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White space network shows technology is viable

White space communications pioneer Neul has deployed the first city wide fully functional white space network in Cambridge. The move is said by the company to enable a range of smart city applications.

As part of the demonstration, Neul and Bglobal Metering have enabled the first smart electricity meter reading over a white space network. According to the companies, this is the first step towards smart electricity grids that will allow electricity supply to be more efficiently matched to real time demand.
"In a world of smart phones and mobile broadband, it is easy to imagine that wireless connectivity has now been solved," said Neul cofounder Glenn Collinson. "It hasn't. Mobile broadband is too expensive for 'things' in the Smart City. Mobile broadband also means battery powered devices would need changing far too often. And all those sensors would load the cellular networks to such a level that there would be little network capacity left. Mobile networks are great for people, but terrible for machines."
Neul's network builds upon the completion of the first phase of work by the Cambridge White Space Consortium. This used used Neul's equipment and cloud interface to prove that its white space network does not interfere with tvs and wireless microphones.
As part of the Consortium trials, TTP delivered a broadband service of 8Mbit/s between its headquarters in Melbourn to the village of Orwell 5.5km distant. The link used Neul's technology over one 8MHz tv channel. TTP believes speeds in excess of 20Mbit/s may be possible as the technology is developed.
Meanwhile, commercial trials of white space based applications are expected to start later this year, with a full roll out anticipated in 2013.

Graham Pitcher

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