Microsoft: FCC's tests validate white space

Despite the fact that its prototypes malfunctioned during lab tests at the FCC, Microsoft says the FCC has gathered enough valid data to show that devices can operate in the white space spectrum without causing interference.

"The commission has gotten more than enough valuable and valid data to show that you can use these devices to do spectrum sensing, that you can identify TV channels, and that you can identity them to the level that you're not causing interference," Microsoft's Ian Ferrell said during a technology conference in San Francisco called Supernova. Last week, the FCC completed lab tests of white-space devices submitted by several different companies.

Microsoft's own white-space prototypes malfunctioned--one due to a faulty channel scanner the other due to overheating. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which is vehemently opposed to the use of white space because it fears interference problems with TV signals, has used that as ammunition to say that these devices cause interference. Ferrell insists FCC tests have shown interference isn't a problem.

For its part, the FCC says it will undergo another round of testing in the field within the next few weeks. Microsoft has withdrawn its faulty prototypes, but FCC engineers are still studying devices from Philips, Motorola, and Adaptrum, a Silicon Valley white-space startup.

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