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Rice Tests Wireless Data Delivery Over Active Tv Channels

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The interior of a broadcast tower.

Rice University engineers have demonstrated the first system that allows WiFi data transmissions over UHF channels during active TV broadcasts.

Credit: Rice University

Rice University researchers have developed Wi-Fi in Active TV Channels (WATCH), which they say is the first system that enables wireless data transmission over UHF channels during active TV broadcasts.

The researchers note if the technology can be incorporated into next-generation TVs or smart remotes, it could significantly expand the reach of "super Wi-Fi" networks in urban areas.

WATCH requires no coordination with or changes to legacy TV transmitters. As normal TV signals are broadcast, the WATCH system actively monitors whenever a nearby TV is tuned to a channel to avoid interfering with reception.

One aspect of WATCH uses signal-canceling techniques to insert wireless data transmissions into the same channel, which eliminates TV broadcasts from interfering with the super Wi-Fi data signals being sent to computer users, according to Rice professor Edward Knightly. WATCH also ensures data transmissions do not interfere with TV reception.

"Our tests showed that WATCH could provide at least six times more wireless data compared with situations where we were limited only to the traditionally available white-space spectrum," Knightly says.

He notes technology such as WATCH will become increasingly important as the demand for wireless data services grows and the number of broadcast TV viewers decreases.

From Rice University
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