Feeds

It's going to be a White (Space) winter after all

First database of available frequencies gets January go-ahead

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The FCC has announced that the world's first White Space database will go live on 26 January 2012, allowing unlicensed devices to find unused frequencies, as long as they're in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The FCC has, as expected, granted the first database to Florida-based Spectrum Bridge, who recently completed a set of trials intended to prove the company had the capacity, and the capability, to run such a thing. Those trials didn't go perfectly, and the FCC expects Spectrum Bridge to address the remaining issues ahead of the launch, but come the end of January it will be legal to deploy White Space devices in at least one part of the USA.

Not that there are any White Space devices just yet, but Spectrum Bridge is poised to announce deals with manufacturers, including one or two from the UK. White Space devices are required to sense their location and then obtain from an online database a list of locally available frequencies within the TV broadcasts bands. Manufacturers are expected to sign deals with databases to provide that information for the life of the device, so getting an operational database is a necessary precursor to any White Space deployments.

Those manufacturers have been clear that they want more than one database too, to ensure competitive pressure. So the FCC has almost a dozen companies signed up (including both Google and Microsoft) to become database suppliers, providing identical information and differentiating through additional services, but Spectrum Bridge has pushed ahead to become the world's first.

Despite that, the company isn't expecting an immediate rush of deployments. The big manufacturers won't get involved until all the standards are in place and the protocols properly tested, so there's an opportunity for smaller players to gain a first-mover advantage. Even the communication between the database and the device isn't standard yet, the IETF is working on it, so devices wanting multiple options will have to speak multiple protocols.

But Spectrum Bridge is well aware that manufacturers will only want to deal with half a dozen companies globally, and once the big players get off the blocks then a specialist like Spectrum Bridge will have to make sure its footholds are solid. Which is why the company is already sharing UK White Space data on its web site, in preparation for Ofcom following the FCC's lead.

The FCC award also only covers Wilmington, for the moment at least, so while it will allow commercial sale and use of White Space radios don't expect to see them in Best Buy just yet.

But that will happen, and probably within the next year, though it might be Christmas 2013 before they're the must-have gift of the season. As the other databases come on line, and large-scale manufacturing ramps up, White Space has the potential to provide huge amounts of connectivity, and (if it all works) it could fundamentally change the way we think about radio licensing.

The use of dynamically allocated spectrum has potential way beyond spaces left by the inefficiency of television broadcasting. Spectrum Bridge is already eyeing up frequencies used by directional radar (which is only used intermittently even where it is used), and reckons that the emergency services can always wait five minutes for a band to be cleared around a scene. This is the first step on a long road to dynamic frequency allocation across the radio spectrum. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
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.