White Spaces

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MAS 355
12/4/2012
Microsoft’s New Use For “White Spaces”
A “white space” is defined as the gap in the radio spectrum that exists between bands that have been reserved for television broadcasting. In other words, they are the unused radio frequencies that were left unused after the transformation form analog television to signal to digital was federally mandated. These once unused spaces could now be used to allow devices to transmit and receive wireless signals, which could potentially unlock a range of uses. Some examples of these uses would be that utility meters in customer’s homes would be able to wirelessly measure the latest readings and automatically update that specific account as well as businesses taking advantage of this technology by remotely tracking their inventory. These new “white space” devices are projected to launch in the UK nearing the end of 2013.

The main purpose of white spaces is to offer an immense amount of capacity in order to take the weight off wireless networks. In comparison to technology today, the amount of capacity in the white spaces will be on the same level, if not larger, than that of the spectrum of 3G services. Once the vacant spaces begin to be used, new and innovative applications, for businesses and the consumer, will be able to be developed while efficiently maximizing the use of the spectrum. The new applications will provide people with technologies that they have not seen before and will be exciting for them to be able to get the most they can while taking advantage of the white spaces. An example of that is the relatively new and unexplored area of machine-to-machine communication. This gives the machines the ability to exchange information between each other. White spaces will contribute to this because they will be able to transmit the necessary information using its long-range reach wirelessly. This application will be very useful in a variety of ways, which include giving businesses the ability to keep inventory of their stock in a much easier way. Another application that will emerge with the use of white spaces is that it will be able to provide rural areas with broadband services. This application is still being tested and experimented with but it is a very possible addition to the advantages of using white spaces. The most exciting and sought out application that will come from the use of white spaces is enhanced WiFi. The new, larger capacity that the white spaces will be able to maintain will be used to boost the range of devices. This will take WiFi to a completely different level seeing as though it will be able to reach across entire cities.

White spaces are a new form of technology that can potentially be extremely valuable to consumers as well as businesses. These spaces have specific characteristics that set it apart from other similar technologies. The new digital signals would be able to avoid bleeding into one another, which allows it to be packed even closer together. Some of the advantages of the use of these white spaces are that the signals can carry a lot more information, they are unaffected by weather and other environmental issues, and the signals can pass through walls. All of these advantages will allow mobile carriers to cover, from a single tower alone, up to ten times the area possible from an existing tower using standard frequencies. This would make dropped phone calls a part of history forever. Another positive is that a new breed of wireless internet service providers who would be utilizing the white space frequencies would not have to pay for their spectrum which will allow them to offer the new high-speed broadband at dramatically lower costs than today.

The FCC hopes that by opening up television’s white space to the public that it will trigger another wireless revolution. This could be bigger than the wave of new technologies that first appeared in the WiFi and Bluetooth era. This technology is much...
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