Google today opens its database of US White Space spectrum, starting the mandatory 45-day public trial. Whitespaces are unused television frequencies. The Google map keeps track of them and is used to control which channels an unlicensed “white space” hot spot can use.
The Google TV Band database identifies unoccupied portions of the TV band in your area. This trial will run until April 17, 2013. The data base must be paired with a certified White Space transmitter. So far there aren’t many of those available. KTS Wireless and Carson Wireless are two of the first manufacturers of white space devices.
Google is one of several firms given permission to compile and test White Spaces databases by the FCC. The database keeps track of available tv channels for unlicensed use by the public. White spaces could offer WiFi-like service throughout a very large house, provide neighborhood wireless networks, or provide rural broadband.
Speed is likely to be slower using White spaces. That’s because TV channels are only 6 MHz wide, compared to WiFi channels which are typically 20 MHz wide (or wider).
The FCC plans to enable licence-free hotspots using the lower frequency television band. Next year, the FCC also plans to auction channels in the 600MHz – 700 Mhz television band for licensed spectrum, likely to be used by cellular operators.
The first commercial White Spaces network in the U.S. launched in January, 2012, in North Carolina. So far, the FCC has only approved one white spaces device — a 1.5-lb. rectangular-shaped radio from Florida-based KTS Wireless.
The KTS device, used in the Hanover NC network, is a small, last-mile, transmitter. It uses the company’s frequency agile radio. It received FCC approval Dec. 26, 2011, making it the first unlicensed transmitter allowed to operate in the TV band.
Cognitive radio chips are used by the two major white space standards groups; IEEE 802.11af and IEEE 802.22. The maximum possible data rate per 6-MHz channel ranges from 18 to 22 Mbits/s. The 802.22 spec was designed for fixed rural use, operating on 6 MHz wide channels. In contrast, the 802.11af standard can aggregate channels into 5, 10, and 20 MHz bandwidths, and is designed for both mobile and fixed devices.
The IEEE this week announced it has completed and published the IEEE 802.22.2-20121 for recommended practice for installation and deployment of Wireless Regional Area Networks (WRANs). The 802.22 standard is intended to provide broadband access to wide regional areas globally and bring reliable and secure high-speed communications to under-served and un-served rural communities.
Related Dailywireless articles include; FCC Supports National White Space Networking, War 2.0 for Unlicensed Spectrum, Congressional Battle over Unlicensed Spectrum, FCC: TV Auction in 2014, Spectrum War: Unlicensed, Shared and Auctioned, White Space Radio using 802.11af Demoed, FCC: TV Auction in 2014 , FCC Dishes Dirt, Talks Up 3.5 GHz, Spectrum Bridge Partners with Carlson Wireless, Incentive Auctions: Going Nuclear, AT&T Fears FCC’s Incentive Auction Plans, FCC Moves on TV Frequency Auction, Google and Microsoft Want UK White Space?, Microsoft Announced Narrow Channel Whitespace, Microsoft Announced Narrow Channel Whitespace, FCC Authorizes White Space Service in Wilmington, Genachowski Lobbies for Unlicensed White Spaces,