Ofcom publishes proposals for white space devices

Regulator Ofcom takes steps towards enabling devices to use the gaps between spectrum bands – so-called 'white spaces' – for connectivity

Ofcom has outlined its proposals for using the gaps between allocated frequencies to boost connectivity across the UK and opened a consultation to investigate the implications.

"White space" is the gap between frequencies of radio spectrum unused by licensed broadcasters.

The industry believes using these frequencies could enable boosted performance for Wi-Fi networks or encourage machine-to-machine (M2M) devices, such as a smart meters in the home transmitting data on how much energy has been consumed.

However, UK regulator Ofcom wants to ensure using white space doesn’t interfere with any other spectrum-based technology.

It has proposed a new database which white space devices will have to contact before connecting over white space. The database will then grant permission to the devices and define a limit on the power levels to ensure there is no interference with neighbouring spectrum.

“White space represents a fundamentally different approach to using spectrum by searching and recycling unused gaps in the airwaves,” said Ed Richards, CEO of Ofcom.

“This could prove critical in averting a global spectrum capacity crunch, as consumers demand more bandwidth over different devices.”

Ofcom is asking for feedback on the proposal and will run its consultation process until 10 January 2013. After this date, it will take its proposals to the European Union, but Ofcom believes if all goes to plan, white space technologies could launch within the year.

For more on the consultation, click here

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