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Understand WLAN Offload

Showing posts with label 802.22. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 802.22. Show all posts

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Whitespace Spectrum Management Issues

BT has been conducting a "White Space" trial in Isle of Bute, UK. Initial report suggests that the results are not very impressive. The following is from ISP Review:


Early feedback from BT’s trial of ‘White Space‘ (IEEE 802.22) wireless broadband technology on the Isle of Bute suggests that the service, which delivers internet access by making use of the unused radio spectrum that exists between Digital TV channels, still has a lot of problems to overcome, not least in terms of its sporadic performance.

In theory the 802.22 specification suggests that download speeds of up to 22Mbps per channel (Megabits per second) could be possible and some UK trials claim to have reached around 16Mbps, which is incidentally a long way off the UK’s chosen definition for superfast broadband (24Mbps+).
But separate reports from both PC Pro and the BBC today found that the service, which is complicated to deliver due to the ever changing spectrum and the risk of causing interference to DTV services, could struggle to deliver its top speeds.

At present BT’s implementation claims to be offering speeds of up to 10Mbps per channel, which will soon be upgraded to 15Mbps, but this reduces down to a maximum of just 4Mbps when 6km away from the transmitter. New tests at various points on the Isle of Bute showed speeds varying between just 1.5Mbps and 6Mbps (the latter was recorded within sight of BT’s mast).
In fairness White Space solutions are designed to target the last 10% of the UK where the government has so far only committed to a minimum download speed of just 2Mbps for all (Universal Service Commitment), which is a very low target. In addition White Space tech appears to deliver strong upload speed that is, in some cases, symmetrical. That makes it good for video conferencing and other upload dependent tasks.



As Fierce Broadband Wireless suggests, the low speeds could also be due to pre-standard gear that will just improve as time goes on.

The main reason for using this shared whitespace spectrum is due to the fact that the total amount of spectrum is limited and we want to make use of every available free spectrum to increase capacity of the overloaded networks.

Michael Fitch from BT recently spoke in our Cambridge Wireless Small Cells SIG event. The slide from his presentations neatly lays out the vision for shared spectrum.


In theory, even though this looks simple, in practice managing the database is a challenge by itself. The embedded slides below (Page 17 onwards) show the problems and the complexity associated with the database.
Time will tell how efficient and practical using whitespaces is.