First 'Super Wi-Fi' network goes live in the US

The next generation of high speed wireless Internet access got its first public test this week. StarNewsOnline.com reports that the nation's first ever white spaces network has now gone live on Thursday in parts of New Hanover County, NC. Visitors to the county's Hugh MacRae Park will be able to access the Internet for free in the first major public test of the white space concept.

As we have reported before, white spaces, also known as "super Wi-Fi" or WiFi-NC ("NC" stands for narrow channel), will allow for data transmissions to be sent via unused parts of the broadcast TV signal spectrum in the US. The theory behind this system is that high-speed wireless access can be used across tens of miles instead of WiFi's current limit of a few hundred feet . Also, the white space wireless signal would be able to penetrate through buildings and other obstacles better than conventional WiFi.

Microsoft is already promoting the uses of white space-based networks for future Internet access, claiming that the use of such technology has the potential to have a "multi-billion economic impact." It certainly could bring better and faster Internet services to rural locations that don't have access to DSL or cable Internet services.

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Comcast was about four months, 8 hour days, fairly intense and when you left, you were more than competent. You then worked with experienced people for months after that. You're paid by the hour so you could take the time to do things right. Contractors on the other hand could come out of a "tech" school with almost no understanding of cable networks and get jobs. They're paid by the job so they try to get in and out as fast as possible. More trouble than their worth as you'd have to go behind them and clean up their mess constantly.

I do not what cable provider provides only two weeks of on the the job training! I know for a fact that Time Warner and Cox train techs wih mentors for at least 6 months before sending them out. I'm sure a big company like Comcast does the same. Maybe a mom and pop cable company will have lousy training.

That and cable TV installers are usually just High School graduates with "maybe" 2 weeks of "on the job training" and then set out to do the job.

Cable wiring in apartments, especially older ones, are sometimes a real mess and it's common for them to run series lines, which just means they run a single line from the ceiling down through everyone's closet and split off of those to feed the rest of your home. It's a problem for a number a reasons including lousy signal quality because of all the splits and ingress. So if your neighbor upstairs cuts the line by mistake, everyone below him is out of luck or if the guy in the middle chooses to steal cable and uses a clumsy fitting, everyone's signal is corrupted.

On top of that, you get contractors who don't have the proper equipment to trace out a line and end up causing twice as much work for the the "real" cable people to repair. Of course the "real" cable people have varying degrees of competency as well.

... It certainly could bring better and faster Internet services to rural locations that don't have access to DSL or cable Internet services.

You're right. I think it could also bring some freedom to those in the cities as well, where communities are often locked into whatever company paid for the privilege of providing cable, & DSL is either unavailable or unreliable. Where I live Brighthouse has & relishes overlord status, staffed by idiots that would have to improve a hundredfold to be called incompetent...

[I'm disabled, live in an apartment, & it took 3 employees, 24 hours, & 3 holes drilled in the ceiling to get access back after they cut the wrong cable & weren't smart enough to splice it back together. The idiots simply couldn't grasp the idea that each apartment has it's own line coming from the outside junction, & that simply because they found one cable upstairs that might not be the one they were looking for -- so they spent hours upon hours trying to figure out why it wouldn't work. And most of that time was spent *after* they were told they had cut my previously working access cable (it was no longer grounded). 24 hours to splice a co-ax cable back together would have been bad enough, but they literally ripped the cable outlet cover off the wall (of course breaking it), didn't like the way I had things hooked up so they disconnected a bunch of stuff, & when I started documenting this sad affair (after drill bits started appearing through the ceiling), I was threatened physically!]

These are closed wi-fi systems. A university campus could provide wi-fi to all its students from one central location. A manufacturing complex could wi-fi the entire facility from one tower. Reduces the need for routers in every building.

So the whitespace is being used to link the access points to the network? So its not as Good as they are saying. Cablevision has optimumwifi available in its most of its foot print.

Dot Matrix said,
Hear that? That's the sound of mobile carriers everywhere screaming in agony...
They'll lobby against it with their deep pockets and do their best to stifle the technology much the same way major oil companies have fought hard against cleaner renewable sources of energy. The only question is to how successful they'll be...

Tim Dawg said,
They'll lobby against it with their deep pockets and do their best to stifle the technology much the same way major oil companies have fought hard against cleaner renewable sources of energy. The only question is to how successful they'll be...

MS, Cisco and a few other major tech players in the whitespace broadband group have pretty deep pockets too, so far they have gotten around all the attemps to stop the tech

Dot Matrix said,
Hear that? That's the sound of mobile carriers everywhere screaming in agony...

They need to utilize this spectrum and ensure good service in all areas now! Soon there wont be any excuse for 'dead zones' or 'bad signal strength' !!!

este said,

They need to utilize this spectrum and ensure good service in all areas now! Soon there wont be any excuse for 'dead zones' or 'bad signal strength' !!!

Except that it doesn't work like that. Carriers are licensed certain amounts of spectrum in certain areas. Just because they have the license to use 847.5-850 in one area doesn't mean they can use that same chunk in another area. This is regulated by the FCC. Not to mention that phone chipsets would need to be developed to use this, and carriers would have to add new antennas calibrated just for these little bitty white spaces. Also, don't forget that coverage and signal strength varies based on a number of factors, including objects between the tower and your phone. Wireless technologies are line-of-sight based. The more things you put between your phone and the tower, the weaker the signal gets. And this is why network technicians exist. To try to calibrate the antennas to provide the maximum amount of coverage possible.

P.S.: Every carrier in the country is utilizing every single bit of spectrum they have access to... except Sprint (who own double the amount of spectrum of the other carriers and don't have the money to build out the infrastructure to properly utilize all of the spectrum they have access to).