dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
   
spc
story category
FCC Engineers Say White Space Broadband Works
Somewhere NAB executives weep in their mocha lattes
by Karl Bode 09:43AM Thursday Oct 16 2008
Somewhere, the National Association of Broadcasters is crying. They've spent a lot of money on PR campaigns that suggest using "white space" spectrum, freed from the migration to digital TV, for a new broadband delivery method will result in a wireless apocalypse. However, the final FCC report on white space broadband was released yesterday, and it suggests that the devices, if designed properly with sensing technologies and utilizing geo-location databases, should be able to detect and avoid nearby spectrum. What does that mean for you? It means you could be seeing a brand new (and hopefully inexpensive) wireless broadband delivery method that may be particularly well suited for under-served rural markets.

Click for full size
While telco-friendly FCC boss Kevin Martin traditionally doesn't do anything to anger the phone companies (who, like NAB, don't want the added competition), he appears to be supporting this push ahead of a final commission vote on November 4, which would prevent a partisan blockade of the technology.
quote:
"I'm hoping to take advantage of utilizing these airwaves for broadband services to allow for unlicensed technologies and new innovations in that space," Martin said during a press conference with reporters. "This spectrum is very conducive to broadband service....the white spaces can be used as long as it does not interfere with broadcasters."
While normally a push like this might have been crushed by phone, cable and broadcast industry lobbyists, the white space broadband push has some deep-pocketed supporters. Google, Microsoft, Dell and others have been pushing the technology hard -- obviously eager to sell new hardware, software and advertisements via a route not controlled by incumbent operators. The idea also obviously has strong support from consumer advocates, who'd love to see additional competition brought to bear on duopoly/monopoly markets.

Update: NAB, as you might expect, has issued a press release saying that if you read the FCC study the way they would like you to read the FCC study, it says the exact opposite. The group ignores successful tests of white space devices and focuses on the failure of an early Microsoft prototype as evidence the entire idea belongs in the digital trash heap. Something tells me that the posturing, lobbying, and misdirection in this fight has only just begun....

view:
topics flat nest 

mod_wastrel
iamwhatiam

join:2008-03-28
kudos:1

OK...

I'd like to nominate my area as a test market.
Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA

2 edits

2 recommendations

Not so fast

"Several tests were performed with DTV signals present in adjacent channels.
These tests showed that in the presence of moderate-to-strong signals in a first adjacent channel, the detection threshold sensitivity of all of the devices was severely impacted.
For some of the devices, the degradation in the detection sensitivity was as much as 60- 70 dB.
In some cases, the degradation was such that the detection threshold could not be measured.
This could impact significantly the ability of the devices to reliably detect TV signals within stations’ service areas."

"In some instances, the Adaptrum, I2R, and Motorola (in sensing only mode)
devices incorrectly reported channels as unoccupied (available) when the
WSD was operated within a station’s service contour and the signal was
viewable."

BTW, anyone who has seen what a mess the FCC database currently is has to wonder how well geo-location will work.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Not so fast

said by Sammer:

"Several tests were performed with DTV signals present in adjacent channels.
These tests showed that in the presence of moderate-to-strong signals in a first adjacent channel, the detection threshold sensitivity of all of the devices was severely impacted.
For some of the devices, the degradation in the detection sensitivity was as much as 60- 70 dB.
In some cases, the degradation was such that the detection threshold could not be measured.
This could impact significantly the ability of the devices to reliably detect TV signals within stations’ service areas."

"In some instances, the Adaptrum, I2R, and Motorola (in sensing only mode)
devices incorrectly reported channels as unoccupied (available) when the
WSD was operated within a station’s service contour and the signal was
viewable."

BTW, anyone who has seen what a mess the FCC database currently is has to wonder how well geo-location will work.
The FCC engineers in the report have cautioned about all the problems. But Martin is going forward as if their reservations were irrelevant. The use of White Space spectrum is going to move forward no matter what it does in interfering with DTV transmissions. As usual, the FCC is making a political decision and not an engineering one.
--
My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page
Ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?

ieolus
Support The Clecs

join:2001-06-19
Duluth, GA

Re: Not so fast

What is your problem with competition?

sturmvogel
Obama '08

join:2008-02-07
Houston, TX

Re: Not so fast

said by ieolus:

What is your problem with competition?
He is a republican and he likes Comcast. His image includes the word "junk" and a picture of Palin and McCain.

Need more ?
--
Obama '08. Will help resolve the terrible broadband issues we have that put us so far behind other countries.

ieolus
Support The Clecs

join:2001-06-19
Duluth, GA

Re: Not so fast

I do need more. Republicans are supposedly for capitalism, which at it's heart is all about competition. Monopolies distort capitalism and distort the market. I need more.
--
"Speak for yourself "Chadmaster" - lesopp

sturmvogel
Obama '08

join:2008-02-07
Houston, TX

Re: Not so fast

said by ieolus:

I do need more. Republicans are supposedly for capitalism, which at it's heart is all about competition. Monopolies distort capitalism and distort the market. I need more.
That would be a "true" republican, as Ron Paul. The current republican party transformed itself into a neoconservative party that just talks about republican values while doing things totally opposite to that, as in greatly supporting monopolies and giving away taxpayers' money to failed institutions that pump millions of "contributions" to their republican frieds.

A clear case of these values is the appointment as candidate for president of McCain/Pain over a true republican as Ron Paul. I am a registered republican and would have voted for Ron Paul, he stands for what I believe are the true republican values I agree with. I will vote democrat due to the fact that I cannot agree with someone like McCain and Palin and would not want Palin to have control over nuclear weapons in case McCain dies of old age/cancer/whatever at his advanced age. I of course should say "nucular weapuns" so our Junk friend here could follow the conversation.
--
Obama '08. Will help resolve the terrible broadband issues we have that put us so far behind other countries.
Expand your moderator at work

obama sux

@direcpc.com

Re: Not so fast

and your a obama supporter need we say more.we realize because of that your expectations are not that much

sturmvogel
Obama '08

join:2008-02-07
Houston, TX

Re: Not so fast

said by obama sux :

and your a obama supporter need we say more.we realize because of that your expectations are not that much
I am a true republican and an Obama supporter due to the unfortunate appointment of McCain/Palin as candidates. Read above.
--
Obama '08. Will help resolve the terrible broadband issues we have that put us so far behind other countries.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Not so fast

said by sturmvogel:

said by obama sux :

and your a obama supporter need we say more.we realize because of that your expectations are not that much
I am a true republican and an Obama supporter due to the unfortunate appointment of McCain/Palin as candidates. Read above.
If you were a TRUE Republican you couldn't vote for Obama. Maybe Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, but not Obama.
--
My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page
Ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?

sturmvogel
Obama '08

join:2008-02-07
Houston, TX

Re: Not so fast

said by FFH:

said by sturmvogel:

said by obama sux :

and your a obama supporter need we say more.we realize because of that your expectations are not that much
I am a true republican and an Obama supporter due to the unfortunate appointment of McCain/Palin as candidates. Read above.
If you were a TRUE Republican you couldn't vote for Obama. Maybe Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, but not Obama.
If you were a republican, you could not vote for MCain/Palin. A neocon, sure.
--
Obama '08. Will help resolve the terrible broadband issues we have that put us so far behind other countries.
Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA

1 edit

Re: Not so fast

I have to agree that no true Republican could vote for Obama but voting for McCain wouldn't be easy for such a person either. Of course a true Democrat also couldn't vote for Obama because he lost all credibility of being for the working class when he chose corporate shill Biden for his running mate.

sturmvogel
Obama '08

join:2008-02-07
Houston, TX

Re: Not so fast

said by Sammer:

I have to agree that no true Republican could vote for Obama but voting for McCain wouldn't be easy for such a person either. Of course a true Democrat also couldn't vote for Obama because he lost all credibility of being for the working class when he chose corporate shill Biden for his running mate.
Why did you leave out of the comment the Russia expert Palin ?
--
Obama '08. Will help resolve the terrible broadband issues we have that put us so far behind other countries.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5
said by ieolus:

What is your problem with competition?
No problem with competition. I do have a problem with an FCC chairman who lies about what was in the FCC report and the problems with interference that report identified.

»www.informationweek.com/news/tel···11201730
The NAB said an "upbeat" executive summary does not jibe with a technical report released Wednesday by the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology.

"It would appear that the FCC is misinterpreting the actual data collected by their own engineers," NAB executive VP Dennis Wharton said in a statement. "Any reasonable analysis of the OET report would conclude that unlicensed devices that rely solely on spectrum sensing threaten the viability of clear television reception. Basing public policy on an imprecise Cliff Notes version of a 149-page report raises troubling questions."
»www.networkworld.com/news/2008/1···ses.html
There was a "lot of disconnect" between the results in the report and FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's announcement Wednesday to move forward with allowing new broadband devices to operate in the white spaces, said Mark Brunner, senior director of public and industry relations for microphone maker Shure. The tests showed significant problems with interference with existing users of the TV spectrum, Brunner said. "In our view, [the devices] did not pass muster," Brunner said.

Seventy U.S. lawmakers, as well as some mobile phone carriers and other groups, have raised questions about interference by white-space devices.
And the FCC is going to go forward without a period of time for public comment. Usually a sign that the FCC doesn't want to open itself to second guessing.
»www.betanews.com/article/TV_broa···24195680
In the absence of a period of public comment, the FCC is now set to deliver a ruling on November 4 about opening up the white spaces around licensed spectrum to free and open access. If the ruling is in favor of the move, an implementation directive is anticipated in early December.

--
My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page
Ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?

sturmvogel
Obama '08

join:2008-02-07
Houston, TX

Re: Not so fast

said by FFH:

said by ieolus:

What is your problem with competition?
No problem with competition. I do have a problem with an FCC chairman who lies about what was in the FCC report and the problems with interference that report identified.

»www.informationweek.com/news/tel···11201730
The NAB said an "upbeat" executive summary does not jibe with a technical report released Wednesday by the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology.

"It would appear that the FCC is misinterpreting the actual data collected by their own engineers," NAB executive VP Dennis Wharton said in a statement. "Any reasonable analysis of the OET report would conclude that unlicensed devices that rely solely on spectrum sensing threaten the viability of clear television reception. Basing public policy on an imprecise Cliff Notes version of a 149-page report raises troubling questions."
»www.networkworld.com/news/2008/1···ses.html
There was a "lot of disconnect" between the results in the report and FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's announcement Wednesday to move forward with allowing new broadband devices to operate in the white spaces, said Mark Brunner, senior director of public and industry relations for microphone maker Shure. The tests showed significant problems with interference with existing users of the TV spectrum, Brunner said. "In our view, [the devices] did not pass muster," Brunner said.

Seventy U.S. lawmakers, as well as some mobile phone carriers and other groups, have raised questions about interference by white-space devices.
And the FCC is going to go forward without a period of time for public comment. Usually a sign that the FCC doesn't want to open itself to second guessing.
»www.betanews.com/article/TV_broa···24195680
In the absence of a period of public comment, the FCC is now set to deliver a ruling on November 4 about opening up the white spaces around licensed spectrum to free and open access. If the ruling is in favor of the move, an implementation directive is anticipated in early December.
Since you have a problem with lying, would you also have problems with Comcast lying in my opinion to the FCC ? Or do you have problems with lying only when the FCC supposedly does it ?

Just curious.
--
Obama '08. Will help resolve the terrible broadband issues we have that put us so far behind other countries.
Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1

White Space Broadband Needed Here!

I will be very disappointed if the White Space ISP's do not begin deploying service in this area. Unlike a metropolitan area it is impossible to predict if broadband will be available at any home in this area. An ISP representative told me that I am in a suburban area, which is an area transitioning from rural to metropolitan. Their albi is that it is impossible for incumbent ISP's to serve all homes. It appears that the ISP's are only putting their money in equipment to offer service in newly created subdivisions. Many homes outside of those subdivisions are simply not served by broadband via Cable or DSL. There seems to be more Wild Blue and Hughes Net antennas in this area than I have seen anywhere else. I do hope that the White Space providers start providing service in this area first.

MrMoody
Free range slave
Premium
join:2002-09-03
Smithfield, NC

Re: White Space Broadband Needed Here!

There will never be such a thing as "whitespace broadband," it is physically impossible and an oxymoron.
GaffMan

join:2007-08-10
Sedalia, MO
You know I can understand why the incumbent providers do not want people in the suburbs to have broadband.But I will never understand how come so many regular people are so against people who leave a quarter mile out of town from having broadband????
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC
Reviews:
·Comcast

Let's give it a try

I think it's a great idea, lets use our bandwidth more efficiently. But, we have to be willing to pull the plug if it doesn't work out. Broadband over power line was worth trying, but we didn't give it a pass to go interfering with everything. We've got to be willing to pull the licenses if implementers can't make the technology behave.
Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA

1 recommendation

Re: Let's give it a try

said by axus:

We've got to be willing to pull the licenses if implementers can't make the technology behave.
How do you pull the license of unlicensed devices?
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC

Re: Let's give it a try

By using the same authority that the FCC is using to block them right now, obviously. Do you think Microsoft would take the time to get it right on the first try, if they weren't being coerced?

DavePR

join:2008-06-04
Canyon Country, CA
said by Sammer:

said by axus:

We've got to be willing to pull the licenses if implementers can't make the technology behave.
How do you pull the license of unlicensed devices?
You could put a remote controlled chip inside that would brick the device upon receiving a special code.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5
said by axus:

I think it's a great idea, lets use our bandwidth more efficiently. But, we have to be willing to pull the plug if it doesn't work out. Broadband over power line was worth trying, but we didn't give it a pass to go interfering with everything. We've got to be willing to pull the licenses if implementers can't make the technology behave.
Good luck with pulling licenses for an "unlicensed service". Once the go ahead is given, if interference happens, no one can call in all the unlicensed interfering devices that will be out there.
--
My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page
Ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?

DavePR

join:2008-06-04
Canyon Country, CA

1 edit

I'm hearing Howard Stern on my NPR station

Once you flood the market with cheap devices there is no chance to recall them if a problem is later discovered. Take for example all the illegal Sirius (and XM) radios with FM modulators that are way too powerful.

I don't see how a cost-effective device can be built. How will the geolocation requirement be met? GPS? Indoors?

How will the access to a database requirement be met? WiFi?

aSic
application specific
Premium
join:2001-05-17
Wakulla, FL
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: I'm hearing Howard Stern on my NPR station

Tell me where I can get one of these "way too powerful" transmitters. Cause all the XM units I've had since they launched have been uber-weak. Now you cant even get one with a fm modulator.

One or two complaints from people with prepaid legal always ruins things for everyone.
tbone2006

join:2006-07-22
Abilene, TX

Re: I'm hearing Howard Stern on my NPR station

I can not comment on XM because I have Sirius. I can pick up my old X-act radio on my car radio several blocks away. Of course now all new radios are so weak you need a FM direct connect.

»www.tss-radio.com/direct-adapter···082.html

Matt3
All noise, no signal.
Premium
join:2003-07-20
Jamestown, NC
kudos:12
said by DavePR:

Once you flood the market with cheap devices there is no chance to recall them if a problem is later discovered. Take for example all the illegal Sirius (and XM) radios with FM modulators that are way too powerful.
I think you're confusing this with the fact that Sirius and XM installed repeater stations that were broadcasting with a more powerful signal than they were allowed to.
--
Linux Haters Unite!

DavePR

join:2008-06-04
Canyon Country, CA

Re: I'm hearing Howard Stern on my NPR station

I don't think I'm confusing Terrestrial Repeaters with FM Modulators. The Terrestrial Repeaters are very large and noisy and hot. The FM Modulators are built into satellite radio receivers. I have seen both, up close.

There are millions of illegally strong FM Modulators in the hands of end users and NPR would really like Sirus/XM to recall them all, as a condition of the merger. We'll see what a logistical nightmare that will be, even with the names and addresses of said end-users.

Imagine trying to track down every White Space Dingus, when users don't necessarily have to give their names to buy them.

Matt3
All noise, no signal.
Premium
join:2003-07-20
Jamestown, NC
kudos:12

Re: I'm hearing Howard Stern on my NPR station

said by DavePR:

There are millions of illegally strong FM Modulators in the hands of end users and NPR would really like Sirus/XM to recall them all, as a condition of the merger. We'll see what a logistical nightmare that will be, even with the names and addresses of said end-users.
You're correct. But the FCC statement says it's not just XM/Sirius' ... almost 75% of the FM Modulators on the market they tested (for other devices like iPod's too) cause interference.

I doubt the FCC will hold just XM/Sirius' feet to the fire, especially since they asked their manufacturers to suspend production and correct the issue ... way back in 2006.
--
Linux Haters Unite!

DavePR

join:2008-06-04
Canyon Country, CA

Re: I'm hearing Howard Stern on my NPR station

My point is that, even though they know where the illegal Sirius and XM receivers are, they still don't want to go through the HASSLE of recalling them.

If a million White Space Devices get into the field and a problem is discovered, there is no practical way to get them back, and an entertainment medium used by 10s of millions of Americans will be crippled.

SmokChsr
Who let the magic smoke out?
Premium
join:2006-03-17
Saint Augustine, FL

1 recommendation

Physics, We don't need No stinking Physics!

For quite some time the FCC has been rewriting the laws of physics in order to make their new rules work. This looks to be yet another one of those times. If this is approved, especially non-licensed, over the air TV will most likely face severe interference, rendering it useless in many areas.
cornelius785

join:2006-10-26
Worcester, MA

Re: Physics, We don't need No stinking Physics!

proof?

SmokChsr
Who let the magic smoke out?
Premium
join:2006-03-17
Saint Augustine, FL

Re: Physics, We don't need No stinking Physics!

Proof, just look at HD (IBOC) radio. Where you put digital noise in your first adjacent (FM) first & Second (AM) and then say it will cause no interference, cause we said so. Darn now we don't understand why it's not working like we thought.
probboy

join:2008-01-10
Natick, MA

Why is this so complicated?

I'm assuming, since this is for a "new broadband delivery method," that a company would have to set up a series of transceivers (like cell towers) to interface these wireless devices with an existing, land-based network. Why can't the consumer devices listen across all channels for instructions from the tower as to which channel to use? Then there wouldn't be a need for the device to use GPS, database look-ups, etc.

Am I missing something? Is this supposed to be a replacement for Wi-Fi (for example), which would negate the "new broadband delivery method"?

While a 6 Mhz television channel can carry a bit of data long-distances, it still seems like it would be fairly expensive to set up all the infrastructure for a third pipe. This might work well as a last mile replacement in areas without DSL or cable, assuming they set it up similar to a cell phone network (relatively low power transceivers covering small areas).

••••
russotto

join:2000-10-05
West Orange, NJ

1 recommendation

White space = no TV

For some of the devices, the degradation in the detection sensitivity was as much as 60- 70 dB.
In some cases, the degradation was such that the detection threshold could not be measured.
This could impact significantly the ability of the devices to reliably detect TV signals within stations’ service areas."
Yeah, there's the understatement of the century. 70dB is the difference between an excellent signal and nothing at all.

In fringe areas it will be even worse. Anyone who uses a pre-amp will have all their channels blown away by nearby white space devices.
Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA

Re: White space = no TV

That's the point, to get nearly everybody to subscribe to cable or satellite so the corporations (screw the public) can make more dough and the government can then auction off another thirty channels. Anyone who supports WSDs doesn't support free TV.