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Carmakers Oppose Opening Up 5GHZ Spectrum Space For Unlicensed Wi-Fi 186

Posted by timothy
from the but-we-had-our-eyes-on-the-pies dept.
s122604 writes "Automakers aren't too happy about a recent U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal, which uses part of the wireless spectrum assigned to vehicle-to-vehicle technology for Wi-Fi instead. The FCC announced that it plans to free up 195 MHz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band for unlicensed use in an effort to address the U.S.' spectrum crisis. This could potentially lead to Wi-Fi speeds faster than 1 gigabit per second."
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Carmakers Oppose Opening Up 5GHZ Spectrum Space For Unlicensed Wi-Fi

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  • My router at home does N speeds of 300 megs and is attached to 16 meg cable, Do I really NEED to connect to my router at over 1 gig speeds if the cable modem it's connected to is still linked to the same half arsed, capped cable?
    • You do realize that not all routers are attached to capped cable modems?

    • by DeathFromSomewhere (940915) on Friday February 22, 2013 @09:30PM (#42986809)
      Do you only have one device in your house? Because I'm pretty sure a lot of us have multiple.

      Remember kids, "I can't use this" is not the same thing as "nobody can use this".
    • by cosm (1072588)

      My router at home does N speeds of 300 megs and is attached to 16 meg cable, Do I really NEED to connect to my router at over 1 gig speeds if the cable modem it's connected to is still linked to the same half arsed, capped cable?

      Enterprise wireless users transferring large files over the network? Large campus deployments serving wide areas? Not everybody uses the network just for the WAN pipe...though I get the feeling most people these days just take everything layer 7 and below for granted (i.e. "What, isn't the network just my cable plugged in?").

      • Well granted, I scaled this down to my own usage when I posted this, but is it not the backbone providers claiming they are being saturated? I assume I can see where one localized wide area wireless network with +1 gigabit speeds might be useful, but how much extra are we really going to eek out of it over what we have now?
        • by cosm (1072588)

          Well granted, I scaled this down to my own usage when I posted this, but is it not the backbone providers claiming they are being saturated? I assume I can see where one localized wide area wireless network with +1 gigabit speeds might be useful, but how much extra are we really going to eek out of it over what we have now?

          Up to 700+ Mbps more? You're still restricting your vision to the WAN pipe. If I am a corporate user who moves large whatevers around between shares, the speeds 11ac offers are much welcomed. Yes of course your home internet downstream/upstream will see no substantive difference, but that isn't the point. The point is more and more devices on the WLAN in the home are needing more and more bandwidth availability (think streaming media servers and the like). Plus with more tablets, laptops, phones, toasters,

          • by rts008 (812749)

            Thank you for an excellent +1 Informative post.

            While I wish/hope for more bandwidth with that last mile, I have found that the more bandwidth my home LAN has, the more useful/neat stuff I can do.

            Bottom line:
            You can NEVER have too much bandwidth!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As a resident near Kansas City, it's fairly important to me.

    • Then you may need more speed. Your N gets you more like 100mbps effective data rate (test it some time) since the WiFi speeds are displayed raw and there's a lot of overhead. Now that is 100mbps shared among all devices. So, if you connect to your router and it to a wired computer, no problem full bandwidth. However if you connect to another computer on WiFi, oh look, you guys are sharing. Have a bunch of computers on all accessing, that bandwidth starts to get spread thin.

      If all you do is one computer to t

    • by kuhnto (1904624)
      Unfortunatly, no one can understand the possibilities of using new capabilities until they exist. (Please note, i am generalizng here), until wifi and the opening of 2.4 (worthless in the eyes of the FCC) spectrum did the explosion of wifi communication occur. Hopefully the same will happen with a new RF band such as the 5 ghz bAnd.
    • by adolf (21054)

      Is every single thing you do with a network connection between the device in front of you and the Internet?

      I do all sorts of stuff with my home network.

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      you might want to stream HD video from a fileserver to other devices on your network.. Actually, most of the issue isn't the printed rated speed, but the power of the cpu.. most times, routed pkt rates are far lower, with many models dropping way below the ISP caps.

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      Yes, you do. It will come in extremely handy when you have 100 people over for a cook out, family reunion, wedding, whatever and they each have a device that wants to connect.

      1 gig speeds might not be something useful in your future, but it certainly can be useful to others.

    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      I don't need gig speeds, but I certainly need N...when running speed tests I've broken 56mbps. To the open internet, on wifi. I no longer think about what I might like to download for tomorrow or two days from now; it's now only about what I want to download for ten minutes from now. And it is awesome.

    • by sjames (1099)

      That depends, were you hoping to stream HD movies from the server downstairs to your laptop? Perhaps the kids/wife/ whoever in your house wants to watch a different movie at the same time.

      Some people move a lot of data on their LAN without ever touching the internet.

  • I see a techy subject and read it instantly as Carmackers...
  • Show me the money (Score:4, Interesting)

    by goodmanj (234846) on Friday February 22, 2013 @10:14PM (#42987023)

    I'm one of those pinko liberal democrats. But where electromagnetic spectrum is concerned, I'm as mercenary as they come.

    If car makers want spectrum, they can buy it just like everybody else. The FCC should put the entire radio spectrum up for sale to the highest bidder on a rotating 10-year cycle, nothing exempt except for a few bands set aside for emergency services, military, and scientific use.

    FM radio, TV, taxicabs, ham radio, I don't care: if you want exclusive use of a slice of spectrum, you form a coalition of like-minded people willing to pay for it. If somebody else wants to pay more, go find a better business model.

    • 10 years is too short. Look at all the aggravation of moving a few TV channels around.

      Also look at the technical hacks involved in maintaining backward compatibility in HD radio now and color TV back in the day. Breaking everybodies hardware on a ten year cycle is a non-starter.

      • by goodmanj (234846)

        10 years is too short. Look at all the aggravation of moving a few TV channels around.

        What aggravation? I would imagine most TV channels would bid higher for their existing channel to avoid the cost of switching, while a new channel or service would buy whatever's cheapest: as a result, there wouldn't be any "channel churn": the poorest old station would be replaced by a newcomer, and everyone else would continue as usual.

        And while I'm no expert on TV technology, I strongly suspect that most VHF broadcast

        • You obviously don't know anything about radio. Switching frequencies within a band requires an entirely new antenna construction for any efficiency at the kind of power commercial broadcasting uses. It's not a software problem at all.

          The approximate wavelength of 66MHz is 4.5 meters, while it's 3.6 meters for 82MHz. That requires lopping about 20% off of the top of the antenna, or else adding enough to bring it up to the next efficient multiple of the new wavelength. You must have seen commercial broadcast

          • by goodmanj (234846)

            I'm aware of those issues. But in the end, an antenna is just a metal rod. Changing its length is easy(*). And $50K for new transmitter hardware? That's chump change. Just run a couple extra local commercials during the evening news to pay for it.

            (*) Provided the metal rod is a several-meter-long TV antenna. Replacing a hundred-meter-high AM radio antenna would be a lot more expensive.... so the AM radio stations should be prepared to bid high for their spectrum to avoid the cost of switching.

    • by KGIII (973947)

      Ham is for public safety actually. You may want to keep that one free because you may need a ham someday. Really...

      • by goodmanj (234846)

        My family was involved in one of the biggest communications cutoff disasters I've ever heard of: Hurricane Iniki hit my island in Hawaii in 1992. Damn near every telephone pole on the island was destroyed, *nobody* had phone service, and it's not like you could drive to somewhere that had a phone.

        The hams sounded the trumpets and "came to the rescue". I heard of ... oh, a whole two or three people who got messages to friends and family on the mainland through ham radio. Meanwhile, within a couple of days

    • ham radio

      "In the Bridgeport area, also struck hard by Hurricane Sandy, members of the Greater Bridgeport Amateur Radio Club were called into action.

      John Russo, GBARC president, tells Examiner.com that 25 volunteers were deployed over the course of a week, assisting the Bridgeport, Stratford and Red Cross operation centers.

      Hams also provided information to help FEMA with damage assessments, he said."

      - http://www.examiner.com/article/ham-radio-s-response-to-hurricane-sandy-is-reviewed-and-praised [examiner.com]

      Forming coalitions and

      • by goodmanj (234846)

        I've seen hams working first-hand in a disaster area (Hurricane Iniki in Hawaii in 1992, where *all* communication was cut off from the island.) They did help, but there weren't enough of them to make a significant difference, and the state and federal emergency services set up a big satellite-phone bank very quickly.

        The disaster response ability of ham radio is a bit like an outboard boat. Sure, if there's ever a flood, I'll use my boat to help rescue people. But does that mean I should get free gas for

    • by houghi (78078)

      So nothing for e.g. rc planes. Nothing for HAM radio. Nothing for indivuduals. All for the companies with the most money.

      Possible solution 1)
      Hello, I am Google and I just bought everything, so there will be NO competition anymore. I will now buy all the phone and other companies, so they can not compete in 10 years time. Prices will be low as they do not have any serious business anymore
      Possible solution 2)
      Hello, we are the coalition of phone companies and we bid 1USD.

      The problem with the first is that you

      • by goodmanj (234846)

        There are a huge, diverse range of highly motivated and rich bidders who would like some radio spectrum. There is zero chance that everyone will form a workable price-fixing coalition, and zero chance that one bidder will be able to outbid them all.

        You say you're worried about a monopoly: well so am I. Worst-case scenario for my proposal, a very rich buyer gets a 10-year "monopoly" on a broad swath of spectrum, paying $billions to the federal government's coffers to do so (and lowering all our taxes as a

    • by Sloppy (14984)

      The FCC should put the entire radio spectrum up for sale to the highest bidder on a rotating 10-year cycle,

      Let me get this straight: every single device which uses radio, should potentially become obsolete, every ten years?

      "Yeeah, I bought this access point in 2011. I know, I know, it uses a band which might be owned by the police department starting January 1 2014 but I figured it was still worth the money even if I only get to use it for three years. And besides, remember when my 2005 walkie-talkies su

      • by goodmanj (234846)

        Yes, everything could *potentially* become obsolete, but it won't happen very often. "Spectrum churn" will be very small, because anyone who buys new spectrum that was formerly used for something else will have to deal with interference from legacy systems -- so they'll bid low for that "polluted" spectrum. Meanwhile, the old licensee will be willing to pay a premium to avoid having to retool all their devices.

        In short, spectrum will only change hands when the old licensee is *very* obsolete, and the new

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @04:39AM (#42988067)

    The problem with this article is people have no idea why the car manufacturers are upset, all they see is some big corporation opposing the release of more unlicensed public spectrum (and some sensationalist WIFI BS by bloggers). Or course this draws out the communists among us that want all corporations to go away.

    This all fails to miss the entire point of why the Auto companies are opposing this. This spectrum is directly adjacent to spectrum allocated for intercar communication. What is intercar communication? It's spectrum that was allocated a number of years ago to allow direct communication between vehicles. What is the point of that? Well one of the key aspects of this spectrum is that without it you don't have reliable inter-car communication which will greatly hamper self driving cars.

    See, if you are going to have self driving cars those cars need to be able to communicate with each other, they need to tell the cars around them that they need to change lanes, or that they are breaking. The holy grail of self driving cars is a situation where cars are driving 70MPH with about 2 feet between them. This will greatly increase the density of cars and allow the freeways to operate about 200% more efficiently than now. But for that all to work that cars have to tell each other what they are doing so the other vehicles can react. Even with no perception-reaction time for computers you will greatly decrease the possible efficiency if the cars can't communicate real time. The only way to make this safe is dedicated spectrum with low interference.

    If we have thousands of WIFI signals in adjacent spectrum there will be so much interference that the systems won't be reliable, the result will either be safety problems or drastically reduced efficiency. Self driving cars are a holy grail of ITS (intelligent transportation systems) that has been being pursued since the early 90's. It will result in freeways that are so much more efficient than today that you could fit 3-4 times the number of cars in the same freeway without any slow downs or rush hour traffic jams. Not only that but you could read a book while driving to work.

    We don't want to impede or endanger self driving cars. The car manufacturers concerns about interference need to be taken seriously.

    • by pubwvj (1045960) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @08:08AM (#42988519) Homepage

      "The holy grail of self driving cars is a situation where cars are driving 70MPH with about 2 feet between them."

      I will read the newspaper stories in the future about the incredibly massive pileups of enormous numbers of self-driving cars on your highways.

      Self-driving cars need to also be using vision, radar, sonar - all their senses. Relying on just one sense is folly. The reality of the world is that not everyone will play nice and they'll have to be able to adapt to that, or die.

      Any self-driving cars can't adapt to radio interference then they will die off, litter along the road of technological progress. The driving force will be the litigation against the self-driving cars that crash.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Not only that but you could read a book while been driven to work.

      FTFY. (I couldn't: motion sickness. Out of boredom, I'll drive the car instead of being driven; therefore the car makers' holy grail is of no consequence to me).

    • by Kreigaffe (765218)

      Self-driving cars.

      It's just fucking fusion. 20 years out, eternally. Worse, it's a bad fucking idea in the first place.

      I don't want drivers on the road paying LESS attention to driving.

      There is no situation where a 2 foot following distance at 70mph will be safe. Jesus fucking Christ himself might be controlling those cars, that's still an unsafe distance. There's too many things that could *just happen*, and cause many many collisions. It's a bad deal.

      Many people never deal with that kind of congestio

    • by Skapare (16644)

      Shit happens. The car ahead of you can not only go into a crazy stop, but even flip around as it happens. The car behind might not get too much more than the spacing distance to get stopped. 70MPH with 2 foot spacing is just not something a vehicle of any kind, much less one that runs rubber on asphalt, can do safely ... even if it is controlled by a computer. I don't want to be in such a vehicle even if it can stop fast enough to avoid a collision.

    • You honestly think they just want it for self driving cars? All the latest "self driving" car do not use any car to car system and frankly I would want them talking since it could easily be interfered with or hacked either drastically reducing said efficiency or creating a hazard.

      This is going to be use for pretty much 1 or 2 things, customer tracking for direct targeting of advertisement or services

      How would they do it? Something as simple as counting how many X type of cars are in the area that go p

    • The problem with this article is people have no idea why the car manufacturers are upset, all they see is some big corporation opposing the release of more profit (and some sensationalist WIFI BS by bloggers). Or course this draws out the communists among us that want all corporations to go away.

      This all fails to miss the entire point of why the Auto companies are opposing this. This profit is directly adjacent to profits allocated for profit. What is profit? It's profit that was allocated a number of years

  • I don't want other drivers, much less their cars talking on cell phones.

    Besides I highly do not like the idea at all of designing systems that would involve car to car systems in the first place.

    Mostly due to privacy, because I just know the morons will put identifiers into each car, and just the simple fact a bored teenager with simple computer and electronics skills would have a hayday messing with people for fun. Anything else like transmitting say diagnostics info for service, etc would not need it

  • I have no problem declaring (out of blissfull ignorance) any reason one invents whereby they think 5ghz vechicle to vechicle communication is a good idea is actually not such a great idea upon closer inspection.

    Hopefully with more spectrum in 5ghz ISM FCC also plans to allow higher transmitting power so it can be practically utilized.

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