Belfast Telegraph

TV white space wireless broadband: plans for new kind of mobile internet that could pave way for 5G revolution

TV White Space (TVWS) technology exploits gaps in the radio spectrum and could pave the way for 5G mobile broadband and development of the 'Internet of Things'
TV White Space (TVWS) technology exploits gaps in the radio spectrum and could pave the way for 5G mobile broadband and development of the 'Internet of Things'

UK telecoms operators have been given the green light to use TV White Space (TVWS) technology that exploits gaps in the radio spectrum.

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom approved use of TVWS that uses an area of the wireless spectrum freed up by the move from analogue to digital TV broadcasting. It is reported that the new technology could be available as soon as the end of this year.

An Ofcom statement said: "Our objective is to complete the implementation of our decisions so the new technology can be deployed by the end of 2015."

It is hoped the move will encourage the development of 5G mobile broadband which has an estimated speed of 800Gbps.

TVWS technology is appealing for industry because it can travel longer distances and more easily through walls than the bands mainly used by other wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It also offers potential for fast rural broadband provision.

Tests have found a range of uses for the technology, such as delivering internet access for ships and boats in the Orkney Islands, which have no wireless broadband availability.

A trial at ZSL London Zoo used a TV white space network to stream live video of the zoo’s meerkats, Asian otters and giant Galapagos tortoises to YouTube. The signals are able to penetrate foliage and buildings to establish a fast data connection capable of streaming high quality video.

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The trial used Google’s spectrum database and will help ZSL London Zoo test the technology for use in additional efforts to monitor and protect endangered animals in the wild.

White Space is also being used for new "machine-to-machine" networks for flood defence in Oxfordshire.

Steve Unger, Ofcom Acting Chief Executive, said: "This decision helps ensure the UK takes a leading role in the development of innovative new wireless technology. It is also an important step in helping the UK's wireless infrastructure evolve effectively and efficiently."

Further reading

5G networks to offer 800Gbps and transform how we surf the web

Researchers create fastest-ever commercial internet connection clocking up speeds of 1.4 terabits per second

Samsung claims breakthrough in 5G mobile broadband: 100 times faster than the current 4G networks 

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