FCC planning to open white spaces for ‘super Wi-Fi’

fcc to forge ahead with national broadband despite comcast ruling chairman julius genachowski

It’s been years coming, but the Federal Communications Commission appears ready to vote on regulations governing the use of spectrum gaps so they can be used for high-bandwidth mobile services, kind of a “super Wi-Fi.” The regulatory framework would approve the use of devices that operate in spectrum space normally reserved for television—so long as those devices don’t interfere with broadcast television or technologies like wireless microphones, they would be able to offer high-bandwidth wireless services.

A vote could come on September 23.

The regulations up for vote would open up spectrum white spaces for free, unlicensed use in a manner similar to the way frequencies currently being used for short-range Wi-Fi and Bluetooth operate. Wireless equipment makers are particularly keen to move into white spaces because, unlike existing Wi-Fi and Bluetooth services, signals in this spectrum space easily penetrate walls can can travel for miles—just like broadcast television. There’s also the bandwidth to consider: white space technologies should be available to deliver wireless bandwidth in the range of 15 to 20 megabits per second, putting it on par with many wired broadband technologies. Whitespace technologies could be very important for bringing broadband to rural areas and other regions underserved by existing broadband technologies.

To address interference issues, the proposed regulations would have installers required to configure white-space equipment to use frequencies that are unused in a particular area—due to the scattershot and varied availability of broadcast television across the country, there is no single set of whitespace frequencies that can be used uniformly throughout the United States. Alternatively, whitespace devices could configure their frequency use using location-aware technologies: the devices could use, say, GPS coordinates to look up their current location in a central database, then configure their frequencies to match whitespaces in their current location.

The wireless industry has wanted the FCC to mandate that whitespace devices include spectrum-sensing technology that would automatically detect what areas of the spectrum are currently in use in an area and prevent the devices from using those spectrums. The fear is that whitespace devices could interfere with television reception and emergency communications. The FCC has, so far, omitted requirements that whitespace devices include spectrum-sensing gear.

The FCC regulations also aim to set aside at least two channels for use of short-range wireless microphones, which operate in the same frequency bands. Wireless mics are frequently used by music performers, theaters, speakers, officials, and other public presenters.

Features

Cities looking to get smart take a lesson from America’s largest shopping mall

From Disney World to the Mall of America, public venues are becoming microcosms for smart city projects. We dove into both, to show what government officials can learn – and what you can expect from your city.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Gaming

Xbox One S vs. PlayStation 4 Slim: Which console is worth your money?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?
Deals

Best deals on smart locks so you’ll never have to worry about unlocked doors

Is your front door locked? We found the best deals on smart home door locks that take the worry out of wondering if your home is secure. You can lock or unlock your doors remotely and some models let you control locks with voice commands.
Computing

Secure your Excel documents with a password by following these quick steps

Excel documents are used by people and businesses all over the world. Given how often they contain sensitive information, it makes sense to keep them from the wrong eyes. Thankfully, it's easy to secure them with a password.
Computing

Which Macs are compatible with MacOS Mojave?

Is your computer ready for Apple's big Mojave update? Here's what you need to know about MacOS Mojave compatibility, what Macs can successful download Mojave, and the requirements you need to know about.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Change your mouse cursor in Windows with these quick tips

The standard mouse cursor is boring, so change it! With this guide on how to change your mouse cursor in Windows, you can choose to use one of Microsoft's pre-installed cursors or download something a bit more extravagant.
Gaming

The DualShock 4 is one of the best controllers ever, and you can use it with a PC

Sony's new DualShock 4 controller has become a fan favorite, and some people want to use it with a PC. Here's how to connect your DualShock 4 and start using it, either with an official adapter, or unofficial software.
Computing

MacBook Pro battery replacement: Everything you need to know

Looking for a new battery for your MacBook Pro? It's important you know what to look for, what model you have, and what options Apple gives you! We'll cover everything you need to know about Apple MacBook Pro battery replacement.
Computing

Lost your router? Here's how to find its IP address to help track it down

Changing the login information for your router isn't always easy, that's why so many have that little card on the back. But in order to use it, you need to know where to go. Here's how to find the IP address of your router.
Computing

Acer Swift 7 vs. Apple MacBook Air

The Acer Swift 7 accomplishes its goal of being the world's thinnest notebook, and it's well-built to boot. But is that enough to take on the Apple MacBook Air in terms of being the better to actually use?
Computing

Asus ZenBook 14 UX433 vs. Dell XPS 13

The Asus ZenBook 14 UX433 has some incredibly tiny display bezels, in an effort to jam a 14-inch notebook into a 13-inch chassis. That pits it against the Dell XPS 13, the icon of small clamshells.
Computing

Intel’s 28-core monster Xeon CPU might cost upwards of $4,000

Intel's new-generation 28-core Xeon CPU will debut with a hefty price tag. Although not quite as expensive as some of its predecessors, early pre-order pricing has it costing between $4,000 and $5,000.