The WhiteSpace Alliance (WSA)®, a global industry organization enabling sharing of underutilized spectrum, is seeing the emergence of diverse new use cases for TV white space communications.
TV white space has often been deployed in multiple locations around the world to provide broadband Internet connectivity to underserved populations, particularly in rural and remote areas. The technology uses idle TV band spectrum (“white space”) to deliver fixed wireless broadband services over long distances, providing critical middle- and last-mile connectivity where wired infrastructure is not cost-effective to deploy.
“Beyond its distance advantages, TV white space infrastructure is proving to be a versatile solution to a variety of communications challenges,” said Parag Naik, CEO of Saankhya Labs, a WhiteSpace Alliance member company. In one example, a New Zealand logging company is using Saankhya’s Base Station and Customer Premise Equipment to safely navigate logging machines through dangerously steep slopes. In another case, Saankhya combined its white space equipment with its Broadcast Radio Head product to enable a rural cable service provider to intelligently direct video traffic over the air while using TV whitespace to support two-way communications for interactive TV and educational services. Other Saankhya customers are adopting the company’s solutions to provide video surveillance for border enforcement and other electronic security applications. Saankhya products are also employed as backhaul links for the Internet of Things applications, such as aggregating ocean temperature data to cloud storage.
The flexibility of TV white space technology makes it ideal for a broad range of implementation environments. The powerful propagation characteristics of TV band broadcast signals support robust, non-line-of-sight communications where hilly terrain or vegetation makes traditional line-of-sight wireless solutions unreliable. As a lightly licensed, low power wireless technology, there is no need to purchase and develop expensive rights of way. In addition, TV white space solutions are relatively easy to deploy: white space antennas can be mounted on homes and can be solar-powered.
Saankhya’s solutions comply with important international standards for wireless regional area networks and have received regulatory certification in multiple countries. The products are based upon the IEEE 802.22 specification, which defines advanced radio technology for dynamically sharing available TV broadcast spectrum to provide broadband connectivity. The products are also compliant with Wi-FAR®, a derivative of IEEE 802.22 developed by WhiteSpace Alliance. Wi-FAR is an interoperability specification that can enable the development of a standards-based, multi-vendor ecosystem for IEEE 802.22-compliant products. Earlier this year, Saankhya products became the first to be certified Wi-FAR compliant by the US Federal Communications Commission.