InterDigital supercharges Wi-Fi with TV white spaces

Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 14-02-2012

InterDigital is diving into dynamic spectrum management for the reclamation of TV white space for use by LTE and other mobile broadband technologies, with a new collaboration with Ittiam Systems.
The plan is to develop a system to supercharge Wi-Fi speeds through use of the vacant airwaves.
The US, and to some extent the UK and Canada, are leading the way in reclaiming the spectrum freed up by the move to digital TV broadcast for use by bandwidth-strapped advanced wireless services. The channels can be used by 3G/4G services, or for use by a new category of devices that boosters say would rival Wi-Fi as a consumer electronics opportunity.
"Unleashing white spaces spectrum has the potential to exceed even the many billions of dollars in economic benefit from Wi-Fi, the last significant release of unlicensed spectrum, and drive private investment and job creation," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
In this case, using something called Integrated Dynamic Spectrum Management technology, the joint Itiam-InterDigital solution harvests white space and other available unlicensed frequency channels to increase the data throughput of Wi-Fi devices, addressing the congestion of heavily-used unlicensed bands and the ever-growing demand for wireless bandwidth. The system will be featured at the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona.
"Intelligent harvesting of under-utilised spectrum is a key approach towards solving the bandwidth crunch in wireless networks," said James Nolan, executive vice president of research and development at InterDigital. "InterDigital has led the way in this space, developing a complete system solution that enables legacy Wi-Fi systems to leverage underused frequency bands."
The technology can be integrated into wireless terminal devices or infrastructure platforms (e.g., access points, pico/femto/ metro base stations, home gateways, set top boxes. etc.) to provide additional wireless broadband capacity when traditional networks are saturated.
In January, InterDigital also announced an alliance with Spectrum Bridge, which has been authorised by the FCC to operate a database of vacant white space frequencies. The database is meant to help avoid interference with adjacent broadcasters and wireless microphones-- potential dangers highlighted by heavy anti-white space lobbying by the National Association of Broadcasters and arena/music venue stakeholders that rely on wireless mikes, up to and including the likes of Dolly Parton.
The FCC in December approved the first device to use the white spaces, in the city of Wilmington, N.C. Koos Technical Services is using the white spaces for its last-mile connection for surveillance cameras and telemetry systems. "We are taking an important step towards enabling a new wave of wireless innovation," said Genachowski.