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Network World - The radio frequency band used to broadcast TV in the United States has evolved over time, primarily due to the Federal Communication Commission's desire to make more bandwidth available for wireless two-way communications. When the TV industry transitioned from analog to digital signals it freed up radio frequency spectrum, some of which the FCC auctioned off to wireless carriers. The rest, having been designated for unlicensed use, is known as TV white spaces.
TV white spaces have several important properties:
* Excellent propagation
* Ability to penetrate buildings and foliage
* Non-line of sight connectivity
* Broadband payload capacity
These are among the primary capabilities that make TV white spaces highly sought after for wireless communications and commonly referred to as "beachfront frequencies."
Consequently, the application potential for TV white spaces is essentially limitless. Just as other unlicensed wireless frequencies are used for a wide variety of services and technologies, TV white spaces can also be applied to an extensive range of uses and applications, including:
* Wide-area wireless Internet: There are unserved and underserved areas of the country, particularly in rural communities, that have limited or no broadband communications options. TV white spaces can provide a cost-effective and rapidly deployable solution to bring wireless broadband to these communities.
Wireless carriers are also experiencing an exponential increase in traffic volume, especially in urban areas due to the proliferation of smartphones. Wi-Fi technology has helped to alleviate some of this congestion, however, as demand for bandwidth continues to grow, white space technologies can provide an alternative for offloading traffic from traditional networks.
* Video: The broadband capacity and robust signal characteristics of TV white spaces make them ideal for video applications. TV white spaces can provide one-way and two-way video communications for security, monitoring, entertainment and other video applications in places where other frequencies, cable or fiber are not as cost-effective.
* Home and enterprise wireless networking: TV white spaces provide significantly better coverage and wall penetration inside buildings and other structures than the 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi frequencies currently in use. In addition to wireless computer network applications, TV white spaces are being discussed as a solution for whole house media distribution and networking between home entertainment, as well as computer–based media storage and distribution.
* Smart city networks: Smart cities give a city government and citizens the digital tools to measure, monitor and alter the way they use valuable resources and services. The wireless applications extend over most services including healthcare, industry, education, buildings, infrastructure, environment, public safety, retail business, water, electricity (notably, expanding the country's smart grid), traffic and more. TV white spaces can be a valuable resource for the wireless ecosystem supporting these applications.