Feeds

Wireless industry slams NAB's white space 'misinformation'

TVGoHome

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The row over US ‘white space’ spectrum continues, with the newly formed Wireless Innovation Alliance stepping up its campaign to convince the FCC and the industry that wireless devices can be used in these areas without interfering with digital TV signals.

The WIA last week accused the broadcast industry, as represented by the National Association of Broadasters (NAB), of misleading the public just as the FCC prepares to test updated wireless devices from the likes of Microsoft (the original prototypes failed non-interference testing, though the WIA claims this had more to do with poor testing methods than real problems for digital TV signals). These products are designed to work in an unused channel within the digital TV band, but to switch to another channel if the first is needed for a television signal.

The WIA was formed last month to lobby the FCC to complete testing and move forward with technical guidelines. Six House of Representatives members wrote to FCC chairman Kevin Martin recently to urge a final decision in the next few months. The transition from analog to digital TV is due to be completed in February 2009.

“Upcoming testing of white space concept devices is meant to assist FCC engineers to craft the strongest possible rules while ensuring maximum public benefit. Yet instead of respecting the FCC’s desire to perform concept testing, your recent public misinformation campaign has confused the testing process and misled the public and policy makers,” stated the WIA in a letter to NAB president David Rehr.

“A successful consumer transition from analog to digital television is now imperiled by a cadre of companies that have been hoisted on their own flawed technology petard,” said Dennis Wharton, NAB executive VP. “Try as they might, portable unlicensed device advocates like Google and Microsoft cannot run and hide from the fact that their own technology utterly failed FCC testing. That is not ‘misinformation,’ but rather an inconvenient truth.”

Several vendors have now submitted updated devices, claiming improved anti-interference performance, for testing by the FCC. These include Google (actually its first attempt); Philips (whose white spaces ‘sense-and-avoid’gear did pass previous government testing); and start-up Adaptrum.

The latter, founded by Robert Broderson, also co-founder of Atheros, uses the whole 6MHz of the DTV signal and contains a time domain matched filter, a technique designed to permit greater sensitivity than pilot tone detectors. Microsoft is also about to deliver a new device, while Motorola has already presented the FCC with a white spaces unit that combines geolocation database and sensing technologies.

While the white spaces debate has largely focused on the arguments between unlicensed wireless and broadcasting, there is another lobby that wants the spectrum to be subject to license and used for backhaul – another area where bandwidth is at a premium. Leading the fight for this application are Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA, which of course are at a disadvantage in backhaul terms compared to AT&T and Verizon, which own many of their own lines.

The fixed licensing plan was originally drawn up in October by FiberTower and the Rural Telecommunications Group and the two cellcos announced their support last week, as did General Electric’s healthcare unit, which opposes unlicensed wireless because of the risk of interference to medical telemetry systems.

“Because backhaul comprises a significant cost for wireless carriers, and incumbent local exchange carriers’ special access charges are exorbitant, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile must find more affordable alternatives to the ILECs’ special access offerings,” the carriers told the FCC. “Despite this need, the amount of spectrum in the lower bands that is realistically available for the provision of wireless backhaul services has declined dramatically over the years. As wireless carriers expand the development of their 3G and 4G wireless networks, the need for reliable and cost effective backhaul will increase.”

Copyright © 2008, Faultline

Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week's events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.

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
BT claims almost-gigabit connections over COPPER WIRE
Just need to bring the fibre box within 19m ...
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
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.