Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Google proposes Wi-Fi 2.0

In another move to boost Android's prospects, Google's telecommunications counsel,Richard Whitt proposed a plan to use unused airwaves, known as white spaces, to provide high-speed mobile access to consumers by the 2009 holiday season.

Google, alongwith Microsoft and six other big tech companies formed the 'White Space Coalition' in 2006 to advocate the use of unused analog TV signals for high-speed wireless broadband. On Monday,
in a renewed effort to convince the FCC, Whitt said, “Google is a strong believer in the potential of this spectrum to bring Internet access to more Americans” and that "the spectrum is way too valuable to be wasted.” On Friday, Google had filed a six-page letter that clears out the concerns over interference of the new mobile devices with TV and microphones.

Google's new filing describes a multipronged approach to avoid interference. Building upon suggestions made in a filing by Motorola last fall, it said any new unlicensed TV white-spaces devices would be blocked from transmitting signals unless they had received a sort of "permission to transmit" message. Wireless microphones could also be outfitted with "inexpensive" beacons that would send out a signal to white-spaces devices that says " don't come here," by Whitt's description.Google also proposes to set up a safety cushion between channels 37 and 39, where unlicensed white-space devices would not be allowed to operate, but wireless microphones and other licensed devices would. To protect airwaves used by the military and public safety agencies, Google proposed the use of spectrum-sensing technology, which would free up the airwaves when they are needed by the government and
also offered to provide no-cost technical support to third parties hoping to use the white spaces, if they were opened up.

Even if the regulators ultimately approve use of the white spaces, the spectrum won't be ready for use until at least February 2009 and FCC also isn't expected to issue any rules for use of the spectrum for another several months, Whitt said. "no product will come to market unless the FCC can verify that the device does not interfere with TV or wireless microphone signals".

"We're doing this because we want everybody to be satisfied with this process" Whitt said. "We think it's the right time to put these ideas in the record and see where they go." He also added,that Google isn't interested in becoming a wireless service provider or building a network of its own, it does envision the white spaces as a "unique opportunity to provide ubiquitous wireless access for all Americans" (or maybe to increase its revenue by creating more Internet services for mobile phones and devices). Portable technology is outselling personal computers, giving the company new spots to place online advertising. Only about 5 percent of the nation’s TV white spaces are being used, he said.

"That portion of the TV band is highly prized because it can propagate long distances and through obstacles. It also possesses the bandwidth to support vastly faster data rates than today's standard Internet services."

In between his speech, Whitt hinted that the Android phones would land at sometime around fall.

Its obvious that with its GPS and Maps, Android phones will be needing unlimited high-speed internet access. This proposal is one step further in that direction.

Via [NY Times] [CNET News]

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