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Networking Wireless Networking

First Public White-Space Network Is Alive 97

An anonymous reader writes "The first public white space network officially launched on Wednesday in Claudville, Virginia. It uses sensing technology from Spectrum Bridge with software and Web cams supplied by Microsoft and PCs from by Dell. The project was funded the TDF Foundation. White space networks use unlicensed television spectrum and have been called 'WiFi on steroids.' They offer more bandwidth, over larger areas, than does WiFi. IT companies duked it out with broadcasters for years to get white spaces approved by the FCC. They finally got the FCC's nod in November, 2008."
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First Public White-Space Network Is Alive

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  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @06:33PM (#29829703) Homepage Journal

    have been called 'WiFi on steroids.' They offer more bandwidth, over larger areas, than does WiFi.

    Someone correct me if I'm mistaken, but doesn't lower frequency (30mhz to 300mhz) mean less bandwidth? I could see bonding several channels at once to achieve a higher bandwidth, but doesn't this mostly offer greater range?

  • by jjoelc ( 1589361 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @06:34PM (#29829707)
    while I am personally glad this finally went through... I can vouch for the potential issues this can cause with existing broadcasts. ATSC is so sensitive to multi-path as it is... (and other forms of interference to boot, but I digress) Throwing out a bunch of unlicensed transmitters, borrowing the space between TV stations is a very scary proposition.
  • by segedunum ( 883035 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @06:43PM (#29829789)
    Interested parties (whose businesses rely and will expand with cheap or free bandwidth) are angling to use it as a means to get around current mobile operators, and it can't come a moment too soon in many ways as far as I'm concerned. However, I can only see this being a recipe for disaster given the state of many wireless devices and all their broken firmware updates today if it's accurate:

    Devices must both consult an FCC-mandated database to determine which channels are available for use at a given location, and must also monitor the spectrum locally once every minute to confirm that no legacy wireless microphones, video assist devices or other emitters are present.

  • Webcams? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by d0rp ( 888607 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @06:44PM (#29829795)
    I'm confused... what do they need webcams for in this project? I actually read the article and it didn't mention what they were for either.
  • Why Claudville? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by molo ( 94384 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @07:09PM (#29830001) Journal

    Why Claudville? According to the Wikipedia page, there are around 20,000 people in the entire county. And according to the FCC DTV maps, they can only expect to receive two (!) TV stations, both from the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area. See here: (enter Claudville, VA) []

    That is perhaps why they are testing it there. Its not hard to avoid active TV channels if there are only two.. and they are on adjacent RF channels (31 and 32).


  • Re:Good thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @10:24PM (#29831291) Homepage
    The last Nobel Prize in economics was basically saying, "Hey, a lot of important 'commons' have a small set of people who use them in repeated interactions, and so you can use game theory principles to describe how these people self-regulate the use of the commons. Oh, and therefore the government getting in on the action is less important than it might otherwise be."

    It would be interesting to see whether the use of this spectrum white space "commons" will be effective.

  • by Aokisensei ( 1605857 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @11:21PM (#29831573)
    So this white space is "unlicensed"? Completely? What, if any restrictions are there on usage of it? Is it at all possible in the foreseeable future that there will be consumer-level devices for this type of frequency? Like routers and other networking equipment, or is this really more for just companies to provide service? Also, what kind of range can you expect on this band at 'normal' power levels?
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @12:07PM (#29836281) Journal

    In other news, the residents of Claudville VA are no longer able to watch distant stations in Roanoke due to these internet devices broadcasting over the channels.

    The FCC Chairman's comment - "You're not supposed to see out of market stations anyway." One of the local viewers replied, "Now I only get 5 stations from Salem NC, where I used to get 10 from both Salem and Roanoke. They took away my channels."

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine