Long Range Wi-Fi Through Unused TV Spectrum Fragments

Long Range Wi-Fi Through Unused TV Spectrum Fragments
Nicko Margolies
  • 20 august 2009

It may not look like much, but that little box could be the answer to long distance Wi-Fi connectivity, possibly from a mile away.  Yesterday, at the SIGCOMM Conference in Barcelona, the Networking Research Group from Microsoft Research presented their WhiteFi project to expand wireless capabilities through unused portions of the TV spectrum.


Image credit: Getty Images, Joshua Caldwell/Flicker

As television stations migrate to digital broadcasts from traditional analog signals, they free up space on the lower and longer traveling frequencies.  The empty fragments of the spectrum can be utilized to broadcast a broadband wireless internet signal, though serious technological and regulatory barriers remain.  While the FCC freed some transmit signals over these empty white spaces of the broadcast spectrum, they are hesitant to let devices interfere with current signals.  A wireless broadcast device must also synchronize with the communication device accessing its signal, constantly jumping between frequencies to minimize interference.

With more research and available broadcast frequencies, we will hopefully see the range of wireless devices jump onto spectrum previously reserved for television programing and allow long range internet access without significant infrastructure investment.

[via Technology Review]


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