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Cable Technology Feature Article

August 27, 2012

Carlson's New Antenna Making the Most of TV Whitespace

By Frank Griffin, TMCnet Contributing Writer

When the FCC (News - Alert) mandated the conversion of analog TV to digital TV in 2009, it left television frequencies abandoned. The FCC made this spectrum available for unlicensed use making it possible for companies to create products and services that use the spectrum. Carlson has designed a new high gain omnidirectional base station antenna specifically to take advantage of the abandoned TV bands in the 470 MHz to 698 MHz Ultra-high Frequency (UHF) range. This TV White space is ideal for many types of communication especially users in public safety emergency services as well as wireless Internet service providers with broadband speeds.

An omnidirectional antenna radiates radio waves with uniformity in all direction in one plane. This makes them ideal for reception from nondirectional antennas because they are able to emit without losing much of the radio energy. This type of antenna has many different applications such as wireless networks, GPS, cell phone transmission, and base stations that communicate with radios.

So what exactly is TV white space? It is the unused gaps between TV channels in the UHF spectrum. If you remember watching television on these stations you know it is capable of broadcasting audio and video reliably with the right antenna. The antenna Carlson offers is capable of delivering speeds of up to 16 MB/s for wireless providers as well as other operators that use the spectrum. Rick Gustafson an engineer at Carlson said “Somebody using channel 14 will see the same throughput as someone using channel 51, with virtually no difference in quality of signal.” This type of reliability is critical for emergency operators and companies offering wireless services.

The antenna is made with stainless steel and aluminum alloy which is then enclosed in strong PVC. The enclosure is designed to mitigate wind loading and ice formation thus eliminating or greatly reducing any possible interference from bad weather conditions.

UHF has none-line-of-sight capability which makes it ideal for rural installations with rugged terrains populated with trees and peaks and valleys. The ability to overcome these types of geographical obstacles makes it possible to provide broadband even in the most remote location.

Once you leave a major city the infrastructure starts dwindling down to the bare necessities and rural areas always had to contend with being the last ones to experience the benefits of modern technology. Broadband access is still very limited in these areas and the decision to make broadcast channels available for unlicensed use by the FCC will move forward the goal of having a real national broadband Internet possible.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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