Feeds

Ofcom, US senators turn on to cognitive radio

You are entering the white space

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
MOST iPhone strokers SPURN iOS 8: iOS 7 'un-updatening' in 5...4...
Guess they don't like our battery-draining update?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.