Globalstar: Tests at FCC facility show successful TLPS implementation

In a highly anticipated demonstration of its technology made to the FCC, Globalstar says it showed that Terrestrial Low Power Service (TLPS) operations on Channel 14 had no negative impact on Wi-Fi operations within the public Wi-Fi channels in the ISM band.

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A spectrum analyzer used in the demo shows four channels operating. (Image source: Globalstar)

The demonstration is important given that Globalstar has come under fire on more than one front, with accusations about previous tests not being "real" tests. Kerrisdale Capital, a short seller that would benefit from a drop in the company's stock price, launched an all-out war on the company last year, saying its spectrum and its whole business was worthless.

Globalstar's most recent tests took place at the FCC Technology Experience Center in Washington, D.C., on March 6, 9 and 10 under the observation of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET). Globalstar's partners, including Roberson and Associates, AT4 Wireless and Jarvinian, participated in the demonstrations. Representatives from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (BT SIG), Bluetooth technology provider CSR, Starkey Hearing Technologies and CableLabs were there as well.

Barbee Ponder, general counsel and vice president of regulatory affairs at Globalstar, told FierceWirelessTech that he believes the demonstrations were able to answer whatever remaining technical questions the FCC had, but the company will remain available to answer other questions if they arise. "They saw and heard it with their own eyes," he said.

Globalstar said the demonstrations confirm that TLPS is a good neighbor to Wi-Fi operations on IEEE 802.11 Channel 11 and Bluetooth device operations within the unlicensed ISM band at 2400-2483.5 MHz. In particular, 802.11n TLPS transmissions had no negative effect on the data throughput on Wi-Fi Channel 11 or any other 802.11 Wi-Fi channel. "In fact, activating TLPS on non-overlapping Channel 14, even in a quiet RF environment, yielded an approximately 40 percent increase in aggregate data throughput across the 2.4 GHz 802.11-capable spectrum," the company said in a statement. "As this result demonstrates, American consumers will benefit significantly from the provision of TLPS across 22 megahertz of additional broadband spectrum in the 2.4 GHz band."

In one extreme scenario of three fully loaded Channel 14 access points and one Channel 11 access point, there was no negative impact to Channel 11 operations, Globalstar said. In addition, TLPS had no impact on the functionality of Bluetooth-enabled devices including heart monitors, computer mouses and wireless speakers with fully loaded access points operating on Channels 1, 6, 11 and 14, the company said. 

Four specific Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices and corresponding user experiences were provided in the demonstrations, including one in which a wrist-worn heart monitor was connected via a BLE link to a smartphone running a heart rate monitor application. The smartphone was located on a shelf along one edge of the room where it could be seen by all parties. The user experience that was demonstrated was the constant reading of a heart rate as displayed on the smartphone as the user wearing the monitor moved throughout the room.

Globalstar is awaiting a decision by the FCC regarding a request it made to have the FCC alter its existing rules and allow the company to offer mobile broadband service over the spectrum it has in the upper 2.4 GHz band. 

For more:
- see this Globalstar statement
- see the ex parte filing
- see these photos

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