Feeds

Ofcom, US senators turn on to cognitive radio

You are entering the white space

High performance access to file storage

Ofcom's Digital Dividend review has given a clear endorsement to the unlicensed use of cognitive radio - devices able to seek out unused spectrum - ahead of EU approval and indeed the existence of any such devices. Meanwhile, the FCC has today received a letter signed by five senators promoting the same technology.

The statement from Ofcom follows the US (FCC) lead in testing cognitive radio technology, with the expectation that use of the technology will be unrestricted once it becomes practical. In the US the issue has become highly controversial, and the endorsement by five senators is significant.

Cognitive radio is wonderful in theory, but much harder to put into practice. The idea is that an intelligent device listens on a range of frequencies until it finds one which is unoccupied, and then transmits on that frequency. The problem is that detecting use isn't always easy, and a user expecting an empty band might be surprised to find cognitive devices camping in their space: you certainly wouldn't want a cognitive radio identifying an emergency frequency as unoccupied just before your emergency.

Even if the listening, and use, is restricted to specific bands - such as the so-called "white space" between TV channels - it's not easy to detect usage. A transmitter located behind a hill might be invisible to the cognitive radio, but visible to the nearby houses who are about to lose their TV reception.

Both Ofcom and the FCC, in the UK and USA respectively, expect to see cognitive radios dancing around, and between, the digital terrestrial television (DTT) channels being expanded thanks to the switch-off of analogue TV. In the USA, the companies running DTT are fighting the technology as they believe it will generate unwelcome interference: they even have a website with animated interference for the hard of thinking.

Policy Tracker spoke to Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards, who assured them that any equipment deployed in the UK would have to pass stringent testing to ensure that there's no chance of interference with digital TV, though such reassurances haven't gone down well in the USA.

The European Regulators Organisation CEPT is carrying out its own testing of cognitive radios, to see if they can happily coexist with DTT systems, but their report isn't expected until April. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.