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Australia's Outback Could Get Web Via TV Antenna

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the hope-they-broadcast-the-sites-you-want-to-see dept.

Australia 121

disco_tracy writes "Australia began switching off its analog TV signals in June and the transition to digital-only transmission is expected to be complete by the end of 2013, five years before the roll out finishes for the NBN. The leftover analog spectrum could be used to deliver Internet to people living in remote areas. Unlike 3G networks, which lose download speed with more users, the analog signal would provide a consistent speed no matter how many users there were."

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It's the idea of the future! (4, Funny)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470712)

Unlike 3G networks, which lose download speed with more users, the analog signal would provide a consistent speed no matter how many users there were.

Gentlemen, I think we've found our solution. With 4G, we need to first convert the digital signal to analog before transmission. Network congestion will be a thing of the past!

Re:It's the idea of the future! (4, Informative)

butlerm (3112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470756)

Unlike 3G networks, which lose download speed with more users, the analog signal would provide a consistent speed no matter how many users there were.

I think someone needs to gain an acquaintance with the Shannon Theorem [wikipedia.org] .

Re:It's the idea of the future! (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470760)

But I don't know how to juggle.

Re:It's the idea of the future! (2)

nzac (1822298) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470810)

I think there is just a huge amount of Bandwidth that was allocated for the analogue tv spectrum, thus the main limitation required transmission power which can be bought as cap. Also the receiving technology is already installed.

This would be even more effective in a rural environment as there would be fewer people in range of each antenna.

Re:It's the idea of the future! (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470972)

The premise here is that the people aren't sharing the same bit of bandwidth. These localised towers will deliver signals at short range to very disperse locations. It's a shitty worded summary but in essence what they meant to say is that rather than sharing the same bandwidth where each additional user will slow it down for the rest as the signals are multiplexed, each user gets his own dedicated slice. Works well in the country where the population is disperse, the antennae are directional, and there's about to be a bucket load of bandwidth freed up. It's not unlimited but given the population density it may as well be.

Re:It's the idea of the future! (1)

dynamo (6127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471202)

Yeah, right, TV won't have the same problem 3G has where it sends the same information to everyone in a wide broadcast - because TV was the one that used localized cells to re-use the same bandwidth. Huh, I guess the rest of the world had that backwards.

Re:It's the idea of the future! (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471110)

Unlike 3G networks, which lose download speed with more users, the analog signal would provide a consistent speed no matter how many users there were.

I think someone needs to gain an acquaintance with the Shannon Theorem [wikipedia.org] .

Shannon's Theorem deals with the information rate in time... when adding the spatial distribution to the equation(TFA: "nanopeople/sq.km"), there may be a solution assuming a rarified enough spatial/angular distribution (and, of course, enough transmiting power).

Are we goint to see another patent for CSIRO? (at least they worth it)

Re:It's the idea of the future! (2)

Shag (3737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471006)

It works just fine, as long as everyone views the same web page at the same time.

Re:It's the idea of the future! (1)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471700)

It works just fine, as long as everyone views the same web page at the same time.

Or maybe someone could do an optimized bit torrent client :)

Re:It's the idea of the future! (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471092)

Unlike 3G networks, which lose download speed with more users, the analog signal would provide a consistent speed no matter how many users there were.

Gentlemen, I think we've found our solution. With 4G, we need to first convert the digital signal to analog before transmission. Network congestion will be a thing of the past!

Yes, of course... But with one catch: need to keep the population density to "nanopeople per square kilometer".

Re:It's the idea of the future! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471104)

Unlike 3G networks, which lose download speed with more users, the analog signal would provide a consistent speed no matter how many users there were.

Gentlemen, I think we've found our solution. With 4G, we need to first convert the digital signal to analog before transmission. Network congestion will be a thing of the past!

Yes, of course... But with one catch: need to keep the population density to "nanopeople per square kilometer".

In Australia, we can almost do that.

Re:It's the idea of the future! (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471142)

I know. Not on the average (20+mils/7mils sq.km), but were the tech matters is almost already so.

Fingers crossed for CSIRO, last time they pulled a nice trick with the WiFI patent [itnews.com.au] .

Re:It's the idea of the future! (2)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472914)

Unlike 3G networks, which lose download speed with more users, the analog signal would provide a consistent speed no matter how many users there were.

WTF? Come to think of it, those old acoustic-coupled 300 baud modems never fell back to lower speeds either. Maybe even older tech would be better. Smoke signals would be totally immune to electromagnetic interference. Could they possibly find a less-informed writer?
Sometimes it seems like net news/info sites are deliberately being clogged with garbage stories.

Using the same frequencies that analog tv did doesn't mean using the old analog tv transmitters or analog yechnology. If those were somehow used to send data, it would only be in one direction, and everyone would get the same data. As with digital tv, tv signals scale to many without degrading because because they're all picking up the same one-way signal.

And another thing. While the lower frequency VHF channels do provide signals that carry better over terrain with obstructions, It would take much more than one channel to get 100 mb/s speeds for even ONE user. The more people there are with signals covering a given path, the lower the bandwidth each gets for unique data. WiFi and cell phones both increase the ability to handle a number of users by limiting range, reducing the number of people within the area covered.

Unlike analog tv, a form of A.M. transmission which gets very objectionable visual interference if both a stronger and weaker signal are present at the receiver at once, properly designed digital technology gets no interference once the desired signal has an adequate margin above the background.

The initial analog (F.M.) and digital cell phones in the U.S. used former U.H.F television channels (above 69), but shared neither technology nor equipment with the former t.v. stations.

Re:It's the idea of the future! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34480728)

why do rurals living on their 10km x 10km piece of land expect city dwellers to subsidize their communications, if they won't subsidize our 70 sqm flat that cost more than their land?

Free Australia.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470716)

Yes, but Australia's outback cannot get uncensored and unsupervised web via TV Antenna.

Re:Free Australia.. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471106)

Yes we wouldn't want online pornography distracting the men from their sheep.

Analog signal? WTF? (1)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470742)

The article talks about sending internet access over an analog signal. I think the article writer was a bit off. More likely they're just using the bandwidth formerly used for analog TV, repurposing it to digital wireless broadband. I wish that happened here in the US. The whole comment about the number of users not mattering must be bupkus.

Re:Analog signal? WTF? (2)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470750)

The whole comment about the number of users not mattering must be bupkus.

There can be any number of users, but they all have to be looking at the same part of the internet.

Mozilla: Party Browser edition (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470796)

When you click "Private Browsing" the screen goes blank for everyone else unless they can guess the URL you are looking at.

Pendantic (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470786)

There is no digital.

The is only analog.

You can define Vcc as true and 0 as false, but analog they remain.

There is certainly no digital RF anything.

Re:Pendantic (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470848)

There is no such thing as analog. The smallest elements of all that exist are space and emtpy space. Anything can be break down until what left are "is" and "is not". Analog is a aproxymation of the digital reality, our sense can only mesure that much. We see curve where there is jagged surface.

Re:Pendantic (3, Insightful)

qbast (1265706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471146)

There is no such thing is digital. When you go to smallest elements (atoms, electrons, ...) you enter realm of quantum physics. There is no clearly defined "is" and "is not" - there are only continuous probabilities.

Re:Pendantic (4, Funny)

Mr0bvious (968303) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471214)

There is no such thing as continuous probabilities. Once all probabilities are determined you enter the realm of all knowledge. Having all knowledge clearly enables one to know what "is" and what "is not".

Re:Pendantic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471316)

You really need to read up about Heisenberg, Goedel and Russell! It's not the clockwork universe 19th century anymore.

Re:Pendantic (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471346)

aaaaaaaa, I jest. Obviously my sarcasm was missed :)

Re:Pendantic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471414)

And this is why I read slashdot.

Re:Pendantic (1)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472218)

You have unintentionally exited the realm of physics, and entered the realm of math. The fact is, it is unknown wether matter is composed of waves or particles; requiring it to be both however, is absurd.

The Copenhagen interpretation of QM is a purely mathematical construct which bridges this fundamental dichotomy, without providing any insight into real physics. It is an abomination that has replaced the search for truth, with the proclamation of an unknowable reality, veiled behind statistics. In essence, replacing science with belief.

Re:Pendantic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34476138)

There is no clearly defined "is" and "is not" - there are only continuous probabilities.

There is unlikely to be clearly defined "is" and "is not" - there are probably only continuous probabilities. - FTFY

Re:Pendantic (1)

Ronin441 (89631) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473994)

Dude. In a post about being pedantic, you misspelled "pedantic".

Re:Pendantic (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480368)

Anybodi who only nos one way to spel a word has no emagination.

Re:Analog signal? WTF? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470942)

The whole comment about the number of users not mattering must be bupkus.

Not really. We're talking here about a system which directionally targets the signal to the endpoint. It's not like mobile phones where you all share the same bit of bandwidth of the base station. It's a case here of there's an antennae on the base station dedicated to you, another to your neighbour, both with the same bit of bandwidth but don't cross the streams. Well not quite but you get the idea.

The reason this works is because the technology is aimed at stupidly sparse populations. It wouldn't work in a city, heck I doubt it would work in a small town.

Re:Analog signal? WTF? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471750)

It's a case here of there's an antennae on the base station dedicated to you, another to your neighbour, both with the same bit of bandwidth but don't cross the streams. Well not quite but you get the idea.

Because having a UHF transmitter for each user is going to be amazingly cost-effective.

Re:Analog signal? WTF? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472360)

I don't see why it shouldn't be. Despite the "ultra" in the name UHF isn't all that high frequency by modern standards and by using very directional.

The real question is how directional can you make the antennas before the antennas themselves become insanely expensive. Line of sight is also important.

Re:Analog signal? WTF? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472384)

I don't see why it shouldn't be. Despite the "ultra" in the name UHF isn't all that high frequency by modern standards and by using very directional.
That should have said and by using very directional antennas it should be possible to keep the transmit power low.

Re:Analog signal? WTF? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476676)

Economy of scale dictates that 2.4 and 5.8GHz kit is cheaper than UHF. TV aerials aren't particularly high quality, and neither is the coax. You'd have to replace both before they were suitable for data.

Re:Analog signal? WTF? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477758)

"Economy of scale dictates that 2.4 and 5.8GHz kit is cheaper than UHF."

Yep, and also they have shorter ranges, thus requiring more transmission power than UHF to go further.

"TV aerials aren't particularly high quality, and neither is the coax. You'd have to replace both before they were suitable for data."

We do have these things called Radio Modems. Sure you can only get ISDN speed but you didn't have to replace a damned thing, you just plugged the modem into the antenna. I used to use one way back in the early 90s.

Re:Analog signal? WTF? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480260)

Yep, and also they have shorter ranges, thus requiring more transmission power than UHF to go further.

Or a higher-gain antenna, which is easier to make and more compact at microwave frequencies than at UHF. You've also got the advantage that a high-gain antenna works just as well on receive as it does transmitting, so you can hear weaker signals as well as transmit further.

We do have these things called Radio Modems

I know. I design, build and install systems using them. They don't work with TV aerials or coax, and they (mostly) suck at UHF. They're slow (38400bps *if* you're prepared to pay about £1000 per year for a suitable licence, and *if* you can get a licence - it's called "broadband" for a reason, and huge chunks of spectrum cost). They suck.

Get Ubiquiti microwave kit instead.

Re:Analog signal? WTF? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471888)

Precisely. Something like 97% of Australia's population can receive Internet via more conventional means: fibre/cable/dsl in cities and towns, and 3G for 'rural, but not stupidly remote'. This technology is aimed at the remaining 3% who have no means of getting the Internet at all except via satellite. The truly remote. Those whose nearest neighbour is 200 km away and own cattle stations larger than some US states. The kind of people who aren't even connected to the electricity grid but rather generate their own power via generators/solar.

The tech has very major limitations, but for the purpose it's aimed at, it should work very well. At the moment these people rely on satellite, which while OK in terms of throughput, has awful latency.

Re:Analog signal? WTF? (1)

scottv67 (731709) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472766)

Those whose nearest neighbor is 200 km away and own cattle stations larger than some US states. The kind of people who aren't even connected to the electricity grid but rather generate their own power via generators/solar.

Shouldn't that "kind of people" be outside minding the livestock on their Rhode Island-sized ranch, keeping an eye on the generator and watching for dingo attacks instead of updating their Facebook page?

whoop-whoop (1)

A3gis (708791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470770)

awesome, because i had such a quality TV signal in the City! it could surely only be BETTER for those people way out whoop-whoop.

Re:whoop-whoop (1)

Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) | more than 3 years ago | (#34479154)

The city itself was probably a big part of your problem. Done correctly, RF deals much better with wide open spaces than it does with interference-filled urban environments.

Re:whoop-whoop (1)

A3gis (708791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481108)

you twist the story-you put facts in the story!

is there a v-chip in laptops? (1)

HamSammy (1716116) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470772)

I wouldn't want anyone to tune into most of the things I watch.

Unless you're into that/those sort of thing(s).

Why does this matter? (1)

bunhed (208100) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470788)

why is it the goal of technology missionaries to deliver the lamosity of facebook to some dude in a shack in the middle of nowhere? Like a neutered dog, i just don't get it... unless it's religion in which case I do get it, but still don't

Re:Why does this matter? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471162)

The Australian Federal Government has an obligation to deliver broadband services to people in remote areas. Telecommunication companies have to contribute a Universal Service Obligation pool which is paid to providers who service remote customers.

Re:Why does this matter? (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471270)

From the governments point of view, it's how public services are going to be delivered in the future.

In Britain we use a combination of local town council offices and Post Offices to provide information and be a point of contact for requesting and recieving various public services. That requires staff and some sort of office in pretty much every single town and village which is really expensive.

From the point of view of requesting services and information, a single desktop PC running as a webserver could replace all those staff for an entire region, but to replace all those staff and the associated offices everyone has to be using the web, universal network access is the first step and convincing everyone to use it is the second (perhaps harder - at least in the short term).

Awful article (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470814)

I don't have time for a full writeup, but read for some reasonable info. [radioaustralia.net.au] This is intended for areas where the user density is very low, so low that the users are at significantly different angles from the base station, and multiple steered beams can be sent to different users at the same time. They can get about a 6x gain in capacity that way.

The "reuse of analog" simply means that existing VHF antennas at the user end will work. This is useful, because in remote areas, people already have big towers with fixed antennas pointing in the right direction. The base station antennas change drastically, the modulation scheme changes, the user interface boxes are new. Only the user end antennas remain. But that's the item that's a pain to replace in the field.

The guy behind this is a serious RF guy, worth listening to. He can probably make this work.

Re:Awful article - worst I saw in a long time (1)

kubitus (927806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471522)

You can for sure also increase capacity to 8 fold or more if you can split the antenna field of your central transceiver into separately controllable segments.

This is possible by using several directional antennas or an antenna system of at least 4 ( or more ) antennas which get a phase shifted signal to cancel out in one direction and to amplify in another one.

-

This has nothing to do with analog or digital. Nyquist ist still valid

Re:Awful article (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471902)

Question:

Is the frequency truly unused? In the U.S. both the VHF/UHF bands are still being used (by DTV) and the same is true in the EU (by D-radio and DTV). So did Australia truly free these bands? Or were they merely converted from analog to digital and therefore still occupied.

Re:Awful article (2)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472162)

Back when the US was on analog TV, nearby stations had to be separated by at least 1 channel - the analog VSB filters were not good enough to prevent interference between signals on neighboring channels.

With the switch to digital, the waveform's bandwidth is determined by the modulation scheme, so it's easy to meet spectral purity limits and for the receiver to deal with adjacent channel signals. Now they can put transmitters on adjacent channels, effectively doubling the available bandwidth.

Re:Awful article (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481248)

Waht on earth do US adjacent channels have to do with my originl question about Australia's VHF/UHF bands?

Oh: And you're wrong. The FCC still requires a one channel gap between DTV channels of the same city, same as was true with analog channels.

Re:Awful article (1)

Mkx (614118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472462)

In Europe, EU commission passed a decree that we'll also have digital dividend. Frequencies between 790 and 862 MHz will be freed of TV and will be (in some countries already have been) sold for 4G mobile networks. It's a good thing that EC required that ... in some countries (mine included) those frequencies would have remained in (D)TV domain.

Re:Awful article (1)

CyberDragon777 (1573387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473664)

I currently receive DTV on 794 and 818 MHz.
Switching to lower frequencies would be nice, older antennas are less sensitive in the upper UHF channel range.
(Some towers currently broadcast at channel 69, 862 MHz. That must suck for some people.)

Re:Awful article (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474578)

Technically it will work but economically it much more difficult.

Stupidest idea ever (4, Informative)

Ezza (413609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470822)

(Disclaimer, I work for a broadcaster in Australia, so take this with a grain of salt)

OK for starters the bit about "consistent speed no matter how many users there were" is complete garbage, with ANY radio based system data system.

Secondly, if you start using the TV spectrum for data in both directions, you start putting a really strong signal OUT your TV antenna, which despite being on a different frequency to the actual TV channels, it is close enough to swamp the (really weak by several orders of magnitude) TV signal on the next band with the (extremely strong in comparison) outgoing signal.

So you can forget about watching TV while you're using the internet.

The decision to sell the TV bandwidth rather than just keep it for the public use (eg. super HD TV, or super multichanneling or whatever is in the future) is completely about $$$$ and greed by the Federal Govt so they can sell the bandwidth to the highest bidder.

Grrr.

Re:Stupidest idea ever (2)

LoneWolfMcQuade (1951352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470868)

Umm, Isn't the idea they won't be using that part of the RF spectrum for TV anymore so they can repurpose it for data..? I'd imagine the DTV part of the spectrum is far enough apart so it isn't a problem?

Re:Stupidest idea ever (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470926)

Your entire salt shaker was just taken. Either you work at the reception and do something completely unrelated to RF, or you're an RF engineer who decided to comment despite not actually looking at the proposal.

This is designed in areas where the population is incredibly sparse, we're talking many km between endpoints. The idea is to setup highly directional antennas. These DO provide consistent speeds as there's no sharing of bandwidth. You're not fitting multiple people on the same piece of 3G RF frequency, you're making your equipment highly directional and giving each endpoint a full chunk of the spectrum.

These proposals didn't come from some startup wackjob, it was brought to you by the same research institute you can thank for WiFi, they know what they're talking about. So next time you decide to call something complete garbage try a) reading what it's about, and if you still think you're smarter then go work for them if you can do it better.

Re:Stupidest idea ever (1)

LoneWolfMcQuade (1951352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470954)

Thanks for clearing that up.

Re:Stupidest idea ever (1)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470964)

OK for starters the bit about "consistent speed no matter how many users there were" is complete garbage, with ANY radio based system data system.

When you have highly directional beams going to the location in a point to point manner, and the same likewise back, you can have as many users as antennas you have to point at things.

So you can forget about watching TV while you're using the internet.

Analog tv?? i.e. the tv that is being disabled soon'ish and is going to become free space for which stuff like this would be very useful.

This will not interfere with their digital tv signals, they are on whole different bands.

Secondly, if you start using the TV spectrum for data in both directions, you start putting a really strong signal OUT your TV antenna, which despite being on a different frequency to the actual TV channels, it is close enough to swamp the (really weak by several orders of magnitude) TV signal on the next band with the (extremely strong in comparison) outgoing signal.

so the 64mhz abc analog channel is going to interfere with the 226mhz digital channel hey? what about the 119-124mhz channel, there is no digital channels till about 170mhz or so, they are not going to interfere with anything.

Re:Stupidest idea ever (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472210)

so the 64mhz abc analog channel is going to interfere with the 226mhz digital channel hey?

At your TV, yes. Read up on receiver [urgentcomm.com] desense [srgclub.org] . The situation is made even worse by using the same antenna - that means you've got to have filters or a circular mixer that will attenuate the transmitted data signal enough to not desense the TV receiver and at the same time not attenuate the desired TV signal significantly.

Re:Stupidest idea ever (1)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471026)

It's an awful article, but I originally saw this a few weeks ago and it was coming from the CSIRO, so I really doubt it's as braindead as the article makes it sound.

I do know that it was exclusively for very rural areas with a low number of users.

Re:Stupidest idea ever (3, Interesting)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471118)

Geez, I wish the operators of the thousands of amateur radio repeaters on frequencies not so far from TV freqs knew what you know about RF. They would know that the installations they have been using for about 40 years now can't possibly work! How silly of us to have (for decades) successfully used systems which receive a weak signal only a few khz away from a strong signal being broadcast on the same antenna at the same time.

Re:Stupidest idea ever (1)

kaleth (66639) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481714)

To be fair, those system require somewhat large and expensive cavity filters to work, along with a radio that is designed for such a system.

A system like this [mountgambier.org] probably isn't practical for internet access in the Outback. (The filter is the set of cans on the lower right).

Re:Stupidest idea ever (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471466)

I'd assumed it would be like satellite, using a phoneline uplink.

Re:Stupidest idea ever (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472946)

no, it calls for symmetrical download and upload. Basically it's wimax on steroids (wimax has a maximum effective rage of 50km).

jordaner (-1)

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Re:Stupidest idea ever (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474878)

The decision to sell the TV bandwidth rather than just keep it for the public use (eg. super HD TV, or super multichanneling or whatever is in the future) is completely about $$$$ and greed by the Federal Govt so they can sell the bandwidth to the highest bidder.

I'm sure anyone can come up with many use cases for the spectrum. What do you mean by "public use"? Do you mean reserve it for OTA for TV stations? Those bands were never unregulated anyway. I'm not sure about the detail down south but whoever get the rights to use the spectrum needs to pay for it, just like before... I'm not commenting on whether using those band is smart or not but in terms of $$$ - what's the difference?

Re:Stupidest idea ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34476096)

OK for starters the bit about "consistent speed no matter how many users there were" is complete garbage, with ANY radio based system data system.

The USA has already run a TV broadcasted web service with "consistent speed no matter how many users there were"....it was one-way, but just sayin' :)

I actually can't find that this system ISN'T one-way. Surely it isn't, right?

Can anyone remember the name of the US service? They piggybacked the signal on PBS station channels I think. Pretty sure one Windows version came with an app for it. 98?

Power... (3, Interesting)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470858)

The ability to transmit VHF (TV) into the hinterlands had as much to do with multi-kilowatt signals as it did with frequency. Pump 60 Kw into a 2.4 GHz wifi transmitter with a good directional antenna placed on a high tower and I'll bet the punters in the outback can find a working hotspot -- probably one in China at that power.

Re:Power... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470892)

The ability to transmit VHF (TV) into the hinterlands had as much to do with multi-kilowatt signals as it did with frequency. Pump 60 Kw into a 2.4 GHz wifi transmitter with a good directional antenna placed on a high tower and I'll bet the punters in the outback can find a working hotspot -- probably one in China at that power.

and plenty of food around the tower, precooked too. such as birds and kangaroos.

Re:Power... (1)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471852)

The ability to transmit VHF (TV) into the hinterlands had as much to do with multi-kilowatt signals as it did with frequency. Pump 60 Kw into a 2.4 GHz wifi transmitter with a good directional antenna placed on a high tower and I'll bet the punters in the outback can find a working hotspot -- probably one in China at that power.

and plenty of food around the tower, precooked too. such as birds and kangaroos.

That would have to be one bloody tall kangaroo.

Re:Power... (2)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472354)

They jump.

Re:Power... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34477824)

That wold have to be one bloody high jump to get near the emitter.

Re:Power... (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471176)

The ability to transmit VHF (TV) into the hinterlands had as much to do with multi-kilowatt signals as it did with frequency. Pump 60 Kw into a 2.4 GHz wifi transmitter with a good directional antenna placed on a high tower and I'll bet the punters in the outback can find a working hotspot -- probably one in China at that power.

You would be talking about over the horizon radar, but it requires megawatts. VHF TV frequencies can refract, diffuse and (to a small extent) skip off the ionosphere. I reckon that 2.4GHz would be easier to pick up on Alpha Centauri than in China.

Re:Power... (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471192)

wish i had mod points, i guess a "you are correct, sir" comment is the best i can do.

Well, yes and no. (4, Interesting)

dtmos (447842) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471948)

VHF TV frequencies can refract, diffuse and (to a small extent) skip off the ionosphere. I reckon that 2.4GHz would be easier to pick up on Alpha Centauri than in China.

I suspect the GP was engaging in a bit of hyperbole with the "China" reference, but reception of Chinese VHF TV signals in Australia is in fact possible on rare occasions [iprimus.com.au] via the ionosphere [iprimus.com.au] . The propagation modes usually involve simple refraction from the E layer [wikipedia.org] or F layer [wikipedia.org] , although occasionally more exotic types of propagation, such as trans-equatorial propagation [wikipedia.org] ("TEP"), occur. However, these all fall into the category of anomalous propagation, occurring for a few hours per month or year and, while interesting phenomena in their own right, aren't suitable on which to base one's daily Internet service.

It is also true that ionospheric propagation of 2.4 GHz signals is unknown. However...

There are propagation modes that favor the higher frequencies over the lower ones. Tropospheric propagation [wikipedia.org] , for example, is much more effective at 2.4 GHz than it is at VHF, and can occur at all parts of the sunspot cycle, since it depends on weather conditions instead of the ionosphere. For example, Table 2.1 in this article [df5ai.net] shows propagation from California to Hawaii on 2304, 3456, and even 5760 MHz via a well-known tropospheric duct. (See also this discussion [df5ai.net] on the relevance to trans-Australia propagation.) Paths in excess of 6000 km (Western Australia to Reunion Island, off the east coast of Africa) have been reported. But again, this is anomalous propagation, unsuitable for daily Internet service.

The GP has a point about transmitted power. VHF TV broadcast stations have effective radiated powers ("ERPs", defined as their transmitted powers multiplied by their antenna gains) measured in the hundreds of thousands to millions of watts, as well as high antenna sites (on towers), so it's a bit unfair to compare VHF TV reception ranges to those of 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi systems.

The main advantage of the proposed system is that the users, in remote sheep stations, won't have to replace their existing VHF TV antennas, which would otherwise be a significant financial investment (and that the system would be point-to-point, rather than point-to-multipoint, which enables frequency reuse without loss of bandwidth). Were this not the case, it would be clear to most RF system designers that a microwave system would be superior to the VHF system. Not only is more bandwidth typically available (remember, there are no competing services in the outback), but a 2.4-GHz antenna the same physical size (strictly speaking, having the same effective area) as the VHF TV antenna would have substantially more gain: The gain of a parabolic dish goes up as the square of the operating frequency [wikipedia.org] . Operating an antenna at 2.4 GHz instead of, say, 60 MHz (in the VHF TV band) would result in a gain increase of 1600, or 32 dB. If it had 18 dB of gain at VHF (a pretty decent TV antenna), it would now be 50 dB at 2.4 GHz. (This is why point-to-point microwave systems were used before they were overtaken in the bandwidth race by optical fiber.) This additional 32 dB of gain would greatly increase the range of the 2.4 GHz system over the VHF system, and would be available all the time -- making for a suitable Internet connection. In fact, the major engineering problem would probably be mechanical -- keeping the antenna pointed at the base station with sufficient accuracy.

Because of the antenna systems available at 2.4 GHz, and their narrow beam widths (high gain), it's unlikely that Alpha Centauri would be in the beam of a terrestrial point-to-point link. If the beam were pointed to China, however, tropospheric ducting becomes a factor and, given the right geography and meteorology, reception is not out of the question.

Re:Well, yes and no. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34479964)

I know some people who worked on JORN [wikipedia.org] who could tell me a lot about exotic ways to propagate radio signals but they would probably have to kill me afterwards.

Re:Well, yes and no. (1)

kaleth (66639) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481798)

This additional 32 dB of gain would greatly increase the range of the 2.4 GHz system over the VHF system, and would be available all the time -- making for a suitable Internet connection.

Unfortunately, the additional path loss [wikipedia.org] more than makes up for the antenna gain over long distances, so the benefits are much smaller than you might expect. Beyond 25 miles or so, VHF is going to have less loss, even accounting for the antenna gain. That's part of the reason that low frequencies are preferred for broadcasting.

One way? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472078)

The problem with that idea is that, yeah, the person in the hinterlands can hear the tower, but the tower most likely can't hear the response back from that person. The Internet depends on two-way communications. I suppose you could do something like the early satellite internet, where it uses a dialup modem for the 'upstream' bandwidth, and uses the RF signal for the highspeed 'download'. That's a very limiting model, but is better than dialup both directions, I suppose.

Re:Power... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34472100)

Thanks for share jeux de guerre [www.jeux.fm]

Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470986)

Censorship for All!

Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470988)

Although I am posting AC because this computer doesn't have my account posting this is a dupe.

http://mobile.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=10/11/03/164217 [slashdot.org]

The CSIRO have a way to send thousands of very low bit rate (like 5 baud) adaptive channels as one pipe with a huge bandwidth, with the vast bandwidth of a TV channel becoming free they can both send and recieve a broadband signal.

Think 5W CB radio from one state over with full error correction.

Journalists (1)

The Fanta Menace (607612) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470992)

This article is a good example of how little journalists know about the subjects that they write about. How much bullshit are we being fed when we read about fields that we know nothing about ourselves?

All got to browse the same pages (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471158)

Just a minor hiccup there: How are you going to get all Aussie rednecks to browse the same internet pages at the same time?

Re:All got to browse the same pages (1)

qbast (1265706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471448)

Sheep porn.

Re:All got to browse the same pages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34480078)

biggest face palm ever^^^

CSIRO .. Remember them? (0)

rec9140 (732463) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471282)

Hello... lest we forget this is from CSIRO!

PATENT TROLLS!

No thanks.

Don't care how great an idea it is, if it even leaves AUS, its from CSIRO and thus should be shunned for their patent trolling ways.

Re:CSIRO .. Remember them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471394)

PATENT TROLLS!

You keep using those words. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:CSIRO .. Remember them? (1)

rec9140 (732463) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471772)

No it means exactly what I think it does.

http://www.engadget.com/2009/04/22/csiros-patent-lawsuits-conclude-with-the-final-13-companies-set/ [engadget.com]

This was purely a move to make $$$ when 802.11b/g/n took off.

You don't get to have it both ways of being in good standing in the community and sue over patents.

No rewards for those who use patents against the community.

Re:CSIRO .. Remember them? (1)

lazybeam (162300) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471914)

Do you even know what the CSIRO does? It does do all the research into new methods for industry. And then licenses them out to companies for manufacturing, using the license money for further research.

Using your definition every company that takes another company to court for patent violations is a "patent troll".

Re:CSIRO .. Remember them? (1)

rec9140 (732463) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472402)

"Do you even know what the CSIRO does?"

Yes.. and the BLEW all that when they played the PATENT CARD on 802.11a/b.

Find another way to fund your research. Patent trolling is not the way.

"Using your definition every company that takes another company to court for patent violations is a "patent troll"."

Correct! Patents, IP, copyright and trademark ALL need to be ABOLISHED. May have suited the 18th century but the 21st century they need to go!

Sometimes I'm amazed by Slashdot (3, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472180)

I mean, how it is *remotely possible* that an article with only 1 technical fact (TV frequencies can be used for long-distance communication relatively cheaply), and a bunch of complete *bullshit* (High Speed Internet a "basic human right", Internet as an analog signal, no decrease in speed with increase in users), make it through the editorial screening for the "News For Nerds" site, but I *know* that other articles with much greater merit get completely ignored?

No, I'm not new here, but man, it's like they just don't give a shit about *pretending* to give a shit about doing their job anymore.

Re:Sometimes I'm amazed by Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34480522)

High Speed Internet a "basic human right"

Actually, that has been the Australian governments position which is why we are seeing the rollout of the NBN (national broadband network).

Re:Sometimes I'm amazed by Slashdot (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481810)

Don't get me wrong, I think it's important to try to provide everyone in your society with access to some form of reasonably high speed Internet, but not because it's a 'basic human right'.

What I've always been taught about the basic definition of what a "basic human right" is, is something you are born with, and can only be *taken away* from you by governments, not given to you. E.g. freedom of speech is what you have by default, only to be taken away. Freedom of thought/conscience/religion. Life, liberty, pursuit of hapiness. The air. That sort of thing. You have it till someone takes it away. Internet totally fails that test.

It's like saying 'having food to eat is a basic human right'. Through most of history, most people have had to work for their food. They *need* food, but it doesn't just get handed to you (unless you happen to be born to rich parents). Clothing, shelter - all fundamentally important things, but don't seem to fit the definition *I've* been taught of what a human right is.

legal bittorrent? (1)

voss (52565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472448)

Analog tv broadcast of internet would require something that doesnt need perfect transmission the first time, and packets can be retransmitted with error checking and checksums.

I bet companies like blizzard would LOVE to be able transmit the 15.6gb WOW:cata client at 100 mbps. Also microsoft windows service packs and linux ISO's...things that can be pieced together.

Re:legal bittorrent? (1)

CyberDragon777 (1573387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473742)

Analog tv broadcast of internet would require something that doesnt need perfect transmission the first time, and packets can be retransmitted with error checking and checksums.

Like TCP?

Re:legal bittorrent? (1)

voss (52565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474690)

Its not that simple. A 15.6 gb file like WOW might be transmitted serially to all receivers every half an hour (taking about 23 minutes to transmit). You might even have it transmitting on 3 different channels staggered so if you missed bits you wouldnt have to wait the entire time to get it. Also while you are downloading you can still use your regular internet connection for whatever without losing bandwidth.

efficiency of 20 bits per second per Hertz (1)

seb42 (920797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473066)

This csiro news page http://www.csiro.au/news/Broadband-coming-wirelessly-to-the-bush.html [csiro.au] talks about how efficient the tech is. "CSIRO is achieving spectral efficiency of 20 bits per second per Hertz (20 b/s/Hz)" "CSIRO’s spectral efficiency is three times that of the closest comparable technology and the data rate is more than 10 times the industry’s recently declared minimum standard."

...but the Internet is bidirectional. (3, Interesting)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473698)

So how does this allow the subscriber to send data? Does everyone have to have a megawatt transmitter in their home?

Re:...but the Internet is bidirectional. (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34478100)

This article is sparse on details, but obviously the designers are aware of what is required in the user's home. The existing antennas found in those homes are precisely why this system is being designed, and you obviously cannot put megawatts into the average TV antenna.

I routinely talk to other ham radio operators in town via repeaters that are 20+ miles away, using 5 watts and a hand held radio with an omni directional antenna. With a directional antenna that gave higher gain, my range might double at the same power. I would guess that 1. this internet service will use an encoding technique that is tolerant of some noise, so a perfect signal is not required, and 2. they are not going to try to cover very long distances.

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