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Television Wireless Networking

FCC Unanimously Approves White Space Wi-Fi 156

Smelly Jeffrey writes "With the release of this whitepaper, the FCC unanimously approved plans for a new technology with strong supporters and even stronger detractors. White Space Wi-Fi effectively allows manufacturers of wireless devices to incorporate transceivers that operate on unused DTV channels. Although the deregulation is new, the idea seems to have caught Google's interest recently as well. It seems that this has been rather rushed through the normally stagnant channels at the FCC. While some view it as interference in the already crowded spectrum, it seems the FCC Chairman really likes the idea of re-purposing dark parts of the newly allocated DTV bands once more." Update: 11/06 18:15 GMT by T : You may want to look at Tuesday's mention of the decision as well, but the additional links here are interesting.
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FCC Unanimously Approves White Space Wi-Fi

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  • Good grief (Score:5, Insightful)

    by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @01:22PM (#25663535)
    They'll deregulate use of the spectrum, but if you say "blow job" on television, they'll fine you into oblivion. Sounds like they've got their priorities straight.
  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @01:23PM (#25663541)

    The explanation I read sounded like this could be a good thing but whenever I see something like this come sailing through an approval process, I always have to wonder whose money greased the skids. The worse it is for the public, the quicker they push things through so nobody gets a chance to notice.

  • Re:Good grief (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @01:51PM (#25663893) Journal

    Reminds me of an old (yes I'm dating myself) LA Law episode that was explaining a photograph of a man and mistress in a particular sexual act.

    ".... a position commonly referred to as a number"

    It didn't fool anyone about anything, but they were obviously censored from saying it.

  • New Resources (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Selfunfocused ( 1215732 ) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @01:53PM (#25663929) Homepage
    By opening up this spectrum, the FCC has given Obama a gift. The Obama technology plan talks about the need to "deploy next-generation broadband" among other things, but with a weakening economy he's going to find a lot less money to back such initiatives. Thankfully, with a simple restructuring of the rules, the FCC has created space for new innovation that might prove easier to fund than laying cables throughout the country. Not that I don't want more cables. I love cables.
  • by John Jamieson ( 890438 ) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @01:57PM (#25663975)

    I think it is good for everyone if unused parts of the spectrum are utilized.

    But my goodness... what is the rush that it could not wait a few more months while they tweaked the prototypes so they did not stomp on weak TV signals or wireless mics?

    A few more months devoted to getting a succesful trial is nothing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2008 @02:00PM (#25664027)

    Hey, just a heads-up, this means that those of you who use wireless microphones are no longer illegally transmitting on licensed channels, so even though it might cause some interference you should think of it as a good thing.

  • by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @02:02PM (#25664049)
    It was unanimous. Corporate bigwigs are such penny pinchers that they would only buy the smallest number of people to get it to pass, not everyone on the committee. I have some small amount of faith that this isn't entirely bad.
  • by JustinOpinion ( 1246824 ) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @02:27PM (#25664387)

    This is rather offtopic, but I'd like to say it anyways...

    It used to be that the Slashdot frontpage was riddled with dupes. We complained every time that the editors were idiots, that they should have a system in place to recognize dupes. Many people even said that they emailed regarding the dupes while they were in the mysterious future, and yet the still hit the front page. Thus was born the Slashdot meme about every story being eventually duped.

    But, I have to say that over the last while, the number of dupes is way, way down. The firehose and tagging seem to have alot to do with it--dupes are flagged earlier in the process, giving the editors the feedback they need.

    Dupes are not entirely eliminated, but the frequency is down. So I'd like to say: thanks to the Slashdot staff for fixing the issue that we complained about. We are a whiny bunch, and it's too easy for us to complain but then forget to appreciate the things that are fixed (or have always been good). So, again, good work on the dupe reduction.

  • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Limburgher ( 523006 ) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:25PM (#25665207) Homepage Journal
    Odd how your position conflicts with your sig.

    I have young children, and I have a simple method for determining what they see. I hold the remote, and I change the channel if something fails to meet my approval. If a show or channel repeatedly crosses a line, we just don't watch it.

    This way, I can make sure my kids don't see really graphic violence, but are allowed to see healthy expressions of affection, within reason.

    I even have a name for this method: parenting. :)
  • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Golddess ( 1361003 ) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:26PM (#25665215)
    You do realize that there are other activities that one can partake of aside from watching TV, right?
  • by John Jamieson ( 890438 ) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @04:09PM (#25665751)

    Well, that would be one way to look at it. BUT, we all know from experience that if you cannot get a low production prototype working, there is NO way it will work in mass production.

    As for the wireless mics, while we now know they were not explicitly licenced, they have been in use with the full knowledge of the FCC. The FCC said NOTHING for 30 years. As a result, a lot of institutions have innocently invested thousands of dollars in the equipment and rely on them.
    As a result of the inaction of the FCC, the FCC has a moral obligation to make sure the transition goes smoothly.

    Thus, and extra 2 - 3 months to get the specs and prototypes working is not an onerous request.

  • by John Jamieson ( 890438 ) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @05:37PM (#25666979)

    Wow, lets stick to a discussion and not get excited. Please don't put words in my mouth, I did not do that to you.

    You said "there is an entire illegal underground full of people committing felony conspiracy"
    First, if the government is allowing every Radio Shack and Music store to run underground businesses, we have a much bigger issue than wireless mics. lol

    "Given the choice, you'd also rather reward people who conspire to break the law."
    Sorry, where is the conspiricy? The innocent people who bought them are the VICTIM not conspiritors.

    "And why should law-breaking squatters get preference over those that follow the law?"
    Ok, it is interesting you brought up squatting. As a matter of fact, according to basic law principles regarding squatting the FCC has given this spectrum away by inaction. (the concept is called the Doctrine of Laches and when it applies to real estate it is called Adverse Possession)

    I enjoy a good debate, it opens the mind, but please don't sensationalize what I say. (eg "Wait, so you are saying that you *want* people to be operating illegally")


    P.S. I have not found any case law to show the innocent parties that bought wireless systems (because they were allowed by the FCC to be sold), were committing a crime.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats