TV White Space – Breakthrough Technology

TV White Space technology is revolutionizing traditional broadband. With our RuralConnect radio, Carlson Wireless is the leading contender in this emerging industry. Carlson customers are using TV white-space technology to bring broadband where it’s never been before.

What exactly is “TV White Space”?

TV White Space refers to the unused TV channels between the active ones in the VHF and UHF spectrum. These are typically referred to as the “buffer” channels. In the past, these buffers were placed between active TV channels to protect broadcasting interference. It has since been researched and proven that this unused spectrum can be used to provide broadband Internet access while operating harmoniously with surrounding TV channels.

In 2010, the FCC made this highly effective yet underutilized spectrum available for unlicensed public use. With the use of a database manager and a White Space radio, these channels can be used to access broadband Internet connectivity. 

Better Coverage than Wi-Fi

While a traditional Wi-Fi router has a relatively limited range, around 100 meters under perfect conditions, and can be blocked by walls or other environmental barriers, TV White Space technology can cover an expanse of about 10 kilometers in diameter (100 times the distance)! This breakthrough technology was nicknamed “Super Wi-Fi” because of its superior range and ability to penetrate obstacles such as trees, buildings and rough terrain.

WiFi vs TVWS

Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Performance

Microwave links require line-of-sight (LOS) between the points being connected. In areas with rugged or forested terrain, the tall towers necessary to provide this line-of-sight connection make microwave an expensive and unfeasible solution. TV White Space technology provides an effective alternative to microwave by utilizing the lower-frequency UHF signals that can penetrate obstacles and cover uneven ground without requiring additional infrastructure.

Carlson White Space Illustration

Wifi symbol on mail hand

White Space Community Hotspot

A New Broadband Possibility – Connecting More People

As we become more reliant on the Internet for communication, information, health services, and business relations, it has started to become clear that connectivity should be seen as a basic human right. Unfortunately, due to environmental obstacles, distance from major ISPs, and lack of financial incentives, connectivity is scarce in these areas with low population density. This results in expensive and complex networks with a lack of options for those living in these rural communities.

We at Carlson Wireless seek to change this with our RuralConnect radio. The RuralConnect thrives in these developing regions, as it is able to act as a backhaul to networks close by, utilize more open channels, deploy quickly even in difficult terrain, and utilize less equipment/infrastructure to provide coverage at further distances – saving customers money. Furthermore, the RuralConnect is not just limited to rural environments. Given available channels, White Space is also a viable option for more densely populated areas as urban demonstrations have shown. This “Super Wi-Fi” effect allows us to connect more people in more places than ever before.

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TV White Space for Internet of Things

Beyond Broadband – Connecting More Things

Aside from connecting people, TV White Space is also capable of connecting things. This technology can make a connected home or work space a reality by offering a broadband signal capable of handling multiple devices reporting large amounts of data across long distances. Someday, TV White Space will enable smart cities with connected home devices, sports stadiums, shopping centers, municipal areas, and more

Interference-Free Operations

RuralConnect interacts with spectrum databases for interference-free operation. Carlson has teamed up with database providers Telcordia (now iconectiv) and Spectrum Bridge to demonstrate how this works. You can see it for yourself in this short video, “Dynamic Spectrum in Action”:

How Much Spectrum is Available in Your Region?

Online resources, like Spectrum Bridge’s interactive database, “Show My White Spaces” and Google™’s “Browse Spectrum Database” tool can be used to find the available channels in any given area.

 

Google Spectrum Database Screenshot

This screenshot from Google’s™ “Browse Spectrum Database” tool shows the available channels in the vicinity of the Carlson Wireless Technologies headquarters in Arcata, CA

To learn more about the RuralConnect and what White Space technology can do for your project or community, contact us today.

You can also register to download our white paper or technical spec sheets.

 

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TV White Space Icon

Frequently Asked Questions

TV WHITE SPACE

IS TV WHITE SPACE TECHNOLOGY VIABLE INTERNATIONALLY?

While the United States and United Kingdom are the forerunners in developing this new technology, many other countries are following their lead, and TV White Space is on track for worldwide usage. For Canadian users, the UHF band includes spectrum available now for light licensed use. South Africa, Singapore, and New Zealand are not far behind in developing regulations and shaping the TV White Space landscape in their countries.

 

HOW DO I FIND CHANNELS IN MY AREA?

There are a number of free online tools designed to determine the available channels in any given area, such as Spectrum Bridge’s Show My White Space and Google’s™ “Browse Spectrum” tool depicted above.

 

WILL TV WHITE SPACE WORK IN MY AREA?

After determining the available channels in your location, a Carlson sales engineer can perform a detailed propagation study, which will provide you with an approximation of the coverage, range, and signal strength you can expect from the RuralConnect.

HOW DOES UHF COMPARE TO VHF?

VHF spectrum offers better ground coverage, but reflection can occur when going between objects separated by distances smaller than its wavelength. UHF’s higher throughput and superior coverage in wooded areas make it the ideal choice for rural broadband.

 

WHAT IS THE EFFECTIVE RANGE IN a NLOS APPLICATION?

While the range will vary depending upon the terrain and obstacles in each individual location, users can typically expect an area of high throughput extending 3-7 miles from the Base Station.

 

WHAT IS THE EFFECTIVE THROUGHPUT IN A NLOS ENVIRONMENT?

The throughput will vary depending on terrain, obstacles, number of client stations, and other factors. The RuralConnect supports a throughput of up to 12.3 Mb/s (16.8 Mb/s OTA).

RURALCONNECT

HOW CAN I PURCHASE A RURALCONNECT TV WHITE SPACE RADIO?

The RuralConnect is currently available now for sale across all international and domestic markets. To speak to a Carlson sales engineer about ordering the RuralConnect, call us at (707) 822-7000 or send us an email.

 

HOW MANY CLIENTS ARE POSSIBLE PER BASE STATION?

The amount of clients connected to the RuralConnect access point is greatly dependent on the throughput needs of the user. For rural broadband service with 4 Mbps down and 1.5 Mbps we suggest a maximum of 10 to 12 clients. For a telemetry application such as oil and gas wellhead data, 30 to 40 client units can be utilized.

 

WHAT FREQUENCIES DOES THE RURALCONNECT USE?

The RuralConnect is compatible with the UHF frequency band, which runs from 470 to 698 MHz in the U.S., or 470 to 786 MHz internationally.

 

WHAT STANDARD DOES THE RURALCONNECT FOLLOW?

The RuralConnect follows a Carlson proprietary standard closest to IEEE 802.22.

 

HOW DOES THE RURALCONNECT INTERACT WITH GEOLOCATION DATABASES?

Geolocation databases track which channels are available in each geographic region. To learn more about the specifics of device-database connections, watch our demonstration video.

 

WHAT KINDS OF ANTENNAS DOES THE RURALCONNECT SUPPORT?

The RuralConnect is primarily used with Carlson’s own line of omnidirectional, yagi, and sector antennas.

WHAT NETWORK MANAGEMENT FEATURES ARE INCLUDED IN THE RURALCONNECT?

The RuralConnect ships with a web-based management system, which includes an extensive feature set for high-level diagnostics and network management.

 

CAN THE RURALCONNECT BE USED WITH THIRD-PARTY MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE?

An API for third-party software development will be made available by mid-2015.

 

IS CHANNEL AGGREGATION OR CHANNEL BONDING A POSSIBILITY WITH THE RURALCONNECT?

Channel bonding is not currently possible with the RuralConnect, although this feature is planned for development in the near future.

 

HOW ARE UPDATES AND UPGRADES HANDLED?

Updates and upgrades for the RuralConnect software are released periodically and delivered over-the-air through the network-level management system when they become available.

 

WHAT SPARES AND TEST EQUIPMENT ARE RECOMMENDED?

Carlson recommends a 1:10 spare ratio, or one spare unit for every ten units in use.

 

CAN YOU PROVIDE TV WHITE SPACE INTERNET SERVICE AT MY HOME?

No, we are a hardware manufacturer. Check WISPA.org for a list of Internet service providers in your area.

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