In a highly anticipated move that could lead to faster, more robust Wi-Fi networks in schools, the Federal Communications Commission is opening up unused airwaves between television stations for wireless broadband networks that will be more powerful and can travel farther than today’s Wi-Fi hot spots, reports the Associated Press. The five-member FCC voted unanimously Sept. 23 to allow the use of so-called “white spaces” between TV stations to deliver broadband connections that can function like Wi-Fi networks on steroids. The agency is calling the new technology “super Wi-Fi” and hopes to see devices with the new technology start to appear within a year. Leading technology companies, including Google, Microsoft, and Dell, are eager to develop the market. They say television white spaces are ideally suited for broadband because they are able to penetrate walls, have plenty of capacity, and can travel several miles. Just like the spectrum used by Wi-Fi, the white spaces will be available to all users for free, with no license required. The FCC hopes they will help ease strain on the nation’s increasingly crowded airwaves as more consumers go online using laptops and data-hungry smart phones. Although the FCC first voted to allow the use of white spaces for broadband nearly two years ago, the plan ran into serious opposition from TV broadcasters and wireless microphone manufacturers worried about interference with their over-the-air signals. The FCC has taken steps to mitigate these concerns, including setting aside at least two channels for users of wireless microphones…

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About the Author:

Denny Carter

Dennis has covered higher education technology since April 2008, having interviewed some of the most recognized IT pros in U.S. colleges and universities. He is always updating eCampus News with the latest in pressing ed-tech issues, such as the growing i


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