back to article Does white space need to be Weightless?

Next week will see the formal launch of the Weightless radio protocol, designed for use in the soon-to-be-available white space frequencies. But can a protocol without weight really do it all? Next Friday (30 September), all the major companies in the UK white space business will be gathered in Cambridge to talk about which …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    When you said "Weightless" I was hoping for a new form of faster-than-light, neutrino-based communications. Rather than the wireless-mike killing white space mundanity. Light speed comms is so last week.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think you may be onto something there.

      The answer to why the radio telescopes have not detected any signs of alien technologies. Why use 186,000 miPS comm when there is faster service available ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        technological backwater

        Why use miPS when there are proper metric units available?

  2. ScissorHands
    Black Helicopters

    Usual British pluck against American muscle?

    I was under the impression that White Space was American tech companies' attempt to do an end run around mobile providers, by extending vanilla Wi-Fi everywhere and creating an ubiquitous competitor for 3G and 4G .

  3. Mage Silver badge

    Let's dedicate a Band for TV and nothing else...

    We don't need a new protocol.

    Also it should be OFDMA not single carrier TDMA

    But basically it should not happen at all. It's stunningly stupid.

  4. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Single communication standard

    "a single communications standard, as the Wi-Fi band (2.4GHz) has done"

    So which single communication standard is that?

    Is it 802-11, 802-11b, 802-11g, 802-11n, Bluetooth, 802-15.4 (Zigbee), my car alarm radar, my flash remotes, my neighbour's wireless doorbell, their video sender, or my other neighbour's baby monitor?

  5. Andus McCoatover

    I think this is simply asking for trouble.

    Let's legalise cocaine at the same time. Can't see much difference.

    I don't like 'regulations' but sometimes they're there for a purpose. This is like the equivalent of permitting 10-year-olds to drive their dad's Ferrarri.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      I for one can't wait to run a packet sniffer on this new wireless cocaine of which you speak.

      1. Andus McCoatover


        Airsnort taking on a new meaning...

  6. jake Silver badge

    Hmmmm ...

    A duplex, point-to-point protocol, designed to transmit anything to anywhere.

    These fine folks[1] have invented AlohaNET. Or NNTP/SMTP over amateur packet radio.

    [1] I hesitate to call them "Boffins", for what should be obvious reasons.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Correct term in this case would probably be trick cyclists.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Gordon 10

        Uh ... no.

        Do try to keep up ...

  7. Arctic fox

    RE: "Light speed comms is so last week."

    Or maybe last week, this week and next week - all at one and the same "time".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      !Unite. !World the of Tachyons

      that is all.

  8. Red Bren

    Catch-22 or am I missing something?

    "Devices have to check with an online database to see what frequencies are available locally"

    How does a wireless device check with an online database to see what frequencies are available for use to carry out tasks such as checking an online database to see what frequencies are available for use to carry out tasks such as checking an online database to see what frequencies are available...

    1. rurwin

      Catch-22 or am I missing something?

      With Weightless, the central node is implied to have more power than the nodes it is talking to, so it will check the database using other means.

      But where the band is used for peer-to-peer networking you clearly have a point.

      1. Bill Ray (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Catch-22 or am I missing something?

        The hub is expected to have some sort of internet connection by which to check, but P2P connectivity is something the SIG expects to discuss next week.

        It's possible some sort of cached database could be used. A fire station could (for example) let the engine know the available frequenices at the location of the fire to which it was travelling, allowing fire fighters to use white space for P2P comms without any backhaul.

        That would be dependent on Ofcom allowing it, but it's an interesting model.


      2. Andus McCoatover

        ...using other means...

        Like I used to get "Promulgated to NOTAMS (Notification to Airmen)" - (tautology, or what??) when I flew light aircraft as a hobby, I think "other means" is by Royal Mail.

        It could also use the technique dangerously pioneered in the Internet Standard RFC 1149*

        Sorry, been in Finland awhile. Does RM still exist?


  9. Mike Pellatt

    IP maybe, but TCP ??

    "(Weightless will happily carry IPv4 and IPv6 packets)"

    But on reading the description of the protocol, I think the chances of TCP running over it will be near-zero.

    A bit like TCP running over the 2G network, then.

    On another topic, why is it that the TV spectrum space attracts such stupidity. It started with "slotting" Channel 5 into the "unused" guard channels in the band plan. And just goes downhill from there.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    It should be reserved for TV

    where are all the HD programmes going to be broadcast ? Over Astra Satelites ?

    Why not just utilise the old analogue TV space.

    As it is you have to go to Murdoch's evil empire to get any reasonable amount of HD / 3D, this space could let the Beeb , ITV , CH4 and Five all have more space to do their channels in Freeview HD and experiment with 3D.

    Also , in the not so distant future, when the Beeb want to broadcast "3D Super-HiDef in 4096*2048" in the year 2020 (yes I am making this up ) , they'll have the bandwidth to do it and they will not be able to say "but you sold all the UHF TV Band off"

    Of course I could be talking out of my arse , and in the near future well have 3D Super HiDef TV broadcast over IPTV.

    Mind you Big Brother , X factor, Coronation St, I am a Celebrity Get Me out of here, and Eastenders will still not be worth watching no matter what definition they broadcast it in .

    Still, IMO the TV UHF Band should be kept just as it is.

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