IEEE 802.22–now the standard for “white space” wide-area wireless network infrastructure


Rural white space wireless standard signed off • The Register

My Comments

Most countries are now moving to digital TV services and, as they switch off the analogue TV signals that broadcast on the UHF spectrum, they open up significant tranches of this radio spectrum. The same holds true for VHF TV spectrum, especially if the white space there isn’t being used for DAB-based digital radio or similar activities. Questions are being raised about what this vacant spectrum should be used for – newer broadcasters, emergency-service radiocommunications or rural Internet service. It will be more so if a digital-TV-broadcasting technology’s “single frequency network” abilities are proven and exploited by the broadcasters as a tool for covering areas of poor TV reception without using extra radio spectrum.

I have previously covered the UK and US efforts to use “white space” as a tool for delivering real broadband to rural communities. Here, I have viewed the proper use of the spectrum as to assure reliable reception of radio and TV services and provision of improved broadcast services for rural areas as well as providing real broadband to these areas.

Now the IEEE have called a standard for data networks that use this UHF-band “white space” as the transmission medium.  This standard has been called as the IEEE 802.22 standard and is intended to be called this to avoid the press’s practice of referring it to Wi-Fi for “white space” where Wi-Fi really is about local networks working on the 802.11 series of standards.

Here, this standard is about long round-trip data that is part of service-provider-to-consumer data links. Of course, like most other wireless network technologies like 802.11n and wired network technologies like DOCSIS cable Internet, HomePlug powerline, MoCA coaxial and the legacy “coaxial Ethernet” and unswitched Cat5 Ethernet technologies, thus one uses shared bandwidth from the transmission towers. Here, the shared bandwidth would theoretically be 22Mbps on a regular 8MHz UHF TV channel.

There have been the concerns about negotiation of used spectrum, with the hardware able to detect where spectrum is occupied or use GPS geolocation technology and “lookup tables” to identify blank spectrum.

Now there is a newer standard being worked on as a “point-standard” or addendum for this application. This standard, known as 802.22.1 is to alleviate any interference that the technology may cause to wireless microphones and similar devices that work on the UHF spectrum.

Of course, the technology shouldn’t be thought of as a networking or Internet-delivery technology for use in larger cities. It should also be noted that as a town grows and becomes more dense, the town should look at implementing the wired-broadband technologies like DSL or fibre.

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