New Hanover County is the first in the world to test out commercial uses of white spaces, which are the unused spectrum between TV stations that was left vacant after the switch to all digital stations.
The county installed cameras and wireless Internet hotspots in some places, including Hugh McRae Park. This allows free Wi-Fi in the park near the ball fields, playground and picnic shelters. Anyone with a laptop or other device that allows connection to wireless networks can access the network for free. You do not need any additional special equipment. The service is simply a free wireless signal in that area made possible by the transmission of a signal on the white space spectrum.
The signal transmits from a building on one side of the park and goes through trees to reach an antenna on a picnic shelter in the park, something that would be impossible with a standard wireless signal that didn’t use the white space spectrum.
White spaces will help eliminate bandwidth constraint and will allow wireless services to reach rural areas and other places that the standard wireless signal can’t access.
Date posted: February 10, 2012
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