Wireless Networking To Be Improved Soon – The switch by TV broadcasters to digital broadcasting released sizeable amounts of specturm, which will soon be put to good use. The “white space” required for analog telecasting was extremely wasteful. Most original VHF channels were only the odd numbers from three to 13, because the channel between two analog stations had to be left unused to there would be no interference between stations. When UHF came along, empty guard bands were added to each of the channels for the same reason. Sometimes the white spaces accounted for as much as 70% of the total bandwidth available for TV broadcasting.
Many users of the wireless spectrum, and especially mobile-phone operators, have long lusted after these white spaces. The FCC in Washington DC has finally given a go-ahead for the white spaces to be put to use. Various segments of the white space and unused channels two to 69 are no longer needed for digital telecasting. Digital signals do not bleed into one another and can be packed closer together. Many TV broadcasters currently use little more than half the spectrum they required for analog TV. However, some were fighting to hang onto their unused white space, planning to use the frequencies to sell information services to the public. The FCC says no to that. They have auctioned off the most valuable frequencies (channels 52-69) to mobile operators. Verizon, ATT&T and others have paid nearly $20 billion to get this prime spectrum. Signals in this area can travel for miles, carry lots of information, be unaffected by weather and foliage, and go thru walls to penetrate inside buildings.
The FCC is making the white spaces below 700 MHz available for unlicensed use by the public, hoping to trigger another wireless revolution bigger than the wave of about a decade ago when the 2.4 GHz band was made available. The new frequencies allow much higher data rates. The latest Wi-Fi, 802.11n, allows 160-300 Mbps, whereas white space devices are expected to zip data along at 400-800 Mbps. Wi-Fi peters out after about 100 meters, but the white-space equivalents can have ranges of several kilometers.
Some technical problems have to be licked before this new “third pipe” access to the Internet – rivaling cable and telephone broadband – can be part of consumer products. Transmitters will have to avoid interference with local TV stations and wireless mikes. The FCC has voted to not require spectrum-sensing, but to let device-makers rely solely on interrogating online databases to find vacant channels to use. White space consumer products – in laptops, tablets, phones and other gadgets – are expected to hit the retail market by late 2012, and should change the way people live, work and play.
Dr. John Named to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – Five-time GRAMMY winner Dr. John will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2011. New Orleans foremost musical ambassador is known to family and friends as Mac Rebennack. He has been one of the most vocal advocates for rebuilding his beloved New Orleans. Joining Dr. John in this year’s induction will be The Alice Cooper Band, Neil Diamond, Darlene Love and Tom Waits.
Sirius XM Radio Adds New Satellite – The XM-5 satellite has been placed in orbit to serve as a spare for the existing satellite fleet of Sirius and XM Radio. It was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and will help ensure continuous and reliable delivery of service to millions of customers across North America. The satellite uses the SS/L 1300 spacecraft platform, of which there are currently 1300 satellites in orbit.