Carlson Wireless plans 802.22-compliant white-space radio
Carlson Wireless is developing the next generation of its Rural Connect IP radio, which is designed to leverage TV white-space spectrum in order to bring wireless broadband connectivity to rural and underserved areas where terrestrial and satellite service is infeasible.
Dubbed Rural Connect 2, the radio will be built to the recently ratified IEEE 802.22 standard that governs white-space devices and will operate in both 8 MHz- and 6 MHz-wide channels, the former of which is utilized in international markets, said Jim Carlson, the company’s president. The radio is expected to reach the market in four to six months, he said.
Carlson added that the 802.22 standard is important, because it will create device interoperability and economies of scale that will reduce device costs.
Even without the standardization, Carlson has developed new hardware for the radio that he expects will reduce the cost of the radio by 50%. Part of the cost-savings stems from the fact that the radio is designed specifically for the domestic white-space market, while the earlier version was engineered more generically, so that it could be used in multiple markets.
“For instance, we no longer have things in there for military users,” he said.
Also helping to lower costs is the general rule that each chipset generation is more streamlined and efficient than those that came before.
“In a couple of years, a [better] chipset can help you reduce the cost of a $300 device down to a $100 device,” Carlson said. “Just like what’s occurred with Wi-Fi.”
Separately, Carlson has extended the frequency range of its Trailblazer radio, which now operates in the 5.9 GHz band, after receiving FCC approval a few weeks ago. The radio — also operational in 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz and 4.9 GHz spectrum — is targeted to the transportation sector as a lower-cost backhaul option to T1 lines or fiber for data transmitted by intelligent transportation systems.