FCC Says White-Space Spectrum Device Doesn't Work

from the proto-failure dept

A gaggle of tech companies, led by Google and Microsoft, have been pushing the FCC to open up the "white space" spectrum -- open airwaves in between those used by TV broadcasts -- for use by electronic devices and broadband services. This has been talked about for quite some time, and represents one way to more efficiently use spectrum, which is a finite and very valuable resource. The group delivered a prototype to the FCC earlier this year, as a way to show that the technology to allow devices to automatically detect what spectrum's in use and what's available, and route communications accordingly, is viable. The FCC's been testing it for several months, and it's all good, except for one little problem: it doesn't actually work. The Commission says the prototype couldn't detect TV broadcasts, and it also sometimes interfered with them. While this current iteration of the technology sounds like a failure, the FCC is still open to the idea of allowing use of the white spaces; now Google, Microsoft and their friends just need to get the technology right before things can move forward.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Kyros, Aug 7th, 2007 @ 9:15pm

    See, this is good news that everyone wants to hear. Inovation and good use of resources. It's just a shame it's purely a matter of time before it ends in patent debacle and lots of suing. But, hurray for the moment?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    General Eskimo, Aug 7th, 2007 @ 9:50pm


    Obviously, hurray for incompetence!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2007 @ 11:17pm

    Forgive the skepticism, but I really can't trust the FCC to get anything right anymore. Who wants to bet that they were just unable to properly work the device?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 4:36am

    Clearly the device ran on some form of windows....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 6:10am


    or OS X

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Slightly Confused, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 6:31am

    Why Bother?

    Aren't we about to have a spectrum auction that will take these exact airways and sell them for this exact purpose? Please forgive me if I'm wrong, but within a few years this 'while spectrum device' will be a moot point and completely useless ... right? And even though it would be useful until then, it probably wouldn't make much, if any, money for whoever invests in it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Phil, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 6:37am

    Who actually built and designed this device? If it was in-house at Google and/or Microsoft it isn't much surprise that the device didn't work. This type of thing should be made an organization that has, you know, actual experience building communication equipment.

    By the way, they submitted two devices. The second worked acceptably even though it was supposed to not yet be ready.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Brian, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 11:34am

    That's why people buy licensed spectrum

    Licensed spectrum was created for the very reason why this device is failing...BUT, if people bought licensed spectrum, then device choice becomes limited and then investors would need to make a return on investment and so on and so forth...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Barney, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 9:21pm

    9 will get you 10 the device's bandwidth was too narrow and detected the TV signal as noise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Dana, Sep 13th, 2007 @ 3:44pm

    White noise..

    Elsewhere on the 'Net .. it says the product that they tested was defective and that the FCC refused to use the one that was not defective to retest the item.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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