New standards for long range wireless networks have been published today by the IEEE.
The 802.22 standard for Wireless Regional Area Networks (WRANs) means that broadband access can be provided over long distances, up to 100 kilometres.
This will mean that rural areas could more easily benefit from broadband access, with developing countries targeted by the IEEE.
Of course, as Ofcom has been reminded of lately, even in little old England there are many areas which cannot be reached.
The engineers at the IEEE have very cleverly managed to use the VHF and UHF bandwidths usually used for TV, accessing the “white-spaces between TV channels” at the 54 MHz to 862 MHz spectru,.
This is possible by using cognitive radio capabilities. These include dynamic spectrum access, incumbent database access, accurate geolocation techniques, spectrum sensing, regulatory domain dependent policies, spectrum etiquette, and “coexistence for optimal use of the available spectrum”.
Essentially this means that it will be possible to send wireless broadband access without interfering with TV signals, achieving delivery of up to 22 Mbps per channel.
According to Andrew Ferguson at Thinkbroadband.com such wireless networks could potentially be for connecting areas that are without access.
“Wireless would certainly be easier than fibre connections to areas where ground would actually be dug up to provide a connection,” he told TechEye.
“But whether the speeds would be high enough is unclear, with many looking above the 25 Mbps mark.”
Virgin Media told us that while it was looking to support access in rural communities, it places more emphasis on the higher speeds of cable broadband, with the IEE spec not necessarilty high enough for a full range of services.
According to Alex Buttle, marketing director at uSwtich telecoms, the publishing of the standards is a positive step for net equality.
“It is a hugely positive new technology, and it is good for equality of connectivity across the world,” he told us.
“The standard across the world has been quite poor so far so this would certainly be raising the bar of what is available, so is definitely a positive step.”
“Wireless networks are good way to bridge the gap where it is difficult to cable broadband.”
“So in terms of bringing rural communities up to speed it would definitely be worth Ofcom’s investment to help roll out the technology.”