TV White Space, those frequency bands remaining unused by television and recently made available due to the movement to digital television transmission, offers tremendous potential to widen the base of available broadband technologies, bringing access to many segments of society that have until now have been left out, and facilitating some important new wireless applications.
Global Internet traffic and particularly mobile data demand have soared in volume, with demand in some sectors such as smartphones growing at more than 100% per year. Conventional wireless networks are rapidly becoming overburdened, as available capacity fails to keep up with bandwidth demand. This problem will only get worse over the course of the decade, even with the emergence of LTE and 4G networks. At the same time, many residents of rural areas remain out of range of broadband wireless and fiber optic networks, and must rely on dial-up or satellite connections for Internet access and data transfer. As costs of data transmission plummet, carriers are faced with declining revenues, with little incentive to expand their coverage into thinly populated areas.
All of this is happening as new applications, such as the Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, are emerging, in which separate, often small, devices communicate with each other without human intervention. M2M promises new levels of performance and efficiency while placing even greater demands on communications networks.
One emerging solution is TV White Space (TVWS). TVWS consists of sub-700 MHz bands, those thin slivers of spectrum between the VHF and UHF channels. The bands have been freed up by the transition from analog to digital television and made available by the FCC for unlicensed use. Applied to data communications, TVWS offers wider broadband coverage than Wi-Fi or WiMAX, at lower cost.
TVWS systems have already been deployed and proven their performance, as a number of prominent players in communications have begun to supply hardware and systems for TVWS networks. TVWS technology has also led to the development of novel spectrum management schemes that allow for far more efficient utilization of spectrum than has been possible previously, and which will eventually be used in other bands as well.
Thintri’s TV White Space report discusses the approaching bandwidth crunch and the ability of TVWS systems to offer highly profitable solutions, as demand in specific applications reaches petabytes per month. It also discusses opportunities in TVWS technology and potential markets and emerging demand in the consumer, healthcare and business sectors. The report provides market forecasts to 2020.