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Codebreaker

SPECTRUM! Carriers say there’s not enough

John Moe Apr 18, 2012


Well, of course they do. It’s in their best interests to tell people that they don’t have enough spectrum and they need more allocated if they’re going to continue to serve America well. Does that mean there really IS a spectrum crunch? No. Does it mean there ISN’T a spectrum crunch? No. WELL, THAT’S A PICKLE.

The New York Times’ Brian X. Chen takes a dive into the issue and talks to a pretty important historical figure on the subject of wireless:

Not even the inventor of the cellphone, Martin Cooper, is convinced that the wireless industry faces a serious challenge that cannot be overcome with technology. “Somehow in the last 100 years, every time there is a problem of getting more spectrum, there is a technology that comes along that solves that problem,” he said in an interview.
He explained that for carriers, buying spectrum is the easiest way for them to expand their network, but newer technologies, like improved antennas and techniques for offloading mobile traffic to Wi-Fi networks, could multiply the number of mobile devices that carriers can serve by at least tenfold.

Chen also talks to David Reed, one of the original architects of the Internet, who says that spectrum is not finite, and that we’re too married to the idea of frequencies. He says there are plenty of ways to reuse the same broadcast space so everyone can use it at the same time.

From the Times:

The reason spectrum is treated as though it were finite is because it is still divided by frequencies — an outdated understanding of how radio technology works, he said. “I hate to even use the word ‘spectrum,’ ” he said. “It’s a 1920s understanding of how radio communications work.”

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