Will We Soon Have Gigantic Wireless Hotspots?

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is poised to take action on “white spaces” by appeasing TV broadcasters interference concerns. Given successful trials, the final hurdle for widespread use of this unlicensed spectrum may be cleared, birthing a entirely new wireless industry and long-range wireless hotspots.

Mininova Ordered to Remove All Copyrighted Files

It’s been a rough year for file-sharing sites, legally speaking. Today a Dutch court ordered Mininova to remove all torrents of copyrighted works in the next three months or pay up to $7.16 million in fines.
Copyright holder group Stichting Brein had sued Mininova for inciting and profiting from copyright infringement. The BitTorrent search engine and directory already removes files after receiving takedown notices and moderates pornography, viruses and fakes.
Given that Mininova is already doing some proactive filtering, the court said the site should assume all commercial works are copyrighted.
Read More about Mininova Ordered to Remove All Copyrighted Files

Smart Grid Debate: Licensed vs. Unlicensed Wireless Spectrum

A good portion of the intelligence that will be added to the upcoming smart grid will be wireless — radios, sensors and access points strategically placed throughout the power grid and on our homes that can help manage energy consumption and distribution. Increasingly, utilities and companies are deciding whether smart grid wireless networks need to run over licensed wireless spectrum, in which the airwaves are owned and regulated or unlicensed, which is shared spectrum and can be used by anyone as long as they abide by certain rules. With utilities spending billions on smart grid networks, the choice could determine which tech companies that plan to sell smart grid gear to the utilities are successful and which are not.

The degree of reliability and security that a smart grid demands can only be achieved with licensed spectrum, its backers argue. The idea is that because licensed spectrum is owned by one entity and can be used for a single purpose its users won’t face interference. But the problem is that licenses to buy spectrum cost money adding substantial fees to smart grid rollouts. On the other hand because unlicensed spectrum is shared and doesn’t require an expensive license to access it, its backers believe it’s the only option cheap enough to offer utilities a cost-effective method to roll out meter projects. But critics say that because unlicensed spectrum is shared by many users, services deployed on those networks can face interference.

We recently learned of the debate from Stewart Kantor, the CEO and founder of Full Spectrum, a two-year-old startup that builds WiMAX-based wireless networking gear that runs over licensed spectrum. His company sells WiMAX-based radios (which add intelligence to the power grid where power is distributed from generation to substation) that run over licensed, ultra-high frequency and very high frequency spectrum. He told us unlicensed wireless services are “problematic” for mission-critical services, which need to be secure, reliable and robust.
Read More about Smart Grid Debate: Licensed vs. Unlicensed Wireless Spectrum