Feeds

Google turns South African schools into White Spaces

Trying to get the government on-side

The Power of One Infographic

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. ®

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

More from The Register

next story
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
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
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.