Industry today is making use of TV-channel frequencies to deliver data wirelessly to machine-to-machine (M2M) devices. The signal passes right through trees and buildings, Keener notes. The development creates a “last-mile” solution for broadband.
Previously, companies would attempt unsuccessfully to reach devices through wired hookups. Without such a barrier, they can transmit huge amounts of data and take full advantage of the cloud for data storage.
An example of practical use is positive train control, a still-emerging technology that allows railroads to know where their trains are at all times. The wireless option eliminates the need for expensive fiber cables in rural areas.
Other applications in outlying locations include oil and gas operations, where broadband is often difficult to obtain or unavailable. Wireless transmission on TV frequencies means that users can transmit signals through wooded terrain.
Data security is always a concern with wireless communications, but Keener says privacy can be secured through new software applications. The one potential obstacle is signal interference. Systems utilizing the cloud have to deploy available channels, as determined by the Federal Communications Commission.
Still, says Keener, there’s plenty of bandwidth in remote areas today, because fewer TV stations are using it. When TV stations went digital a few years ago, the move freed up a large portion of the spectrum.
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