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back to article Dutch army digs in on spare spectrum rest of Europe could use

Early next year Ofcom is planning another consultation on two bands around 900MHz with a view to opening them up for unlicensed use, having established that only the Dutch care about them. The bands are empty in the UK, so the EU telco body CEPT has been asking around to see if the bands are being used elsewhere, and discovered …

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WTF?

The Dutch have an army?

You'll be telling us next that the French have a navy.

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Re: The Dutch have an army?

Yes, with ballistic nuclear missiles on its subs.

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Coat

Re: The Dutch have an army?

Ah - an underwater army. That makes sense.

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Re: The Dutch have an army?

Ah - an underwater army. That makes sense.

Well it does in Dutchland, which is below sea-level.

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Unhappy

Re: The Dutch have an army?

Blast! I'll never get Silver at this rate.

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Re: The Dutch have an army? @ Graeme

Have one on me

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Underwater

Quite true that. Fancy any tanks BTW? Our army apparently is trying to flog them all...

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Re: Underwater

>>Our army apparently is trying to flog them all...

We'll take 'em probably. Just like we took the Harriers from the Brits. The Marines need equipment. We cant be assed to buy them new stuff, and they wont take old stuff from my branch's Regular component. Good thing for my component, the Army Reserve, because otherwise we'd never get equipment.

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Meh

Flogging tanks

Of course we are.. The ballistic ranges nowadays are such that our Enemies have to be careful not to overshoot us, and most of the country still has its' Old Fashioned Defense: We can turn most of it into a bog within 24 hours.

Tanks are completely useless here. Strategically you just need to take out 3-4 bridges and one or two highways to let the country grind to a halt and lock out Rotterdam as a harbour. This little bit of Europe is practically indefensible in a modern war theatre. So better spend € on something that *can* be useful, like attack choppers and long-range recon.

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Holmes

Re: The Dutch have an army?

Not only do the French have a Navy, the Dutch have trained mountain infantry, part of their Marine Corps.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Dutch have an army?

Holland produces some of the finest women mountain climbers in the world*.

*But they are also quite mad.

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Facepalm

Re: The Dutch have an army?

Not only do the French have a navy, but they even have a working aircar craftier on which they are going to lease sorely needed aircraft parking spaces to the UK

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Re: The Dutch have an army?

An army which ran away and left civilians to the wolves.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srebrenica_massacre

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Stop

Re: The Dutch have an army?

That wasn't actually the fault of the lads on the ground, one of my ex-colleagues was there.

Conscript army and the standard issue firearm was the Uzi. After the umpty-somethingth grunt had shot himself / shot friend / shot innocent bystander by dropping the thing on the floor[1], their superiors came up with the novel solution of taking away all the ammo and locking it up securely.

When the Serbs turned up, they were all effectively unarmed and the senior officer with the keys to the ammo store was away. Once they ran out of options in bullshitting, the only option left was to leave.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of that, but as I got it firsthand and we hadn't really got stuck into the evening's drinking at the time, I suspect it to be true.

[1] Possibly the Uzi's only fault. Hair trigger and a safety catch that's not entirely reliable.

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Bit of a give away for the Sigint lot

If you pick up transmissions in Europe in those bands then its a Dutch unit,

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Re: Bit of a give away for the Sigint lot

If its the Dutch they're using encryption per a NATO Standards Agreement which is precisely as far as ill go with that though I'll give you a caveat, just because there's a standard, it doesn't mean everyone uses it. Take the STANAG about the 7.62 round for instance until it changed.

Simply intercepting a reflection is not going to do much for you without a few Cray supers, a bunch of cryptographers, and a lot of money. About the only useful thing you could do with it without a few hundred million dollars would be to use it for Direction Finding.

And who the hell would want to do RDF against the Dutch anyway?

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Re: Bit of a give away for the Sigint lot

Or a South African trying to roam with a cell modem dongle. Currently 900Mhz supplies a very useable internet access down south, much better range and building penetration than other bands. So another market that won't be suitable for unregulated 900MHz kit.

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Happy

I thought there was only one *true* STANAG

Black coffee with 2 sugars.

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WTF?

So if they go over the border on a mission, they can be jammed with a keyfob? That's up there with the Met comms kit not working on the Tube.

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You can't blame the Met for that. The Tube's underground. That is rather the point...

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There ain't much radio kit that works through hundreds of metres of solid rock.

This is why there's still no Tube wifi, for example - you need to physically run a cable through every tunnel and put radios every few hundred metres, because the signal does not propagate. That's why Virgin's "free wifi" for the Olympics was about 100 WAP's stuck into stations that didn't cover more than a few metres into the tunnel.

It's also why you phone won't pick up (unless there's a base station in the Tube station somewhere), why police radios won't pick up, and why all the signalling on the Tube is done with cables.

Ya cannae beat the laws of physics, Jim.

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Facepalm

" The Tube's underground. That is rather the point..."

Which apparently came as a complete surprise to the Met. So yes, you can blame them. They could have arrange with London Underground to have femtocells (since Tetra is a cellphone like system) installed in stations before the kit was rolled out.

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WTF?

"and why all the signalling on the Tube is done with cables."

I'm not sure I'd want a signalling system run by radio especially on an electric railway with plenty of high voltage sparking going on!

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boltar,

What are you on about? It's a big fucking underground network. You can't just bung a few base stations in. There's corners in the tunnels. You'd need thousands of them, and one cell wouldn't even cover one station. To get radio coverage of Oxford Circus might take 20-30 base stations alone!

Plus they'd need power, anti-vandal casings, maintenance, testing, wired backhaul (at least for some)...

This isn't just like installing your home WiFi network. This is a huge, expensive project, with large ongoing costs.

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Anonymous Coward

No need for lots of base stations - leaky coax

Providing RF comms underground doesn't have to have lots of base stations. Google "leaky coax".

You run a length of coaxial cable down the line. At intervals on the coax the shield is removed, allowing signals in and out. Voila - service all along the length of the cable.

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Thumb Up

Re: No need for lots of base stations - leaky coax

Spot on David!

I worked underground during the construction of the channel tunnel, and can confirm that they used a "leaky feed."

30+ reception everywhere. DSC too.

Best money I ever earned.

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two words

"leaky coax" aka "radiax" (other trade names apply)

It's been used to provide comms signals in tunnels for decades. I could never understand why the tube doesn't use it.

http://www.commscope.com/andrew/eng/product/trans_line_sys/coaxial/radiating/1206639_13611.html

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WTF?

"What are you on about? It's a big fucking underground network. You can't just bung a few base stations in. There's corners in the tunnels. You'd need thousands of them, and one cell wouldn't even cover one station. To get radio coverage of Oxford Circus might take 20-30 base stations alone!"

Well its been done now, so it obviously isn't as impossible as you seem to believe.

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boltar,

It's not impossible. Almost anything is possible, with sufficient applications of time and cash.

The question is, whether something's worth doing given what else you could spend the time/money on? Or is it worth delaying a project while you do everything, or better to do it in stages, and add functionality later.

I'm sure the Met were aware that radios don't work in the Tube when they bought them. Whether they planned to later fit them is another matter, or as there's been a massive upgrade program on the signalling in the last 5 years, it may be they decided to do the work then, or LU were building their own network.

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WTF?

"The question is, whether something's worth doing given what else you could spend the time/money on? Or is it worth delaying a project while you do everything, or better to do it in stages, and add functionality later."

Is an emergency radio system that works in the tube worth doing given the problems highlighted on 7/7? Umm , yes, I'd say so. Certainly a far better use of public money that the idiotic video screens LU is putting everywhere which must cost a fortune for each one. Tottenham Court road must have about 30 of the damn things.

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If the bands have value, add a fee to their use/allocation and buy out the Dutch equipment with less conflicting kit. Does each NATO member use different comm gear? How does that make defense better?

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"Does each NATO member use different comm gear? How does that make defense better?"

Makes it easier to avoid friendly fire, unless your American.

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Headmaster

Unless my American did what?

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Unhappy

Makes it easier to avoid friendly fire, unless your American - WTF?

Hey Mattjimf far as I recall it's the Americans who supply the 'friendly fire' (it actually isn't friendly at all when your on the receiving end). I can't recall any incidents when other NATO forces fired on the Yanks but plenty when the Yanks have shot at us. It's a bitch when your own government (UK) is too incompetent to supply adequate capability of air support and you have to play Russian Roulette by asking the Yanks to send an Apache!

As to the French navy, yep they have one and we (UK) hope to be able to cadge some carrier space if we need it from them. It would be humiliating but then we currently don't have any aircraft capable of it so don't have to go cap in hand. Also the French can launch their nukes when they want unlike the UK who have to ask permission from the USA a former colony FFS!

So depressing, feel like asking for some US air support now.

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Boffin

GSM/UMTS spectrum?

Is this not part of the radio spectrum that is being used by GSM and UMTS in most of Europe? Or is this the spectrum between that is not currently being used.

According to this table here. This part of the spectrum is called "Tetra-GSM" and is being used by Tetra hardware in some locations. I guess that is what Dutch army is using.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GSM_frequency_ranges

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Anonymous Coward

What's where...

( TV Band and 800MHz 4G .... up to 862)

(862-870 Low Power Short Range devices, "ch 70")

--- 870-915 : the mobile range, paired with 915-960 base range (45MHz separation) -----

915-921 : spare 6MHz being talked about here, paired with 870-876

921-925 : railways GSM-R

925-960 : GSM

(960..... navigation, aero DME, radar etc.... up to the 1300 Amateur band)

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Dig
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If Ofcom defined the usage within this band to be broadly compatible with the american 902-928 taking into account the narrower band then economies of scale would be better. The front end antenna amplifiers and matching would be the same with maybe a filter change for differing adjacent band requirements. The loss of the Dutch region would then be inconsequential.

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A long sordid history

The high 800/900 MHz ranges were originally split by NATO so that the US military could bring their radios and not step on the local Army's radios but with the small problem of stepping all over the local civilian frequencies. There had been a US amateur band centered at 915 that is often copied around the world with different widths but that was declared an ITU ISM band between about 902 and 928 (or 932) with some countries making it slightly wider or narrower. The problem is that most 900 MHz gear made for the US tends to want to use everything from about 900 to about 928 which makes for unhappy GSM carriers in places like Australia where the band below 915 was sold for mobile phone use.

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Anonymous Coward

The Nederlands Army are actually quite effective

when I was working at ◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙ they performed a commando raid by ◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙ and ◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙ and within 10 minutes they were inside! It was impressive and worrying for operators of ◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙ everywhere!

by the way, they didn't use radio - they phoned first before attacking.

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