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TV White Space technologies

Junior

TV White Space technologies

Let me state right out of the gate that I am multi-decade customer of hughesnet.  I am very satisfied with Gen5 relative to the history of satellite based ISP (Internet Service Provider) services.  That being said, as is repeatedly pointed out in these forums satellite ISPs have limits. 

 

To date, economic considerations have limited the options for those of us who live in sparsely populated, rural & remote areas when it comes to ISPs.  Simply put, there has been little or no potential Return On Investment (ROI) for companies to put in place infrastructure in sparsely populated areas. 

 

I've recently been hearing of certain initiatives to help provide higher quality ISP options for certain sparsely populated areas.  A notable general effort can be found in the Microsoft Airband Initiative.  One key technology to enable that is TV White Space (TVWS) (the link provided here is just one example of a player in this technology space).  This article ("Town's experiment could help bring internet to millions") provides one pedestrian perspective on the topic. 

 

I've become particularly interested in the technology and business aspects of this because a local ISP is offering service based on this technology.  From an ISP customer perspective I have the following assessment:

Pros:

+ No data limits including no data monitoring and attendant throttling.

+ Download speeds at least as fast as hughesnet Gen5 (maybe even better)

+ Upload speeds on par with download speeds, so definitely better upload speeds

+ Immensely less latency (terrestrial turn-around, cf., satellite distances)

+ Comparable monthly cost. 

+ No contract lock-in period.

+ Relatively low cost initial equipment costs.

Cons:

- Will the company be around for the long haul?

- Unknown reliability of service.

- Unknown consistency of speeds as a function of load.

- No equipment rental option (just purchase, though cost is not that great).

 

I'm posting this mostly to get feedback from folks on what they might know of the technology and the businesses that might result.  What trade-offs might I be missing?

 

I don't think this is a significant threat to providers like hughesnet.  The technology still requires local base stations with limited range to connect to high-bandwidth Internet connections.  There will still be economic considerations relative the number potential customers that can be reached that will limit the availability of these services. 

 

I look forward to your thoughts and insights

2 REPLIES
Senior Instructor

Re: TV White Space technologies

TVWS would operate in frequencies not operating between old analog channels 14 thru 52. If reception of digital tv on those frequencies in high-foliage, hilly terrain (such as here in central Virginia) is any indication, it won't work especially for those that live on the downslope of hills. UHF is NLOS, as they say, but only to a point and it degrades real fast because the phasing is critical. There are other terrestrial radio services similar to that, but I don't hold much hope for it for the same reasons.

 

If you really want to look up a real scary technology, look up using power lines for broadband transmission. Some power companies are already using it as part of a power monitoring scheme, but I can't really see it for widespread use. I mean, how are you going to filter out all the 60Hz harmonics to get high-speed data reliably modulated on power lines...

 

Sometimes I really hate being an engineer. It ruins things.


* Disclaimer: I am a HughesNet customer and not a HughesNet employee. All of my comments are my own and do not necessarily represent HughesNet in any way.
Highlighted
Distinguished Professor II

Re: TV White Space technologies


@MarkJFine wrote: 

If you really want to look up a real scary technology, look up using power lines for broadband transmission. Some power companies are already using it as part of a power monitoring scheme, but I can't really see it for widespread use. I mean, how are you going to filter out all the 60Hz harmonics to get high-speed data reliably modulated on power lines...


You may not be aware of this, but Manassas had the first sizeable implementation of BPL in the country.  It was a test, more or less.   It was slow and expensive for the speed, but it worked.  They eventually shut it down due to cost and lack of customers.  Still, though it worked, it was never particularly viable.  

 

It was started in the early 2000s, though I can't remember exactly when.  I don't think it lasted more than seven or eight years before they shut it down.   


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