Wilmington white spaces network goes live

The white spaces wireless broadband era is officially underway in Wilmington, N.C., where a white spaces network enabled by Spectrum Bridge was turned on late last week. With the launch, the debate over the use of broadcast spectrum white spaces is expected to heat up once again, though the new network also will be a high-profile test case for how effectively a white spaces network can deliver broadband service to rural areas.

Notice we didn't call the Wilmington rollout a "Super Wi-Fi" network. That is mostly what it is being called around the Web, though Wi-Fi is not, strictly speaking, the technology at the core of white spaces networks. White spaces networks use IEEE 802.22 technology in most cases, and not 802.11-based Wi-Fi.

In any case, spectrum database solutions from the likes of Spectrum Bridge are supposed to help white spaces network avoid potential interference with nearby spectrum being used by broadcast networks. Proponents of white spaces network say that overcoming the interference challenge in this way makes white spaces networks the best way-and in some cases-the only way to serve some rural markets. Opponents of white spaces have countered that the interference challenge is too great for white spaces networks to be successful without harming existing broadcast networks.

The North Carolina network's launch has appeared for weeks to be imminent, and as the launch got closer, white spaces backers have been renewing their calls for more white spaces spectrum to be released by the Federal Communications Commission.

For more:
- see this Network World story

Related articles:
White spaces networks have faced market uncertainties
Microsoft proposed a narrow channel white spaces solution

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