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Wireless Networking Networking The Internet United States

The US May Finally See Widespread 'Super Wi-Fi' Deployment ( 76

The end of the FCC's spectrum auction last week "should give a clear indication of how much space will be available in each TV market for Super Wi-Fi," according to the Bay Area Newsgroup. An anonymous reader quotes their report: [T]he technology has promised speedy internet for rural citizens and to help urban dwellers get connected in buildings and rooms that are now twilight zones for Wi-Fi signals... And because the spectrum is regulated and largely reserved for television signals, Super Wi-Fi transmissions don't have to contend with interference from random devices like microwaves or cordless phones, as do signals in other wireless bands. Super Wi-Fi signals generally won't be as fast as regular Wi-Fi signals, but for many customers, they'll be faster and provide better service than what they'd get otherwise...

It's widely expected that there will be plenty of room for Super Wi-Fi in rural areas where there are few television signals, which is why companies like and Q-Wireless have pressed forward with the technology even before the auction closes. The big question is whether regulators will preserve sufficient space for Super Wi-Fi in areas like New York and Los Angeles where there are lots of broadcast stations and in cities like Detroit and San Diego that have to share the airwaves with cities from other countries. If there's not enough space in those areas, Super Wi-Fi, in this country at least, will likely be relegated to rural areas.

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The US May Finally See Widespread 'Super Wi-Fi' Deployment

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  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Sunday April 02, 2017 @04:41PM (#54161155)
    If it's all but useless in the city, but can provide rural users with something better than satellite service or dial-up, it's still a big deal. And by "rural users," I mean ... people who live 20 miles outside of places like Washington, DC. There are places even in the relatively close-in 'burbs where nobody's been willing or able to pull fiber, and the CO is too far away for DSL, and the metering hit on LTE if it's even there (or the too-slow-to-use-ness of 3G) is a show stopper. Not sure what deployment on this actually looks like, though, and there still has to be some sort of low-latency, reliable backhaul. But if it's easy enough to pop something shoebox-size on modest towers in the countryside, that's pretty compelling.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Silly boy, you're thinking downloading, not uploading. Under the new fuck you privacy laws to which you are entitled exactly none. You can fit that spectrum into smart TVs with cameras and microphones, so they can more effectively 'anal eyes' your habits to target you, well, for what ever reasons they want to target you, whether you are anti-corporatist scum or a competitor or just an insider trading target ;).

    • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Sunday April 02, 2017 @04:46PM (#54161175)

      Because rural WiFi crowding is such a problem...

      So, Mr. Snarky City Guy, you really don't have any idea what you're talking about, do you? The problem isn't WiFi congestion in rural areas, it's the lack of any affordable infrastructure able to get broadband out to those areas in the first place. Having your WiFi busy on your property when your neighbor's WiFi is a quarter mile away is NOT a problem. But if neither of you can actually get those routers to connect to the internet because there's no there there, what's the point? There are millions of people who live where poor DSL, at best, is the broadband they can get - no matter what they're willing to pay. That, or laggy, expensive, very much capped satellite service with dial-up upload speeds. No cable, no fiber, no T-1 to your business ... just dial-up, and perhaps some 3G mobile coverage if you're lucky.

      This broadband desert starts happening just a few miles outside of most towns. You know, where the people who grow your food live.

    • by denbesten ( 63853 ) on Sunday April 02, 2017 @08:12PM (#54161817)

      Rural WiFi is not the same thing your home WiFi, although it does use the same frequencies and technologies.

      Rural WiFi is used by wireless ISPs (that is, the rural equivalent to your urban cable modem or DSL connection). This is accomplished with directional antennas that concentrate the signal so that it can span five to 10 miles. They do this because it is prohibitively expensive to string fiber (or copper) when there are only a few customers per mile. Because the signal is so weak by the time it gets all the way to the receiver, interference anywhere along the "line of sight" path is more difficult to filter out.

      An urban dweller needs maybe a 500-foot circle of no interference. The rural need is a non-interference rectangle 500 feet wide by maybe 10 miles long, stretching from his roof-mount antenna all the way to the ISP antenna which likely is mounted on a grain elevator in a nearby town.

  • ... as it ties down less frequency range than analog. But will there be enough auctioned off?
    • by Megane ( 129182 )
      They already got rid of the extra bandwidth during the digital transition. Stations in the same area can now occupy adjacent channels (analog needed at least 1 channel of spacing to avoid interference), but they reduced the band by 18 channels (52-69 were removed), so there is roughly the same maximum channel capacity for TV in the US.
  • Whatever happend to wimax? I used to have a modem that on wimax, it was pretty good.
    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      Sprint bought it and shut it down.
      When you hear people talking about clearwire that's what they are talking about.

      The laptop i'm typing this on actually has a wimax card built in but there has never been a wimax AP anywhere near here so I doubt i'll ever be able to try it.

      • Fixed WiMax is fairly widely deployed. It's what delivers Internet to my house.
        • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

          Through who? iirc all the other WiMAX carriers were smaller clearwire was the big one and afaik there aren't any others still operating.

          • Through who? iirc all the other WiMAX carriers were smaller clearwire was the big one and afaik there aren't any others still operating.

            My carrier is Rise Broadband, which used to operate under various names, including JAB Wireless, Digis, and others. They operate in 16 states.

            I thought Clearwire was 4G, not WiMax (IEEE 802.16).

            Hmm. Looking at some Wikipedia articles, it appears that there are two different standards, WiMax (802.16, which later gained the name "Fixed WiMax", when the mobile standard was created) and Mobile WiMax (802.16m). It seems you were talking about the latter, while I was talking about the former.

    • LTE was a direct competitor. After LTE became popular, the ISPs (mostly sprint) converted their WiMAX towers/spectrum to LTE. Nowadays, LTE hotspots are the (near) equivalent to a WiMAX modem.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's always 2 years off. Fusion is always 20 years off.

    Can we focus on LTE 5 which is actually being deployed in all hardware as we speak?


    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      Super wifi doesn't sound like a very technical term.
      TFA doesn't mention any speeds.
      The two companies listed don't seem to be very well priced for what you get.
      I mean I could get 50/5Mbps unlimited wireless here for $100/mo if I didn't live next to a hill and that's just with the current gen ubnt wireless equipment.

      I think LTE will outrun this tech at it's current pace.

  • The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) initially decided not to enforce a single date for ending analog broadcasts, opting to let market forces decide when the switchover will occur.[8] It subsequently reversed its position, on May 17, 2007,[9] setting an analogue shutoff date of August 31, 2011,[10] just over two years after the American transition date of June 12, 2009. Mandatory markets with a transmitter that does not transition to digital by the deadline will lose the ov
  • Yeah, that's going to work out well. It is going to use a white space database to select 'unused' spectrum (i.e. TV channels) and enable Super WiFi equipment to operate there. But here's the thing: I have a decent rooftop antenna and I can pick up ATSC signals from as far away as 60 miles. Now someone nearby plugs in their Super WiFi access point and the database says, "Go ahead and use this channel. Nobody could possibly receive TV with a pair or rabbit ears." And my TV reception goes into the crapper. So

  • Need a tower, real backhaul for each user, have staff aim a real antenna per user? The home gets a good service.
    How many users can share that tower if they expect 24/7 service with internet like data caps?
    Reserve a bit spectrum and some bandwidth per user per tower 24/7?
    How many rural users per tower so each user gets real their own real internet experience? How many towers per rural area?
  • Am I the only person who has an issue with name including WiFi for what, I am assuming, is not a unlicensed service. The single biggest reason WiFi is so popular is people can self implement it at no cost after the initial hardware outlay. My assumption is with this so call Super WiFI is you will have to subscribe with someone who purchased the spectrum in the auction. Using the name WiFi in this context is only going to lead to consumer confusion.

Yet magic and hierarchy arise from the same source, and this source has a null pointer.