how is this different/better than 4G?
      • No licensing fees for using the spectrum, I assume. Although, looking it up Wikipedia, I'm not sure. Apparently the devices are supposed to contact a central (FCC) server to inquire which channels are not reserved for TV. Not sure whether the FCC is charging anything or whether personal operation is free.

  • Simple maths: (Score:5, Informative)

    by gcnaddict (841664) on Monday August 01, 2011 @01:16PM (#36949432)
    12000 = pi r^2
    3819.7186 ~= r^2
    61.8039 ~= r

    So, simple maths suggest that we're definitely not going to have reception if we're more than 62 miles away from the tower, and that doesn't take into account the curvature of the earth, the height of the tower, atmospheric distortions, etc.

    but it does suggest the standard would allow for decent reception within a 30 mile radius. That ain't too bad.
    • Now you assume that the signal is distributed over a circle, in most cases, the antennas aren't even close to 360 degrees, they are usually closer to 2 degrees.

      So, no, it can reach way, way longer than that.
      Otoh, those ranges are without disturbances with low load.

      So it will probably be lower in reality.

      • It's easy to make an omni directional antenna. You lose potential gain and you might not want it omnidirectional given specifics of terrain, etc. Your other points are vaild, the real world is not populated by spherical cows, spherical houses or spherical people (unless you live in the US where this is a fairly good approximation).

    • by chispito (1870390)
      If it can indeed cover an area that large, how many users could a single AP support?

      So, simple maths suggest that we're definitely not going to have reception if we're more than 62 miles away from the tower, and that doesn't take into account the curvature of the earth, the height of the tower, atmospheric distortions, etc. but it does suggest the standard would allow for decent reception within a 30 mile radius. That ain't too bad.

    • by fatboy (6851)

      If you take into account that the height needed to get a 62 mile line of sight, I bet your going to find that the tower will need to be about 1200' above average terrain. That is my SWAG. I don't feel like calculating it.

  • ..or else 100,000 people will bog down your bandwidth.

    Seriously, though, the range must be somewhere around 62 miles ( since (Radius^2)*Pi = 12,000 square miles, then Radius = 61.8 miles ).
    • by JSBiff (87824)

      Yeah. Slashdot article submitters sometimes put the most useless things in their summaries. Range is much more useful to me than area, because what I really want to know is how *far away* one node can be from another.

      I suppose if you are someone thinking about building a WiFi access network/ISP (along the lines of a cellular network), then area might give you a good idea of just how many customers you can squeeze into the range of a tower.

  • by vlm (69642) on Monday August 01, 2011 @01:18PM (#36949448)

    12,000 square miles

    12000 square miles is not very impressive from a purely RF perspective. In fact, its not even trying very hard.

    A=pi*r**2 thats sqrt(12000/3) thats sqrt(4000) thats a bit more than 60, since 60**2 = 3600.

    So estimated in my head they're saying a 60 mile radius. BFD.

    Now 60 miles at "digital TV" spectrum freqs and bandwidth with less than a couple kilowatts out to a 500 foot tower, now that would be impressive.

    Or a battery life that does not require tethering the device to a 440V 3-phase AC supply rather than being "wireless".

    I'm curious how they're working around that "obvious" physical limitation.

    • I would imagine that they use case for this is similar to LTE / Mobile WiMAX - you have a fixed high power transmitter with a huge antenna, and then a load of smaller units with much less powerful transmitters. You won't get point-to-point transfer between mobile devices at that range, but something the size of a phone can transmit to the big antenna on the hill. The aim of this stuff is to make it relatively easy to deploy rural broadband - if you get one connection at a decent speed, then you can use th
    • If you read the article, you'll see that customers are expected to install a box in their house. I'd imagine their standard 802.11a/b/g/n router would then plug into that, rather than into a cable modem or something of that sort. 802.22 is not the sort of thing that you'll see in next generation laptops for use anywhere.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 01, 2011 @01:21PM (#36949508)

    This will be GREAT for the wireless mesh people who want to get away from the mess of the internet and communicate without fear of the big bad media companies spying on their every move.
    Of course, yes, we all know the bad side of archaic, no-censorship networks (child porn, terrorism, etc.), but you just have to deal with that.
    The creators of the products to mesh technologies probably should work together with encryption and sandboxing companies to create an ecnrypted sandbox so that people don't have their lives destroyed because of a thumbnail that someone ELSE uploaded, or at least advise people on products they can use.

    No doubt the governments will try suppress such things by making it illegal to run a WRAN without a licence or some shit.

  • IEEE has just announced a new Wireless standard, 802.22, that can cover up to 12,000 square miles.

    But if just ONE person turns on a microwave...

  • Yeah, IEEE!! (Score:4, Informative)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Monday August 01, 2011 @01:39PM (#36949778)
    This news is most welcome! It has the potential to level the ISP playing field again and harkin back to the times when mom and pop ISPs existed. How? Small start-up ISPs can now offer competing broadband to the likes of AT&T and offer the service at an unlimited tier. Thus, AT&T will be forced to remove its service caps. Companies will be able to build their own MAN's without having to pay Verizon/AT&T/CenturyLink leases for the lines. I will be following this with some excitement especially because I would love to run my own small ISP.
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      At a mighty 19Mbps for the whole thing you can forget about having any real number of customers. My home Internet connection is better than that, and it is not on a shared media like radiowaves.

      • At a mighty 19Mbps for the whole thing you can forget about having any real number of customers. My home Internet connection is better than that, and it is not on a shared media like radiowaves.

        Good for you, but it would be handy for getting a decent connection to areas which would otherwise be restricted to dial-up or satellite connections. I have a 20/2Mbps line at home (could've had 200Mbps if I wanted to). It's more than adequate for regular use, and sure as hell beats dial-up.

        • Seems that I spoke a bit too soon, the aggregate bandwidth is 5-70 Mbps according to this page [wustl.edu]. There are probably still use cases where it is preferrable to other types of connections.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Terrible ratio. I have 25/25 and thinking on going to 50/50.

      • Correct. It's not competition for the incumbents, it's a good way to service those who the incumbents don't find worthy. Some of the public documents indicate an intended per-user bandwidth of 1.5m down and somewhere around 384k up, so it's comparable to long-range DSL, 3G cellular, or home satellite in that way.

        I used to live in the middle of nowhere about 32,000 feet from the CO according to Verizon. I officially had 3/768 speeds on my DSL, but it never once synced faster than 864/512 and was usually u

    • by kimvette (919543)

      Oh the solution to your crazy capitalist idea is obvious: the monopolies will simply buy the licenses for various regions, thereby preserving the caps and not improving their networks, all the while boasting of more and more services with higher prices, but in actuality continue to deliver less and less.

  • My understanding is that this specification is for regional wifi only, and not actually a consumer-level specification.

    So no... this does not mean that your home wifi can suddenly be accessible to you from almost anywhere in the same city.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Haha. Try and stop me.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        I won't have to... the price probably will... probably about on par with starting your own radio station.
  • VHF? or UHF? a new way to connect to your local Internet Service Provider wirelessly sure sounds like a good idea and will give DSL & CableTV/Internet broadband some needed competition keeping the price down a little (i hope)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Republicans in Congress are proposing to eliminate unlicensed use of the new white space spectrum. That is, they'll require that the spectrum be sold to a entity willing to pay a market-competitive price - meaning the spectrum will have to produce a profit for one entity rather than producing value for everyone.

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/07/republican-spectrum-bill-reins-in-wireless-free-riders-like-google.ars

    Call your Congressional reps and tell them unlicensed wireless can produce much

  • remember "Rabbit Ears" or rooftop antenna's.

    I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have this huge thing called Sutro tower the Official Page [sutrotower.com] of the tower is the corporate site and this Public [sutrotower.org] page will give you a huge amount of information on the tower and its history.

    This thing is almost 1000 feet tall and sits on the top of a Mt. Sutro and is direct line of site for most of the SF Bay Area and it packs a huge amount of RF power. The problem is that when you get behind a low lying hill the VHF TV band

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