Feeds

Google turns South African schools into White Spaces

Trying to get the government on-side

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
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
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
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
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

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 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
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.