Ofcom’s plan to pilot-test new white space technology communication will use pre-existing TV airwaves for broadband data services. (via Ofcom)
Following suit in Google's recent endeavor to provide the world with a database of available white space for data communication, the UK’s Office of Communications (Ofcom) has approved a pilot run of new white space technology that is scheduled for interested industry-applicants later this fall. The plan is to first test this new technology within the industry, and if all goes well, it will be rolled out for all approved devices to use next year.
Microsoft has already undertaken an industry-specific white space pilot in Cambridge to test the novel technology. This time ‘round, the focus was more on the implementation of the technology and the associated processes with which devices will work with via the white space.
If you’re still not quite hip to the white space game - white spaces refer to frequency bands that were originally reserved to serve as buffers between television frequency bands in an effort to minimize broadcast interference. These bands are low frequency, thus provide an ideal method of sending data over longer distances than higher frequency bands, and provide the added benefit of easily penetrating walls for a better overall coverage. With the ubiquity of white space frequency bands and the growing demand for mobile data service, the move toward white space utilization offered a practical and creative solution.
Since interference may still be an issue, white space enabled devices will need to acquire a license before gaining access to the frequency bands. The white space database that will constantly feed information about spectrum’s location and availability will provide a second layer of interference protection by restricting connected devices to approved communication transmission levels. Thus, white space devices will also need to be equipped with cognitive radio transceivers to automatically detect and switch from channel to channel depending on wireless spectrum availability.
Eventually, Ofcom hopes to increase the availability of broadband internet through white space deployment and make way for huge growths in smartphone, tablet, wireless, and IoT related applications. With the recent auction of remaining 4G spectrum, Ofcom plans to make more room in the limited spectrum space for a future 5G service.
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