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back to article Globalstar: Don't be afraid of our private Wi-Fi superhighway plan

Globalstar's plan to refarm its satellite spectrum into a privately held Wi-Fi channel has come under fire from the Wi-Fi Alliance and Bluetooth SIG, which reckon it will edge out the unlicensed users. Globalstar maintains that the Wi-Fi Alliance has misunderstood its FCC request, which asks the regulator to let it run a private …

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Bronze badge

Can't really see how Globalstar will be able to keep control

If I've read Globalstar's petition to the FCC correctly I can't see how Globalstar will realistically be able to retain control it's privately held channel. From the submission it says that this channel would fully comply with the IEEE 802.11 2.4 GHz channel specifications and goes on to confirm this by saying they have successfully conducted trials of off-the-shelf WiFi products running the 802.11 transceiver in OFDM mode (802.11g/n).

So effectively Gobalstar will be enabling their customers to legally use the international channel allocations already in use outside of the USA, within the USA, namely:

- For (legacy) 802.11b (DSSS) networks the use of Channels 1, 6, 11 & 14

- For 802.11g/n (OFDM) networks the use of channels 1, 5, 9 & 13

- For 802.11n (OFDM) networks with 40 MHz wide channels the use of channels 3 & 11

I suspect that Globalstar will derive significant business by simply licensing OEM's to include support for Channel 14 and the associated radio spectrum in the USA regional settings for their products rather than trying to limit licenses to specific customer installations. This approach would enable them to gain revenue from all client and infrastructure devices sold for use in the USA (just like a patent licensing fee), which is a much bigger and easier to police market than trying to license specific customers. I suspect it is this angle that is making people uneasy. The other arguments around interference are meaningless given the way the standard operates in the rest of the world.

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Bronze badge

FCC to take back spectrum?

Following on from my observation that effectively Globalstar will be selling access to radio spectrum that they have basically said they don't now actually need for the purpose it was originally allocated to them. the question is really whether the FCC lets Globalstar retain 'ownership' or they take it back to be re-allocated for other uses such as 802.11. Certainly if I were in the WiFi Alliance or IEEE, that is what I would be lobbying for.

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schools

Its almost like as soon as someone suggests benefits to schools etc......that there is something really really bad in their proposal.

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Big Brother

Damned Yankee Hegemony

Pretty much ANY router I buy in Hong Kong has been artificially limited for channels 1 to 11 *&* my IBM T60p's will not even find any channel above 11 - except for 5Ghz band where I use Channel 44 on them.

This restriction on channels above 11 on 2.4Ghz band is a pain in the arse.

I can't buy a decent router in HK and ship it to {say} Japan where THEY have up to Channel 14 to play around in.

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Thumb Down

If in doubt, threaten the kids

Back in 2000, the Bluetooth SIG put a lot of effort into lobbying regulators to harmonise the 2.4GHz band around the world. That’s benefited the industry as a whole, as it means that wireless designers can design one global product. They never succeeded in a complete harmonisation, and the biggest gap is because of the Band 14 restrictions within the US, which means that Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ANT and ZigBee products have a little less spectrum to occupy than they do elsewhere in the world.

Globalstar’s attempt to carve out alternative uses for the satellite band seem rather disingenuous. There’s a good argument for the FCC to ask whether the top end of the band actually needs to be protected, but consider following the rest of the world and make it unlicensed. In this light Globalstar are playing the pre-emptive marketing card of protesting that if their request is not granted they will take away internet access from our children, kill our kittens and put horse meat in our burgers. I’d side with the argument for increasing the unlicensed spectrum.

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