First tweet sent using Cambridge white space broadband network

Thursday, June 30th 2011
The message was sent by Cambridge Consultants, which also used the white space network to access YouTube and Skype.
First tweet sent using Cambridge white space broadband network
Cambridge Consultants has demonstrated the effectiveness of wireless broadband delivered via white space technology by using it to send a tweet.

The design and development firm accessed social media tools Skype, Twitter and YouTube from the Cambridgeshire village of Cottenham, which had no wireless broadband provision until the installation of the white space network.

An antenna positioned on top of Cambridge Consultants' headquarters was able to transmit the internet signal across a distance of approximately six kilometres to reach the rural location.

White space technology takes advantage of the unused airwaves between digital TV channels, meaning one of the biggest potential barriers in the way of its widespread adoption is interference with professional radio microphones and residents' television reception.

In order to avoid this problem, Cambridge Consultants developed a database engine that is able to pinpoint unused spectrum bands that can be used in each area.

The company has also created what it describes as a "low-cost spectral sensing cognitive radio technology platform", capable of identifying frequency channels that have interference that may have been caused by other non-microphone and non-TV services.

Richard Traherne, head of wireless at Cambridge Consultants, commented: "We believe that white space, as a pioneering cognitive radio wireless technology, has the potential to change the way that people communicate, especially in rural areas.

"It has a wide range of applications - from healthcare to home working - and we expect to see these and other exciting applications emerge in the near future."

A consortium of broadcasters and broadband providers, including the BBC, BT and Sky, launched the white space trial in Cambridge yesterday (June 29th 2011).

Led by Microsoft, the companies are looking into whether the solution can be used to meet the growing need for mobile data usage in the UK and across the world.

Dan Reed, an executive at Microsoft responsible for its technology strategy, told the Financial Times that white spaces "offer tremendous potential to extend the benefits of wireless connectivity". 

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