Ofcom takes first steps to white space by 2013
By Nicole Kobie
Posted on 23 Nov 2012 at 09:48
Ofcom has taken the first steps to making white space services a reality in the UK by the end of next year, by outlining how devices will avoid interference.
White space uses gaps in radio spectrum to deliver data, and has been mooted as a way to create "enhanced" Wi-Fi over larger areas, or to connect remote rural areas into wider broadband networks.
"It also represents a fundamentally different approach to using spectrum by searching and recycling unused gaps in the airwaves," said Ofcom chief Ed Richards. "This could prove critical in averting a global spectrum capacity crunch, as consumers demand more bandwidth over different devices."
To use those gaps while avoiding interference with other signals, such as digital television, devices using white space signal will need to check in with online databases every 24 hours.
The databases, paid for by industry, are designed to ensure that a particular slice of spectrum isn't already being used in that particular region.
That means all devices - normally routers - will have to share with the database how powerful they are and where they're located, and the database will tell the device in which bands it can transmit data.
The spectrum Ofcom's looking at covers 470MHz to 790MHz. It hasn't yet decided exactly how the databases will be operated, and how much of a hand it will have in them.
Ofcom is running a consultation on the technology until 10 January, and expects white space technologies to be launched at the end of next year.
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