Microsoft set to test "white space"for wireless broadband

News Stephen Tenerowicz 11:38, Jun 27 2011

The 300MHz to 400MHz white space spectrum can travel long distances and is better at penetrating walls

The Financial Times is reporting that a Microsoft-led group will begin a test in the UK to see how unused white space spectrum could be used for a new wireless broadband network.

White space is what is now left of the UHF frequencies that were used by television broadcasters when they switched from analog to digital transmissions, two years ago. Since a digital signal requires less bandwidth than analog - the unused frequencies in between TV stations are known as "white space."

Microsoft has reportedly been a testing a new WiFi technology that uses the unlicensed spectrum on its 500-acre Redmond, Washington campus. The company built a full wireless network using only two base stations to transmit the signals via the white-space spectrum. Pretty impressive.

Overall, the 300MHz to 400MHz of unused white space spectrum is considered prime for offering wireless broadband services because it can travel great distances, is somewhat better at penetrating buildings and walls and should be able to provide much faster Internet services. It could also, in theory, offset some of the data overload issues major U.S. carriers are currently dealing with.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and others in the mobile technology industry have compared the white space market to WiFi. They are predicting it could be a $4 billion-a-year industry that also does not require a spectrum license. Microsoft has also predicted the white space market may generate $3.9 billion to $7.3 billion in economic value each year.

While the test is taking place in the UK, here in the United States, the entire white space venture has been caught up in several lawsuits with broadcasters suing the FCC. No resolution has been achieved as of yet, however hopefully there will be one soon.

Besides the white space usage on Microsoft's campus, the city of Wilmington, North Carolina has also used super WiFi through the white spaces to create a municiplal WiFi network.

Sponsored Links