GlobalStar Promotes “Licensed” WiFi in 2.4 GHz band

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Ruckus Wireless and Globalstar today announced a successful test of Wi-Fi spectrum using Globalstar’s adjacent licensed Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) spectrum.

Using the 2.4 GHz band, and carrier-grade Smart Wi-Fi equipment manufactured by Ruckus Wireless, existing smartphones were enabled to operate over the new channel via firmware upgrade.

This new Terrestrial Low Power Service (TLPS), says GlobalStar, uses their licensed channel 14 within the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi frequency band. All tests were performed over a new 22 MHz channel within the 2.4 GHz band using carrier-grade equipment manufactured by Ruckus Wireless

Globalstar’s Terrestrial Low Power Service (TLPS) has been proposed to the FCC as a privately managed extension to the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band throughout the United States. TLPS would be part of a Globalstar’s managed services offering, coordinated with its satellite services, to provide ‘Wi-Fi offload’ capacity.

The Wi-Fi/TLPS testing, performed by Jarvinian, showed that combining Globalstar’s unlicensed ISM bands with 802.11-compliant, adaptive antenna array technology from Ruckus resulted in a carrier-grade service that significantly increased Wi-Fi performance and signal range.

The “hybrid” spectrum approach could have serious implications for spectrum policy say some industry observers:

The existing ISM band is unlicensed. Globalstar effectively wants to retain exclusive use of their licensed spectrum, but couple it with unlicensed ISM spectrum to form this new service. The result would be the creation of a “licensed” Wi-Fi channel, that could only be developed and deployed by Globalstar.

GlobalStar isn’t proposing to make their spectrum into a “free” channel, available for the general public to use, and some may worry that the new channel could impact the adjacent WiFi Channel 11.

GlobalStar’s proposal may be opposed by consumer groups, as well as cellular carriers and cable operators. Carriers plan to use “free” WiFi spectrum for their own “privately branded” offload services using Hotspot 2.0 technology for seamless roaming to WiFi hotspots.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Monday, June 10th, 2013 at 3:00 pm .

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