Key white space test called a failure

Mon, 08/11/2008 - 8:25am
Brian Santo

Even as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to test white space technology, companies involved are jockeying to spin the report that the FCC has yet to draft.

Shure Inc. said that a test last weekend to evaluate interference with wireless microphones was a failure, Motorola has been public about its satisfaction with its equipment thus far, and Verizon continues its campaign in opposition to the scheme.

White space wireless systems aim to use unlicensed spectrum between broadcast television channels. The FCC is wrapping up a month’s worth of testing to assure that these systems will not interfere with existing wireless systems.

On Saturday, the FCC conducted a test to see if white space technology could detect the presence of wireless microphone signals and actively avoid interference. The test was conducted during a pre-season NFL game between the Bills and Redskins (the Skins won, 17-14).

A spokesperson for Shure said: “The prototype devices were unable to consistently identify operating wireless microphones or distinguish occupied from unoccupied TV channels. More troubling, the devices failed to detect the presence of wireless microphones when switched on – an occurrence that takes place multiple times during any NFL game.

“Given the poor performance of these sensing devices,” the Shure spokesperson continued, “there is no reason to believe that the other proposed protections, such as beacons, will be any more capable of providing reliable and robust interference protection to wireless microphone transmissions. These tests reveal fundamental deficiencies of sensing devices – issues that cannot be pushed off with a promise to resolve these problems at some later time during certification testing.”

Motorola has provided several interviews in other media venues expressing satisfaction with its system, which uses geographical information associated with a white space user device, evaluates what wireless systems are in use in the area, and configures the transmitter to emit a signal that avoids interference.

The concern about the use of white space has long centered on interference with broadcast signals and wireless microphones, but Verizon is now tossing in concerns about interference with cellular phones. And if that objection doesn’t work, the company is opposing the scheme on the general principle that competitors should have to use licensed spectrum.

More Broadband Direct:

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• Key white space test called a failure 

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• Broadband Briefs for 8/11/08 


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