Wispapalooza: Jim Carlson on White Spaces

Posted by Sam Churchill on

The Wireless Internet Service Providers held their annual meeting, called Wispapalooza, this week in Las Vegas. It was the organizations biggest yet, growing some 25% over last year.

Wispapalooza featured 7 days of hands on training, marketing and sales tips new gear from vendors and updates on the regulatory environment.

There was lots to talk about.

Probably the biggest news came from Ubiquiti Networks, a company started in 2005 by Robert Pera (blog).

Based in San Jose, Ubiquiti gear has become a dominant force in the WISP industry. Ubiquiti Networks launched several new products and announced a major national advertising campaign, called the Ubiquiti World Network, designed to move [all] WISPs into general public awareness. More on that later.

White spaces were another hot topic at the show. The FCC believes unused television channels can be used to deliver internet access. It requires innovative gear that can determine if any “free” channel is available. The UHF frequencies can propagate much better through trees and canyons than the unlicensed 900, 2.4 or 5 GHz band which generally require line-of-sight (LOS).

Carlson Wireless is one of the leading vendors of White Space gear. They are partnering with Google, for TVWS trials in ten schools across South Africa. The Arcata, California RF design firm is also pioneering efforts of an El Dorado County wireless Internet provider, Cal.net, to bring internet access to remote areas in Northern California.

Jim Carlson, of Carlson Wireless, walked me through his company’s recent developments. Among other things, he explained how the emerging White Space standards, 802.22b and 802.11af differ. Carlson explained that 802.11af is modeled after WiFi, while 802.22 is modeled after WiMax (to take advantage of available chipsets). He also said that LTE in TV white spaces is also being pursued.

Rumor had it that Carlson’s white space radio would be getting an official stamp of approval from the FCC this week, but the government shutdown delayed that announcement.

White Space gear makers include Carlson Wireless, KTS Wireless, Adaptrum and Redline Communications.

I’ll have more on the Wispapalooza Conference later. A shout out goes to Ubiquiti Networks which paid for my airfare and hotel to attend the conference!

Posted by Sam Churchill on Friday, October 18th, 2013 at 6:35 am .

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