Feeds

Google turns South African schools into White Spaces

Trying to get the government on-side

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Google has connected up ten Cape Town schools using unlicensed White Space radio spectrum, hoping to drive legislation permitting broader use of the technology in South Africa and the world.

The deployment is billed as a technical trial, proving that database-controlled White Space radios can operate in the same band as TV without disrupting the picture: but with only three sites and crowds of photogenic kiddies the intention is obviously to push legislators into permitting White Space radios generally in South Africa.

White Space devices use radio frequencies which are locally unoccupied, but have a primary user who's geographically distant and (typically) paying for use of the spectrum. Access points are required to check with an on-line database for a list of locally-empty bands, and check back regularly in case of changes. Once a band is selected client devices are notified and the network goes live, switching bands when/if required.

For stationary devices that's pretty simple, and for just three devices one could manually enter the frequencies without problems, so the trial is as much about demonstrating that it might work as proving that it does.

Such devices are already legal, and in use, in the USA, and should be legal in the UK within the next twelve months - Ofcom's time permitting. The technique is potentially as significant as wi-fi, permitting long-distance, high capacity connections in unlicensed radio frequency, and regulators are already looking at bands beyond TV where it could be applied.

Exactly what is to be transmitted in those bands is still under debate. The idea is to create something like 2.4GHz, where loads of different radio standards are used (though just two, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, dominate). Some companies are just pushing Wi-Fi down in the White Space bands, which works but isn't ideal, and some (notably Huawei) have mooted LTE as the ideal technology.

Google, it seems, is backing the Weightless standard emerging from Cambridge-based Neul. Neul is mentioned in the Google release, along with Carlson Wireless who design and build the boxes running Neul's software, which has itself recently found its way into silicon.

Google is one of the twelve companies approved to run White Space databases covering the USA, and has aspirations to provide the same service globally, but which country comes next in the quest for global domination is far from clear as regulators move slowly - which is why Google needs the photogenic kiddies. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
Comcast exec: No, we haven't banned Tor. I use it. You're probably using it
Keep in mind if, say, your Onion browser craps out on Xfinity
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.