Feeds

Ofcom's pilot starts seeing signs

First spectrum map of the UK

The Power of One Infographic

We're one month into a four-month trial attempting to map radio spectrum usage in the UK and the companies involved are already turning up some interesting and occasionally downright odd results.

The idea of the trial is to establish if mapping spectrum usage is a sensible thing to do - whether useful information can be gathered at a reasonable cost. But after only a month CRFS, the company providing the analysis kit, is confident enough to present the ongoing results to a group of interested spectrum professionals, including the nice chaps at Policy Tracker.

The project uses spectrum-scanning technology from CRFS mounted onto roof-racks, which are in turn fitted to 15 cars belonging to an unnamed sales company that has drivers regularly traversing the country. As the drivers go about their usual business, the roof racks log spectrum use to a USB key which is then uploaded to produce country-wide maps.

Some of the results are unremarkable - hardly anyone in the UK is transmitting around 3GHz, but 866MHz is almost equally clear of users, which is more of a surprise. More directly worrying is the amount of usage happening around 2.6GHz; spectrum that is due to be auctioned off next year but will be distinctly less valuable if it turns out to be full of squatters. They could just be legacy users who've not yet moved on - the Performance & Special Events crowd hang out there some times - but any buyer will expect a clearer field than exists at the moment.

Anyone hoping to use GPS around Meadowhall, a shopping complex near Sheffield, should be aware of an unusually high spike in the frequencies used by the satellite location service. This could be attributed to a welder or similar sparking equipment, but only more testing will determine if it's really an attempt by the owners of Meadowhall to ensure people stop to ask for directions.

Even more bizarre is the 1.075GHz spike in the middle of Millom in Cumbria. This emanates from the square in the centre of the North-eastern town, without propagating down nearby streets, indicating a vertical transmission, but where it's coming from is anyone's guess.

This information has been gathered in a month, using 15 cars. CRFS would like to have 30 vehicles and 1000 static monitoring points to create a comprehensive radio-usage map of the UK. But that will take money, and even with promises that the £12,000 cost of the roof racks can be reduced there is still a question as to who is going to pay for the creation and upkeep of such a map.

Ofcom is the obvious option, but for the moment it lacks the mandate and the funds to pay for such a thing, despite the obvious value to both radio network operators and the general public. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.