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First white space radio system for WISPs unveiled

First white space radio system for WISPs unveiled

Carlson and Neul have announced the launch of RuralConnect, the first commercially available radio networking system to deliver the full potential of tv white space broadband to Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs).

According to the white space specialists, the product is aimed at bringing affordable broadband to millions around the world.

Neul and Carlson claim the system will give users up to 16Mb/s of bandwidth for each available vacant tv channel and 'unmatched' ability to make long range, non-line of sight links. Designed specifically for the needs of WISPs, RuralConnect has been priced to make it immediately commercially viable. Samples and development kits are available now, with volume shipments of the new system to start as soon as Q2, 2012.

Due to the extension of the Payroll Tax Bill, passed in February 2012, white space radio is now fully available in the US, opening up opportunities and new markets that are currently difficult to serve without expensive licensed spectrum or extensive infrastructure. This has piqued the interest of many investors and venture capitalists looking to tap in to the unlimited possibilities of this emerging technology.

RuralConnect technology uses white spaces - unused portions of UHF spectrum - for digital communication. Due to its outstanding propagation characteristics, UHF signals can travel through walls and other obstacles: Line of sight is not needed to the subscriber's home. However, on long range links reflections from buildings and terrain cause signals to travel via many different routes from the transmitter to the receiver. These multipath signals interfere can with each other, potentially causing unreliable, slow connections. RuralConnect uses SCFDE technology to cancel the effect of multipath allowing reliable long range connections, whatever the terrain.

As a result Neul and Carlson state that WISPs using the new system can offer superior coverage over wide areas with limited base station sites. It is also said to enable the transfer of more data at higher data rates, driving additional revenue with minimal additional investment. Depending on the area, up to 20 channels are available, increasing the amount of non-line of sight capable spectrum available by a factor of 10.

Carlson is launching a line of omnidirectional and sectoral, high gain, base station antennas designed specifically for tv white space broadband. The first of their kind, these antennas are powerful, affordable, and energy efficient.

"RuralConnect marks a major milestone in the realisation of white space technologies, which have been in development for a while," said Luke D'Arcy, VP of marketing at Neul. "The outstanding propagation characteristics of white space signals mean that operators can serve customers they cannot reach with existing wireless technology. The capacity available allows pioneering WISPs to offer all customers faster plans that beat ADSL based competition. And this is possible without investing in new tower sites, spectrum licenses or high priced network equipment, boosting profitable growth."

"We are well positioned to make the most of the TV white space opportunity," said Jim Carlson, CEO of Carlson. "We have the regulatory experience, tactical partnerships and pre-emptive technology to successfully deliver this market disruptive product. RuralConnect is a proprietary combination of Carlson's hardware and Neul's software, resulting in an affordable, high performance system that is attracting the attention of investors globally."

Chris Shaw

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