back to article Amazon asks for spectrum to try out IoT networking gear

Amazon has filed an application with the US Federal Communications Commission to conduct what looks like Internet of Things wireless networking tech trials. Described in Jeff Bezos’ boys and girls’ application to the FCC (PDF, 4 pages), Amazon wants to carry out testing of a “temporary radio base station” at its HQ in Seattle …

  1. RogerT

    What on earth does "5 minutes per hour per day per week" mean exactly?

    1. Phil W

      It appears to have the same structural meaning as "24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year", the second and third statements serve no actual purpose.

      The only alternative I can think of is that they mean "5 minutes of each hour every day of the week, or an equivalent thereof" so that they could do 24 separate 5 minute broadcasts every day for seven days, or one continuous broadcast of 840 minutes in a seven day period, or any combination in between to add up to 840 minutes in seven day period.

    2. The Mole

      Saying average of 5 minutes per hour could mean that for the first 3300 hours the transmitters are off and for the last 300 they are constantly transmitting. Specifying it per hour per day per week is an attempt to more accurately describe the distribution and imply it is more evenly spread - so that on average they shouldn't be transmitting more than a total of 5 minutes in any one hour (though if they are all off over night they probably could get closer to 10 minutes per working hour?).

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      "5 minutes per hour per day per week" is 300 seconds an hour so it could be continuous bursts of packets just a few milliseconds long 24/7.

    4. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: What on earth does "5 minutes per hour per day per week" mean exactly?

      Many people still think of radio transmission in terms of old school broadcasting where a transmitting station sends a continuous signal at a known frequency for all the time its sending. Digital transmission doesn't work like this -- data goes in packets -- but the old fashioned concept of 'radio' is so entrenched that Amazon obviously found it easier to express what it was doing in those terms rather than explain in detail what they're trying to do.

      There's a very common precedent for this. Mobile phones have phone numbers which are totally bogus, they only exist to make them compatible with legacy phones and the people who are used to using them. In reality the phone -- or rather its SIM -- is identified by a much larger unique number, something that's not easy to say (let alone remember). (Same with websites -- I bet nobody here is reading this page on 159.100.139.165....)

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: What on earth does "5 minutes per hour per day per week" mean exactly?

        Many people still think of radio transmission in terms of old school broadcasting where a transmitting station sends a continuous signal at a known frequency for all the time its sending. Digital transmission doesn't work like this -- data goes in packets

        My thoughts were along these lines and hence my first question is what the data volume this represents: 5 minutes at 100Mbps is a lot more data than 5 minutes at 1Mbps. Thus what is the data cap Amazon have self-selected and then converted into transmission time to facilitate communications with old school RF types.

        1. Anonymous Blowhard

          Re: What on earth does "5 minutes per hour per day per week" mean exactly?

          "Many people still think of radio transmission in terms of old school broadcasting where a transmitting station sends a continuous signal at a known frequency for all the time its sending. Digital transmission doesn't work like this -- data goes in packets"

          " Amazon have self-selected and then converted into transmission time to facilitate communications with old school RF types."

          Sorry, but radio is radio; "digital radio" is just another way of modulating the analog carrier wave to encode the information. The bottom line is that "digital radio" can interfere with other radio systems, although this can be mitigated by being able to use lower transmission power and using "burst" transmissions (only transmitting data for very short periods of time). Saying "it's digital" doesn't really say anything about the expected impact on other spectrum users (e.g. Digital TV is pretty much a continuous transmission at relatively high power).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What on earth does "5 minutes per hour per day per week" mean exactly?

        > I bet nobody here is reading this page on 159.100.139.165

        And I bet you're glad you didn't have to base that on an IPv6 address :)

        Anyway, Duty Cycle may be the right term for this?

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    It means 5 minutes per hour per day per week per month per year per decade per century per millennium per myriaannum per decamyriaannum per megennium per decamegennium per centamegennium per gigennium.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm?

    Does Alexa need something more than WiFi access?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm?

      Alexa needs the blood of your unborn to answer your question.

      Translated, Amazon are not going to stop invading every aspect of our lives. They are just going to do it a bit at a time. I added Amazon to my 'do not buy' list last year and deleted my account but still get at least half a dozen 'we think you would like' emails a day. Time to deactivate that email address perhaps?

  4. Mage Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Refuse them

    This a typical corporate land grab.

    They should use same rules as everyone else.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "What else do you Tx at 20mW somewhere between 868MHz and 900MHz?"

    Doesn't the 4G 800MHz band fall right in the middle of the "791-821" MHz "proposed Base/Download" band in that article?

    Mind you the article does say - "More or less all of the bands nominated by Amazon in the frequency plan are already owned by various US telcos so their plan doesn’t appear to be tied in to any one mobile operator’s network." so from my uneducated angle I'm starting to wonder if we're destined for a future of localised interference betwen IoT devices and mobile comms..

    Wouldn't suprise me when Ofcom refuses to ban powerline ethernet kit which spams the airwaves with no-so-localised wideband noise...

    1. Brian Miller Silver badge

      Re: "What else do you Tx at 20mW somewhere between 868MHz and 900MHz?"

      It also falls within the UHF TV frequencies, too. And honestly, I'm surprised that they are even asking the FCC. IIRC, 100mw power or less is supposed to be unlicensed in the US. I'm guessing that the FCC will say yes.

  6. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Should someone tell the FCC that the technical contact email address isn't working because if they do interupt existing transmissions, someone has to tell Amazon to stop.

  7. adam 40

    Looks like the good old GSM850 band to me....

    Nothing to see here, move along please.

  8. SVV Silver badge

    Obvious Joke

    Gee, they want to use a ZX Spectrum to test their latest technology?

  9. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Targeted drone delivery?

    "Intriguingly, the lead contact was named as Neil Woodward, who, as Business Insider noted, is a NASA astronaut-turned-gros fromage at Prime Air, Amazon’s drone delivery project."

    Could they be considering targeted drone delivery? The drone use GPS to get to the address then transmits a wakeup code to a small tx/rx device which then responds to say, "Hi, yes, that's for me, just drop it right here please" rather than the current optical target I believe they are using.

    Something the size of a tennis ball or hockey puck with a unique ID code might be better and more secure than a printed sheet or board laid out in the back yard.

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