Unused TV frequencies could be used to create ‘Super Wi-Fi’ over 7km

25 Nov 2014

Scientists in Germany have developed a way to create ‘Super Wi-Fi’ using vacant TV frequencies, spreading internet and data coverage over areas of up to 7 kilometres.

Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) said mobile networks, even on new 4G frequencies, are always faced with capacity problems.

However, if old and vacant TV signals are used – so-called whitespaces – a new kind of super Wi-Fi could be created to provide data coverage over a wider area than Wi-Fi currently reaches.

They argue that using frequencies lower than the 2GHz range currently used for Wi-Fi it is possible to create data coverage that can pass obstacles, such as walls, with ease.

“Depending on the nature of the environment they can even reach the communication partner at a distance of several kilometres,” the scientists said.

They said that even in cities where wireless frequencies are congested with all kinds of broadcast traffic, the redundant TV signals can be used by broadcasters to send and receive data to smartphones over large areas.

The scientists, Arnd Weber and Jens Elsner, have urged governments to gain an economic advantage by auctioning off these lower frequencies to cash-rich mobile operators.

Weber and Elsner will discuss their approach at the UN’s World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) next year.

TV aerials image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years