First Tweet over White Space network demonstrates real solution for rural broadband


Cambridge Consultants, a leading design and development firm, today announced the successful trial of its White Space network. Using the social media tools Twitter, YouTube and Skype video, Cambridge Consultants has demonstrated the potential of White Space as a genuine solution to the problems of rural broadband provision, and increasingly spectrum hungry devices.

White Space frequency, the unused spectrum between TV channels, is viewed as a cost effective solution for rural broadband. Built to deliver wireless broadband over local White Space TV frequencies to the village of Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, the completion of a working White Space network marks another step forward in the adoption of this technology. The network was tested using a range of social media tools, marking the first time White Space spectrum has been used in this way. The village of Cottenham was chosen due to its lack of wireless provision, and availability of spectrum. Transmitting from an antenna positioned at the top of Cambridge Consultants’ headquarters, the signal was able to reach the village approximately 6 kilometres away.

A challenge when using this new White Space spectrum is avoiding interference with residents’ TV signals and professional radio microphones. To address this, Cambridge Consultants worked closely with the licensing authority, and also developed a database engine which accurately pinpoints unused frequencies that are available to use in each locality. This capability is further strengthened by Cambridge Consultants novel, low-cost ‘spectral sensing’ cognitive radio technology platform that can enable White Space radios to search the spectrum for channels that have interference, potentially from other non-TV and non-microphone users.  Called InCognito, this White Space sensing capability is based on novel cognitive radio hardware and software algorithms allowing it to quickly and accurately find the best spectrum to use.

Richard Traherne, head of wireless at Cambridge Consultants, commented: “We believe that White Space, as a pioneering cognitive radio wireless technology, has the potential to change the way that people communicate, especially in rural areas. It has a wide range of applications, from healthcare to home working, and we expect to see these and other exciting applications emerge in the near future.”

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