Threat or No?

This is from Network World, and was posted to their website on March 25, 2011. I tend to think that this is more of a threat to ham radio than not. Mainly because so much of our VHF/UHF bands are so little used–at least on a regular basis. Click on the title to read the entire article….Dan

Microsoft scheme sniffs out unused wireless spectrum

By Tim Greene, Network World

Microsoft researchers have designed a scheme for measuring whether licensed radio frequencies are actually being used so unlicensed devices can use it, something that may become necessary as demand for wireless applications grows.

The architecture, called SpecNet, would sense and map where spectrum is being used and more particularly where it’s not — so-called white spaces, according to a paper being presented next week at the USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation in Cambridge, Mass.


  1. The “white spaces” they are talking about are the empty spaces around the TV channel frequencies, used to keep them separated. The idea of the equipment being that if a channel is not being used in a particular area, this new “wifi” type network equipment would use the white space area. Part of trying to expand the wireless internet. At least this is how it was explained to me. BUT… when they fill up that space in the future, I’m sure they will be looking for other places to expand into. Plus the Gov/FCC is already looking for frequencies to use for an expanded national communications network for emergency communications during national disasters. i.e. we (our gov) can’t rely on a bunch of radio hobby types to provide reliable communications during a national calamity.


  2. This is an interesting idea but it is fundamentally flawed because listening to spectrum is not a reliable way to tell if it is being used. Your receiver may not hear the radio traffic on frequency. Simple example: on the ground you’ll not usually hear much on the uplink of an OSCAR satellite, but that doesn’t mean the spectrum is available for use.

    Bob K0NR

Speak Your Mind