FCC approves WiFi on steroids, aka super WiFi

By on September 24, 2010, 4:00 PM
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted unanimously (five to nil) in favor of using unlicensed whitespace airwaves for what it calls "WiFi on steroids" or "super WiFi." The opening of these unused television airwaves for mobile broadband should result in new, faster wireless devices. The move is the FCC's first significant release of unlicensed spectrum in 25 years. The reason for the super/steroids name is simple: the frequencies allow signals to travel farther, require fewer access points, penetrate obstructions such as walls more easily, and cover larger geographical areas.

The new WiFi system is supposed to boost Internet speeds in homes, businesses, schools, and municipalities, helping to bring broadband to rural areas and improve connectivity for mobile devices. Commercialization is expected to take about two years as network operators, chip vendors, and device manufacturers develop industry standards. The empty airwaves, which consist of the spaces between existing broadcast channels, were freed up during the digital television transition in 2009. Microsoft, Google, and other tech companies have all been lobbying the FCC to give the green light ever since.

The National Association of Broadcasters is reviewing the ruling. Broadcasters fear the new devices may interfere with their channels, particularly those used to operate wireless microphones required for news reporting, but the FCC clarified conditions for use of the unlicensed spectrum to mitigate their concerns. For example, white space devices are required access a database every 24 hours to check for available spectrum that won't interfere with broadcaster channels. Furthermore, two channels would be reserved for wireless microphones in each market, allowing 12 to 16 microphones to operate without any interference, and any need for more capacity (like major sporting events) would be handled on a case-by-case basis.





User Comments: 10

Got something to say? Post a comment
Chazz said:

This is very interesting. I look forward to see what's done with this.

motrin said:

does this mean fast internet even out in the boonies? one can only hope...

Guest said:

I am surprised comcast and all the other companies like that didn't try and stop this or maybe they are planning on doing it in the furture.

Guest said:

"the frequencies allow signals to travel faster"

This statement is rubbish, pure rubbish.

Radio waves at any frequency travel at 186000 miles per second.. period.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Guest said:

I am surprised comcast and all the other companies like that didn't try and stop this or maybe they are planning on doing it in the furture.

Why stop it when you can charge extra for super wifi? You have to think like a business man, lol.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

It's Comcastic!!!...bastards...

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

"the frequencies allow signals to travel faster"

This statement is rubbish, pure rubbish.

Radio waves at any frequency travel at 186000 miles per second.. period.

That was my first thought as well. But I suspect they meant something analogous to like dial up, the first modems were really slow, but on the same phone lines many years later people were getting 56.6ish speeds. So even though the technology in the lines didn't really change the speeds you could achieve did. Perhaps there is some benefit in the frequencies they are going to release that allow faster data transfer speeds.

thatguyandrew92 said:

2 questions. (I know nothing about this stuff)

What if someone needs that space back?

Why can't there be more frequencies?

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

It seems that statement was factually wrong, or perhaps a typo on Emil's part, which I have now corrected.

"Super Wi-Fi" will be all about covering much larger distances, think kilometers, albeit at diminished speeds (10-20 mbps) compared to current Wi-Fi peaks.

Guest said:

Get ready for a flood of new advertising sales-pitches by every ISP / TV service and more !

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.