Feeds

White space debate comes to Blighty

Less space, more debate

3 Big data security analytics techniques

While the FCC is happy to let consumers in the USA make use of the space between TV channels, in the UK the debate is only just beginning.

Once analogue TV transmissions are switched off the digital network will still leave regional gaps, known as white spaces, where some believe low-powered devices should be allowed to hang out, as the FCC recently approved in the USA. But others point out that the UK is a small island and any use of white spaces is going to have to be strictly controlled to prevent interference with TV transmissions.

The problem was highlighted by Adrian Payne, a scientist presenting for NXP Semiconductors at a recent Institution of Engineering Technology seminar, PolicyTracker reports. Payne has calculated that a white-space system using channels directly adjacent to broadcast TV risks interferring if the device is within 27 metres of a TV aerial.

Even if there's a clear gap between the frequency used by TV channels and that being exploited by a white-space device interference is still possible if the device is less than four metres from the aerial.

In the USA using adjacent channels provides 114MHz of spectrum, while leaving a gap reduces that to 30MHz - still a useful amount of spectrum. But in the UK our transmitter density means that only 25MHz is available using adjacent channels, and nothing at all if a gap is left.

Ensuring that white-space devices remain more than 27 metres from any TV aerial is going to be a challenge, particularly in the UK where few people spend their time that far from an aerial. If Ofcom decides to adopt the no-licence-required approach agreed by the FCC it would seem impossible to use adjacent channels, but requiring a gap would limit white-space deployments to the Highlands and parts of Northern Ireland - perhaps useful for connecting rural communities, but that's not where the money is.

Ofcom is looking into the matter, as well as working with the PMSE (Programme Making & Special Events) industry about the continued use of wireless microphones after analogue switch-off. The PMSE crowd are still waiting to hear who's going to manage their spectrum - last month Ofcom admitted the business is worth just shy of a million quid a year (pdf) so that companies can bid sensibly, but they don't yet know where that spectrum will be so manufacturers can't make kit and production companies can't buy anything.

The concern is that PMSE will get pushed into white space, further squeezed between TV channels, and at risk from interference from unlicensed white-space devices that don't manage to sense and avoid legitimate users - something you don't want happening in the middle of a West End musical.

It's unlikely the UK debate will see animated evil telephones or endorsements from Dolly Parton - we don't tend to do things that way. But it is likely to be equally vehement, and no matter who loses you can be sure that Ofcom will get the blame. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

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
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
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?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
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.
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.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.