TV white space may have broadband super powers

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Tammy Parker, FierceWirelessTechOne of my biggest pet peeves is use of the term "Super Wi-Fi" to describe TV white space (TVWS) because TVWS does not entail use of standardized Wi-Fi technology or even the same spectrum as Wi-Fi. So, I just had to ask Paul Garnett, director of Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) technology policy group, why the company favors that moniker.

Garnett contends that the Super Wi-Fi title makes TVWS technology more understandable to the average person. "There are not that many people around the world who know what TV white space is, let alone things like cognitive radios and software-defined radios and geolocation and database access. But billions of people know what Wi-Fi is. So it's a good metaphor to describe exactly what the technology, regulation and spectrum can enable," he told me.

Garnett also reminded me of IEEE's emerging 802.11af standard, noting that will essentially be the Wi-Fi standard for TVWS spectrum.

I agree with Garnett's reasoning, though I still think the term Super Wi-Fi is, well, superfluous. That is not to say that I feel the same about TVWS, which seems to hold great potential for bridging the digital divide. Just last week, in a blog entry Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) heralded the success of a six-month trial it was involved in to deliver broadband Internet access to 10 schools in Cape Town, South Africa via TVWS.

Like Google, Microsoft has been testing TVWS in South Africa and lots of other places. For a deep dive into Microsoft's initiatives in TVWS and the spectrum sharing arena, check out this FierceWirelessTech special feature.--Tammy