back to article FCC rubberstamps rules for 'WiFi on steroids'

The FCC has approved the final rules for unlicensed access to the TV "white space" spectrum, paving the way for what is commonly called "WiFi on steroids." The commission has dropped the sensing requirement for white space devices, though we still don't know who gets to run national databases telling people what frequencies …


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  1. Eddy Ito


    I'm fairly confident that it will be a joke with high prices and monopigly defined areas. If you're thinking it will be like cable service in the US, you've got the right idea. High prices, frequent outages and claims that it's ten times as fast as DSL, which it is... with a single user.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    It won't be that long before some enterprising hardware hacker comes up with a way to spoof or bypass the central database and allow users to run their white space devices on a frequency of their own choosing.

    Then the screaming and yelling will begin....

  3. Herby


    Dolly Parton IS right. This is a unmitigated disaster. Sure every unit will have a GPS. So what! If the white space was viable, it would be used for TV signals, These little boxes will be a mess for anyone who uses wireless microphones. They already took away the 700MHz spectrum here in the USA, and the 800MHZ (we had TV channels 70-83 there!) spectrum is mostly unused by analog cell phones (nobody has them anymore!). Oh, and by the way, in several metro areas in the USA TV channels are allocated to two-way radio service. The white space junk spews out without knowing how it will be received. If the receiver happens to be in an area where the TV channel IS used, and then feels like responding, interference ensues. Not very good! Then one needs to take into account heights of the transmitter. In the SF bay area small signals on the top of hills can be heard for miles, and go into SEVERAL markets. It doesn't work, and it never will. Dolly Parton IS right!

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  5. david 12 Silver badge

    Not a problemm in AUS

    Because the AUS government has committed to building a new fibre-to-the-home television distribution service. That will free up the digital TV channels (the analog TV channels are already going).

    I wouldn't be suprised if something similar happens in the OK - what entrenched interests do you have that would like to see the old TV service replaced with something different?

  6. Jason Bloomberg

    Flawed assumption?

    That the devices will be connected in a manner which allows them to access the database in the first place.

    If employed as LAN access points, inter-LAN links, or with traffic blocked by a firewall up the line, it is quite possible that a "white space" device will never check the database, may be stomping on bands it is not meant to and the culprit will likely be hard to track down by those interfered with.

    Does the spec call for the device not to use "white space" if it cannot access the database? Will cheap or dodgy kit actually implement the spec properly?

    1. Tom Chiverton 1

      Doesn't matter

      Someone will write a FOSS stack to mangle all this stuff, and someone else will change "if allowed then turn on" to just "turn on".


      Stupid idea.

  7. Chris 211

    2.4ghz is dead

    Well somethings got to happen, maybe more focus on 5ghz which has plenty of channels when compared to 2.4ghz's 3 channels which are quickly used up in an urban environment. Sadly netgears cheap and nasty range of semi complaint wireless equipment doesn't scan for least congested channel so just plonks itself in a pre-determined channel. Regardless of how many times that channel is already used. FAIL! Then dumb end users wonder why there wireless doesn't work. Can netgear please also allow the power levels to be changed then maybe wireless can be tuned to 'fit' in the house and not spew all over the next 10 houses!

    *everything I said is fact!

  8. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Better be conservative!

    "They already took away the 700MHz spectrum here in the USA, and the 800MHZ (we had TV channels 70-83 there!) spectrum is mostly unused by analog cell phones"

    The 800mhz is unused by *analog* cell phones because everyone has digital phones. In most markets, the two 800mhz bands are absolutely full, depending on who uses the band either full with GSM & UMTS (AT&T usually), or full with CDMA & EVDO channels (Verizon, US Cellular, etc.). It's not unused by a long shot.

    As for this whitespace -- I hope this is set VERY conservatively for what white space can be used! Rural areas don't have as many stations, but this just means people try to pull in stations from 50-100 miles or sometimes more -- these people are considered outside the station's service area by the FCC, but have no local stations (or at least not enough to get all the ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, WB, and on digital subchannels maybe RetroTV and ThisTV), so they pick up stations they are supposedly outside the range of by popping up a large antenna. I personally get some stations from about 70 miles away, because locally I can only pick up PBS, WB, and Fox. I'll be quite pissed if some Microsoft thing starts broadcasting over my channels!

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