Feeds

Third time lucky? Google seeks open access in white spaces

Money in unexpected places

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

However, the weaknesses of the Wi-Fi metrozone experiment have highlighted the flaws in using the overcrowded 2.4GHz with WLANs, and so Google and Microsoft are looking to lower frequencies with better propagation qualities, such as TV bands, and to new technologies more optimized for mobile internet use. Whitt said the prototype products being created for the white spaces would be like “Wi-Fi on steroids” (a term previously often applied to WiMAX, whose own function in unlicensed spectrum has been somewhat sidelined of late).

The FCC, particularly the broadly Google-friendly chairman Kevin Martin, seems largely in favor of opening up the white space channels, but only if the broadcast communities’ professed fears of interference can be addressed convincingly – which prototype devices to date have clearly failed to do.

Google itself has been widely rumored to be working on its own white spaces device but, as with the mythical gPhone, its interest is in providing open and would-be universal software platforms for multiple devices, not getting into the handset business.

Whitt clarified this point better than Google has done before in a conference call about the FCC letter, saying the search company had no plans to submit a prototype device, but noting that the white spaces would be a "very nice match" for phones based on its Android open source software platform.

Google also took what is becoming a customary stance when pushing for a change in the US telecoms status quo, pledging financial and technical support for innovators prepared to challenge the incumbents, in this case the broadcasters. It said it would be willing to provide third parties with support to develop technologies that would avoid interference and make the use of white spaces viable – in particular pointing to spectrum sensing or cognitive radio techniques that can provide sophisticated anti-interference.

In practice, the push to develop a viable device architecture, including cognitive radio techniques, has been driven most powerfully by Microsoft, despite its checkered history in handsets, because of its close ties with the internet players coming into the mobile world from the PC arena – and hence working against Google’s challenger for the mobile internet crown, Nokia, notably absent from the White Spaces Coalition.

Windows Mobile has, therefore, been the initial focus of the Coalition’s activities, although Linux is likely to take over that role soon (it is the basis of Android). This week, Microsoft suffered a third rejection, with FCC officials announcing that its prototype handset “unexpectedly shut down" after proving unable to identify licensed broadcasts and avoid interference.

Microsoft will not give up easily though. “Although this is disappointing to us, we have every confidence that the FCC has many avenues available to finish gathering the information it needs to develop final white spaces rules and allow a variety of services and devices to effectively use the white spaces,” said the company in a statement.

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.