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Google Opens White Space Database to Developers
by Karl Bode 04:39PM Friday Nov 15 2013
Google this month took several steps to nudge forward White Space broadband, which utilizes the unused spectrum between TV channels to provide a new wireless broadband solution. First, the company announced they had wrapped up their White Space broadband trial in Cape Town, which connected ten schools there with faster connectivity. White Space can technically offer broadband service at a greater range than traditional Wi-Fi.

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Google this week also announced they've opened up their White Space database to developers, and the API is now available here. Google is one of several companies tasked with maintaining databases that unlicensed White Space devices can check with to ensure minimal interference with existing technologies.

"Adaptrum is the first device manufacturer to be certified to use our Spectrum Database, and is already using the tool in the field for a white space deployment, providing public Wi-Fi on the campus of West Virginia University (WVU)," notes Google. California ISP Cal.net was the first commercial ISP to deploy White Space technology back in June, with most deployments since being largely niche in nature.

White Space broadband has had a long and difficult road. For years you'll recall that the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) viciously demonized the technology, amplifying (legitimate) interference concerns while bringing in people like Dolly Parton to rail against the technology (despite not knowing anything about it). Incumbent wireless carriers, fearing added competition, have also done their best to thwart the technology's development.

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AtlantaMark

@batelnet.bs

White Space

At least one Wireless microphone manufacturer I know also use the space between television channels and deploying this technology would probably limit their use.

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:39

Re: White Space

Microphone vendors, Motorola, and sports leagues expressed a lot of concern about that, though that's precisely what this database is intended to manage...
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:3
If the deployment of TVWS(TV White Space) transmissions is limited to licensed fixed location transceivers, then the interference issue is relatively easy to resolve. In a fixed location licensed system you have a POC (Point of Contact) for the installed transceiver. If you pinpoint the interfering device, you contact the POC or the FCC to get the problem resolved. It is the mobile or portable devices that can create the most interference problems and generated the most concerns. Without a lot of expensive mobile triangulation equipment, you may not be able to pinpoint moving interfering devices. Thus there may be no resolution to the problems.

The portable and mobile advocates have said they can solve the problem using the database and sensing techniques. One problem is the portable or mobile devices will need a full GPS receivers with GPS visibility to know where they are. There is also the problem in keeping the databases updated when the device is away from its home base. Away from the device's home base, you cannot just try to transmit an update request on a frequency that is not in use according to your old installed database. That lack of use may only be for 0.01 second in an otherwise continuous 60 minutes of use time, thus you have created interference. Imagine thousands of these mobile TVWS devices doing this over the course of an hour long show. You would have numerous interference situations at each small non use time during the show. So far the mobile and portable advocates have not solved these issues. Licensed fixed location operators would have little trouble keeping things non-interfering.

atcotr

@rr.com

Devices

I wish these articles would be more clear about exactly a device is. Since these are channels run from 470-698MHz, I can infer that no extant laptops, smartphones, or WISP CPEs have support. Yet numerous journalists write gushing articles like one is going to have free Wi-Fi everywhere OTA TV can be watched with the current end user hardware base.
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:3

Re: Devices

The devices are in development. I predict that at first most will be modified versions of existing equipment for fixed location WISPs. From what I have seen on the Google map, rural areas that have suffered from a lack of investment in upgraded internet access seem to have the most available TVWSs(TV White Space). In many of these places existing WISPs will be able to relatively easily deploy the new equipment to create better access networks.

If people have been interpreting articles written about TVWS as predicting themselves getting free internet access, then their reading comprehension is very low. Everyone by now should know that new internet access methods will cost some money in both upfront equipment fees, one time fees, and monthly fees. You may be able to finance the costs over a several month time period.

Some people are correctly getting more enthusiastic about the prospects of TVWS because for the first time rural areas may be able to cost effectively go around some of the stubborn telephone companies that have refused to upgrade internet access to more than dial up. Satellite ISPs are severely limited by physics in what they can provide and their service is very expensive if you try to take full advantage of the World Wide Web's offerings. Cellular ISP usage is very expensive also. Deployed correctly, some TVWS ISPs might be able to reduce by 50% the cost per GB that many other "wireless" ISPs charge. That may not be as good as the life cycle cost of a new multiple strand FTTH deployment, but it is a start.

I know many rural people who are hoping that TVWS ISPs are created in their census blocks and zip codes. They might get better value for the money they are presently spending to get World Wide Web access.
bcltoys

join:2008-07-21
Lost today

1 edit

The big ?

Wonder what the range will be for this tech,will it penetrate forest,will they be able to mount on cell tower's. Also when might we start to see deployment.
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:3

Re: The big ?

The Google database shows what I think are broadcasting power limitations for TVWS devices. To me it seems the FCC wants lots of low power TVWS ISPs so that many rural areas that lack good internet service get covered, but I am not sure exactly what those power limits mean in terms of penetration through forest.

I am sure that in rural areas they will be able to find some TVWSs that can be used on cell towers due to the lack of in use TV channels.

RWSI

join:2012-11-27
Albuquerque, NM

Re: The big ?

Who in their right mind can afford tower rental space?
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:3

Re: The big ?

Obviously the WISPs will have to decide about the costs of leasing space on existing towers compared to building or leasing space on non-cell towers. But from what I have read many WISPs that have managed to survive a few dozen years are fully capable of good market analysis and deciding on new business opportunities and the investments needed to keep them running for the long term. I look forward to seeing what they will be doing with TVWS opportunities.
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:3

This looks good.

I checked the database and it looks good for some people I know who rely on cellular internet access in rural areas. Hopefully fixed location TVWS ISPs will be developed in the next several years for those areas.
bcltoys

join:2008-07-21
Lost today

Re: This looks good.

The data base is very confusing.
bcltoys

join:2008-07-21
Lost today

Re: This looks good.

Looked a little closer I have 8 channels for a total of 48mhz of spectrum for my address. What ever that means.
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:3

Re: This looks good.

Using 802.11n data, I roughly estimate 48Mhz of spectrum with a 400 nanosecond Guard Interval would yield about 22.5Mbps real world performance per 6Mhz channel, depending on distance between transceivers. There may be better data transmission codecs or formats that will yield better results than the 802.11 system uses. If I am correct, the performance for multiple users per channel may be on par with low grade DSL performance. Channel bonding might help increase the bit rate. Considering that the targets of TVWS internet access may have only dial up as a wired option and satellite as a wireless option, low grade DSL performance may be seen as enough of an increase in bit rate and decrease in ping, that it is worth investing in or purchasing. The WISPs and equipment manufacturers, who deal daily with how much data can be potentially moved using different frequencies, will probably be coming out in the reasonably soon future with specifications for equipment and expected performance.
bcltoys

join:2008-07-21
Lost today

Re: This looks good.

If that's it they can keep it. Proly will be low cap's.
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:3
Yes, it is. I want to get a better understanding of the fixed vs portable results for example.

jfleni

@direcpc.com

Re: White Space

So far this is all vaporware (lies) ; no equipment is available and none will be soon. TV turkeys do NOT want this to happen, and despite trials 10,000 miles from USA, will propbably never happen here.

QRV

@d-infinitum.com.mx

TVWS

In the US the FCC has limitation on the power output (1 watt) and the HAAT of the base station antenna that limit the coverage area to around 10 km. google, Spectrumbridge, Telcordia, the TVWS database administrators that the base station is online too, are the companies that will benefit the most if TVWS is widely implemented.