back to article Floody hell! Brits cram Internet of Things into tight White Spaces

Geeks in Oxford, England, have squeezed 13Mbps down and 3Mbps up a single channel of White Space – unused TV frequencies in their area – and used the tech to connect up river flood sensors. The radio network – set up by bods at UK domain registry Nominet – is one a series of trials across Blighty using the gaps in telly …

  1. Anonymous Blowhard


    Great name for the company!

    1. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: LoveHz


    2. foo_bar_baz
      Thumb Up

      Re: LoveHz

      Best thing today.

  2. Chris G


    Still not convinced of the value of the IoT, it seems to be more of a marketing ploy to make consumer data more readily available to businesses than a true benefit to consumers.

    1. James 51

      Re: IoT

      Even if that's true simpler, cheaper and more robust systems that can warn us of stuff like flooding is worth sitting through the speel for.

      1. Chris G

        Re: IoT

        I agree, uses like that are perfect, it's smart kettles and yoghurt makers I don't get.

  3. Mage Silver badge

    old telly frequencies

    What a load of cobblers.

    The frequencies are either used for Digital TV OR 800MHz LTE (soon 700 to 790MHz too).

    "White space" is a fiction. Such use will interfere with Digital TV or LTE. This will be a disaster if it's allowed and sets us back to pre 1905 in Spectrum management and protection.

    1. durandal

      Re: old telly frequencies

      You might want to read the linked article from 2012. The idea isn't that the spectrum is entirely empty , but that powerful TV transmitters will be tuned to avoid interfering with each other and the resulting shadow is ideal to stick a small, low powered transmitter in, provided there's a robust database saying what can and can't be used in a given location.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: old telly frequencies

        I know all about that ill-informed nonsense.

        The Database doesn't work. That was mathematically proved in 1950s and demonstrated it more recently. "Listening" is even worse! Search "Hidden Transmitter Syndrome".

        I've explained many times before WHY the whole concept is a fail unless EVERY TV & Tuner stick reports in real time to the internet what it's being used for.

        Also it will not be policed. People will hack/disable database access, add high gain aerials and power amps (all done already on 446MHz and 2.4GHz).

        The only workable solution is to never do it.

        Many people in a service area of a Transmitter in reality have to use a different out of area transmitter.

        Also relays / Fill in and Tropospheric conditions also make any database questionable.

        Again and again it's proven this doesn't work! Try getting any GSM / 3G / Tetra / 4G operator to agree to anyone using their licensed channels on this basis. It's a deliberate attempt to treat TV as an unprotected secondary service.

  4. Ru'

    I'm confused about why something simple and slow like flood monitoring would need that bandwidth? Or am I missing some point?

  5. jake Silver badge

    Good lord ... ALOHA net worked quite nicely ...

    ... without anywhere near that bandwidth.

    Kids these days ...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just think

    If they started using whitespace for internet access and then passing darknet that could be a grey area.

  7. PNGuinn

    Isn't this rather dangerous?

    It strikes me that river level monitoring is rather critical.

    If the system is to rely on the availability of clear spectrum at all times, then it had better be so. All the time. A little unusual propagation at a critical time, or an RF source noone thought of coming into use, perhaps in time of emergency ....

    Of course, if this is implemented the Environment Agency will ensure all this and that all equipment is located well above (undredged) flood level and there are redundant power supplies ...

    I'm sure we can all sleep safely damp in our beds.

    Description of icon seemed somewhat appropriate.

  8. David Pollard

    Data on flow rates is what's needed

    The Environment Agency already monitors river levels at each lock plus a few other locations. In most places in Oxford the local water level tracks very closely with this, following within an hour or two because the water flows quite easily through the gravel layers that underlie the flood plain.

    Details of water levels have been available on the 'net for a couple of years; a commendable effort, even though the graphical data is perhaps not in the most convenient form and reliability may leave a little to be desired


    What would be really useful is if the Environment Agency were also to make available sluice settings and the estimated flow rates both through and around locks. With this and with data for recent raindfall and near-term forecasts in the appropriate catchment areas it would be possible to predict likely levels quite accurately. Already an 'educated guess' for the next day or two can be made simply by looking at the upstream river levels and their changes.

    Unfortunately the Environment agency seems to hold onto details of data such as actual flow rates as if this were a national secret in wartime. Perhaps as well as having a few Mr Mannerings in their midst, with vital roles is the so-called bronze, silver and gold control centres which are set up to handle the crisis and control civilian populations during floods, they are also concerned that people may be a bit upset when management decisions are made which have the effect of flooding one area rather than another.

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