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White Space Broadband

Definition - What does White Space Broadband mean?

White space broadband is a telecommunication technology that makes use of unused broadcasting frequencies called white spaces. Standardization bodies assign different frequency bands for particular uses. For technical reasons, they also assign a frequency gap, called a guard band, between each band to avoid interference and crosstalk. It is these frequency bands that are used as the medium for this type of wireless broadband.

Techopedia explains White Space Broadband

White space broadband makes use of the TV band, which is centered on 600 MHz. It has excellent propagation characteristics; the signals travel long distances and can easily pass through walls. This means limited signal degradation as well as constant speed and connection. That said, there is some concern about white space devices interfering with TV broadcast and wireless microphones.

There are two methods used for free-spectrum sensing in the TV band:

  1. Spectral Sensing: A cognitive radio technique that monitors transmissions on particular channels and reports if they are busy. A spectral sensing device monitors while using the spectrum itself. This results in an autonomous, self-contained device that is simpler and less costly to build and may be used anywhere. The device must be able to sense signals that are hundreds of times weaker than a TV station, so this makes it more costly in the short term, in terms of hardware.

  2. Database Look-up: A device determines its location through GPS or other means and consults a dynamically updated database with information on which channels are free in the region. The device then knows which channel to use. Although this is more expensive and complex to implement, the FCC has established this method for all white space devices, as there is considerable disagreement about whether spectral sensing devices can be made to work reliably. But this method has inherent limitations that reduce the scope of the service, at least in the short term.
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