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Tech Thursday – New WiFi Technology Can Cover 12,000 Square Miles

If you live out in the boondocks of Upstate New York and have to rely on a cell companies’ 3G service or a satellite for internet access, you may have another option available to you soon. The new wireless standard of 802.22 has been approved, and is capable of covering 12,000 square miles by using the white spaces left in the TV frequency spectrum.

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When TV broadcasters moved to digital signals a couple years ago, that left a lot of open space in the airwaves unused, because digital signals are generally smaller then their analog signal counterpart. Also, the signals in that spectrum are able to travel a long distance and through buildings. This makes it’s use for WiFi almost perfect.

This new standard adopted by the IEEE, will be used mostly for regional networks to help cover that “last mile” problem, where getting decent internet or phone service, because the phone and cable companies couldn’t justify the expense to extend their lines and networks for a small group of individuals, to a manageable problem. The trick will be getting those companies to actually spend the money to get the system in place.

The network uses a router device, like you have now in your home if you currently have broadband, and will offer up 22Mbps and the best part is, it won’t interfere with the TV broadcast stations that it’s sharing spectrum with.

The only downside I can see with this, is that the cable and phone companies that currently supply internet access may drag their heels because of the cost of starting something like this up and use the same argument of not having enough justification to roll this out for a small group of people. But with the Universal Service Fund that we all get charged on our phone bills from the FCC that is supposed to help offset this cost to providers could help to get things rolling though. Now, we just wait for the hardware to catch up.

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