8 Telcos to test "cognitive" wireless technology from xG Technology (Comment on IEEE 802.22 WRAN standard)

A group of eight telecom providers will begin field testing a mobile technology that relies on unlicensed spectrum and frequency hopping to optimize broadband connectivity. The carriers, which are located across the country — in states ranging from California to Florida — will build on an earlier VoIP trial of xG Technology’s “cognitive” wireless platform, which uses spectrum in the 900 MHz and 5.8 GHz bands and avoids line interference by jumping between bands. XG Technology is expected to release a chip in September that supports data access at speeds of 3 Mbps.

xG Technology is pioneering what the company calls “cognitive” wireless technology that can sense interference from other devices using the same spectrum and hop away from those frequencies, said Chris Whiteley, vice president of business development for xG Technology, in an interview. Initially the company is targeting spectrum between 902 and 928 MHz—a band used in the U.S. for garage door openers, baby monitors, cordless phones and some video surveillance. But a new version of a chip that uses technology developed by xG is scheduled for availability in September, and will also support communications in 100 MHz of unlicensed spectrum in the 5.8 GHz range and will be able to shift between the two spectrum bands within 30 milliseconds.

Radio signals in the 900 MHz range penetrate buildings very well, Whiteley noted. “But as soon as you step outside, 5.8 GHz is a great line of sight [option] and you can offload capacity for outdoor use.”
In the future, the technology could be used in other spectrum bands, such as the TV white spaces band, Whiteley said.

xG has field tested its technology in a 32-square mile network in Ft. Lauderale, Fla. supporting mobile VoIP services and also has a trial of a voice network underway with Texas-based Independent telco Townes Telecommunications. Whiteley said xG focused on supporting voice service initially because in comparison with data transmission “getting VoIP to work correctly on an IP mobile network is the tougher challenge.”

The new XG chip coming out in September will also support data services, and companies such as Townes Telecommunications that have already been working with xG will be the first to deploy devices with the new chips. xG does not manufacture chips but develops technology which will be implemented on a chip. 

Telcos that have signed agreements to evaluate the xG Technology include Redi-Call Communications of Delaware, TelAtlantic Communications of Virginia, Cook Telecom of California, Silver Star Telephone Company of Wyoming, Venture Communications Cooperative of South Dakota, Smart city Telecom of Florida, and Public Service Cellular of Georgia, as well as Townes Telecommunications.


Comment:  Cognitive radio research has been ongoing for many years.  The IEEE 802.22 Wireless Regional Area Network (WRAN) standard was based on it.  Yet that recently ratified standard is apparently Dead on Arrival (DoA) as no networks based on it have been deployed or even announced. 

Not only must the cognitive radios detect interference and defer use of those bands, but also re-negotiate use of the same channel on a time shared basis, else hop to a different channel.  Hasn’t happened yet.  Good luck to these eight small telcos that are trialing xG Technology’s cognitive radios.

 Here’s the IEEE Standards Association press release on IEEE 802.22 standard:

IEEE 802.22TM-2011 Standard for Wireless Regional Area Networks in TV Whitespaces Completed

PISCATAWAY, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–IEEE, the world’s largest professional association advancing technology for humanity, today announced that it has published the IEEE 802.22TM standard. IEEE 802.22 systems will provide broadband access to wide regional areas around the world and bring reliable and secure high-speed communications to under-served and un-served communities.

This new standard for Wireless Regional Area Networks (WRANs) takes advantage of the favorable transmission characteristics of the VHF and UHF TV bands to provide broadband wireless access over a large area up to 100 km from the transmitter. Each WRAN will deliver up to 22 Mbps per channel without interfering with reception of existing TV broadcast stations, using the so-called white spaces between the occupied TV channels. This technology is especially useful for serving less densely populated areas, such as rural areas, and developing countries where most vacant TV channels can be found.

IEEE 802.22 incorporates advanced cognitive radio capabilities including dynamic spectrum access, incumbent database access, accurate geolocation techniques, spectrum sensing, regulatory domain dependent policies, spectrum etiquette, and coexistence for optimal use of the available spectrum.

The IEEE 802.22 Working Group started its work following the Notice of Inquiry issued by the United States Federal Communications Commission on unlicensed operation in the TV broadcast bands.

Additional information on the standard can be found at the IEEE 802.22 WG page. To purchase the standard, visit the IEEE Standards Store.