Technology.am (Aug. 18, 2009) — Wireless Internet has become a strict necessity in the world. Current Wi-Fi technology is hitting its limits and is only suited for short-to-medium ranges with relatively small amounts of bandwidth.
Researchers are trying to open up of “white spaces,” unused parts of the spectrum between assigned frequencies, especially in the lower frequencies used until now by analog TV broadcasts.
Regular Wi-Fi operates at 2.4 GHz and has a small number of channels with only three that don’t overlap (four in Europe).
The high frequency allows for more channels in a smaller the spectrum (84.5 MHz) but it is of limited range. These are enough for crowded city locations but don’t provide a real alternative for long-range connections.
Operating in the lower frequencies left open by the transition from analog to digital TV broadcasting, which is being carried out in most parts of the world, provides a much bigger range and more bandwidth.
With the frequencies now left the white spaces, which were open to any device and company, something in which Google was instrumental and these frequencies didn’t interfere with existing devices or broadcasts operating in the same frequency range.
The new research project, backed by the Networking Research Group at Microsoft Research, uses the UHF spectrum (512 MHz to 698 MHz), which was originally sliced into 30 TV channels (21 to 51).
The project, dubbed “White Fi,” is one of the most advanced in the field, both dealing with the hardware side but also creating the networking protocols to handle the specific challenges.