Where Wi-Fi won’t, white spaces will.
The potential for white spaces to facilitate systems from city-wide wireless broadband networks to remote monitoring of electricity meters is being outlined in a new ATDI document – along with how to use the company’s flagship planning and modelling tools to unlock the resources that white spaces represent.
White spaces are vacant frequencies made available for unlicensed use at locations where spectrum is not being used by licensed services. This band is currently used by television companies and programme-making and special events (PMSE) operators; in a region where a broadcast channel is not in use for broadcasting, the spectrum is fallow.
“Unused spectrum is somewhat more valuable than gold in the radiocommunications industry,” comments ATDI technical director Nick Kirkman. “ATDI has been considering the best ways to exploit the potential white space represents for some time and the results of that now feature in the ICS software suite.”
The majority of current Wi-Fi devices operate in spectrum at 2.4GHz. White spaces could not only provide new spectrum capacity but also boost the distance a device can be from a base station and still be connected, thanks to the lower frequency involved – typically between 470 and 790MHz. This has the potential to facilitate wireless broadband networks that stretch across towns and cities.
White space technology works in a similar way to Wi-Fi which uses a wireless router to send and receive information to other wireless devices. The main difference is that the white space router will first need to consult a list of online databases. It will notify one of these databases of its location and update it on a regular basis.
The latest versions from the ICS telecom family calculate from the database of television stations the channels available on each point in a given area. This protects the existing spectrum users against any harmful interference, while providing resources to new operators who have not been allocated licensed spectrum.
ATDI’s brochure also outlines white spaces’ potential for facilitating rural broadband and the Internet of things, whereby homes and offices are fitted with smart meters and sensors which can be read remotely.