UCLA Extension

Wireless TV “White Spaces” Communication Design

A 3-Day Short Course

This course provides participants with a solid and intuitive understanding of the unused portion of the UHF spectrum called “white space,” which is now catching the attention of regulators as they seek capacity for more ubiquitous and affordable broadband wireless access. The existing wireless technologies have advanced rapidly in the last decades to the point where technical capabilities to harness white spaces now exist. The challenging task is to define a regulatory framework that would allow the new applications to co-exist in the UHF band with the broadcast television and support services. The spectrum regulators have started the initial consultation to lay down the foundation of unlicensed use of white space spectrum in the U.S. (FCC), Europe (CEPT), and the U.K. (Ofcom). The concept of using unlicensed technology to exploit what is perceived to be underutilized licensed spectrum has broad commercial acceptance, but this clearly presents technical challenges to ensure the unlicensed white space user does not interfere with—or block—licensed spectrum services.

Complete Details

The course covers both opportunities and challenges for broadcasters/service providers as they seek to retain audiences and renew business models. To ensure that interference is voided between co-existing technologies, restrictions are placed on the effective radiated power of collocated devices. These restrictions are based on the understanding of radio propagation characteristics, MIMO, antenna type, and polarization, including allowance for weather, terrain variation, etc. The course gives a brief account of radio propagation and channel modeling in white space in addition to covering the principles of prior planning and coordination between operator and regulator.

The course presents the core theory of using existing wireless standards (802.16, 802.11, LTE) for white space use as well as providing comprehensive laboratory sessions demonstrating the use of existing WiFi technology for low-cost, customized operation in UHF spectrum using off-the-shelf radios. The technicalities and opportunities of cognitive white space networking and IEEE 802.22 standard for new business opportunities also are covered, such as smart grid and high-speed broadband network for rural areas.

Instruction should help participants understand the regulatory and technical challenges for white space use, and provide a brief overview of existing technologies (i.e., platforms/hardware/software) for rapid deployment using off-the-shelf hardware. Participants also should obtain the knowledge, tools, and materials necessary to use white space spectrum for new research and business models.

The course addresses:

  • Analysis of the potential of white space spectrum after digital dividend
  • Design rules, architecture, and algorithm of dynamic spectrum access in DTV white space
  • Compatibility challenges for broadcast networks and white space devices
  • Radio propagation/MIMO/channel modelling in white space and use of radio frequency planning tools (Radio Mobile)
  • Cognitive networking challenges, such as spectrum sensing and geo-location
  • Comprehensive case study of white space applications, such as rural broadband, smart grid, etc.
  • In-home networks and improved WiFi protocol for long-range application, which is supported by a brief laboratory session on the use of low-cost off-the-shelf radios for white space operation

The course is presented in the following format:

  • Approximately 70% lectures
  • Approximately 30% hands-on design/simulation/demonstration

The course is ideal for engineers, managers, and researchers who are interested in understanding white space networking and cognition in global perspective. It is designed to correlate the technicalities, limitation, and design challenges with radio regulation and spectrum management. From a sound grounding on radio regulation and spectrum management for white space, participants leave with the knowledge required to understand the complexity of radio regulation and principle of white space networking.

Course Materials

A comprehensive two-volume set of notes (more than 500 pages) is distributed to the participants on the first day of the course. These notes include:

  • White space networking class notes
  • Radio propagation, channel modelling, MIMO class notes
  • Digital communication class notes and tutorial notes
  • DSPe-software workbook

These course materials are for participants only, and are not for sale.

Computer Laboratory Sessions

Participant use multimedia PCs in a UCLA Extension computer laboratory, with white space class notes, design examples, and professional software for design and simulation. The examples can be run after the course using the various facilities provided on the DVD.

For hardware session radios, drivers and an embedded white space communications platform are demonstrated using standard communications spectral analysis and instrumentation.

Coordinator and Lecturer

Robert W. Stewart, PhD, Faculty Member, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom. Prior to his current position, Dr. Stewart was a visiting professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Minnesota in 1990, and a visiting scholar at the University of Southern California in 1986-1987. At Strathclyde University he currently manages a group of researchers working on projects that include equalization and synchronization, wireless/mobile DSP physical layers, adaptive beamforming, oversampling strategies for sigma delta ASICs, and high-speed DSP on FPGAs. Dr. Stewart has consulted extensively on DSP to many large and small companies, and in 2004 took the position of Chief Technical Officer at Steepest Ascent Ltd. Over the last 20 years, he has published more than 160 technical papers and presented many industry DSP seminars and courses in the U.S., Europe, and China. He also is a recipient of a 2010 UCLA Extension Distinguished Instructor Award.

Daily Schedule

Day 1

  • White space review and potential
  • Radio spectrum management (regional/global prospective)
  • Digital dividend (possible opportunities)
  • White space regulatory framework
  • FCC, CEPT, and Ofcom current positions

Potential Existing/New Entrants (License-Exempt Operations)

  • Existing services (in global UHF spectrum)
  • Program-making special events (professional wireless microphones in U.S./Europe)
  • Cable television and home media consumer platforms (5-862MHz)
  • Mobile cellular (Adjacent 791-862MHz)
  • White space devices (in global UHF spectrum)
  • DVB standard (review on current and future trends)

Spectrum/Radio Resource Management for Cognitive Radio Systems

  • Cognitive radios (IEEE 802.22) review
  • Spectral co-existence
  • Co-existence techniques
  • Interference management
  • Signal detection
  • Spectrum sensing and geo-location

Day 2

Applications and Future Opportunities

  • Extending broadband connectivity
  • Application in U.S./Europe/Asia
  • Applications: smart grid, fire and emergency services
  • High-speed broadband connectivity
  • LTE downlink application

White Space Network Design

  • Case study (white space testbed for high-speed Internet access)
  • Rural broadband trials results
  • Network design/architecture/planning/optimization
  • Use of network planning and optimizing
  • The “Radio Mobile” Tool and GIS

Radio Propagation in UHF

  • Review of propagation fundamentals
  • Channel modeling and network coverage
  • Diversity techniques, such as MIMO, height, delay, etc.

Phy-Mac Layer Interface

  • TVWS PHY/MAC layer options
  • Cognitive radio network standard for personal/portable devices in TVWS

Computer Laboratory

  • Network coverage and modeling for UHF white space using Radio Mobile
    — Elevation maps are drawn of specified areas using downloaded SRTM data from the Space Shuttle Radar Terrain Mapping Mission, elevation contours and road maps are added, and radio units (stations) specified for performance and placed where required
    — Radio coverage maps are compared for varying propagation parameters, such as frequency, distance, antenna parameters, etc.
  • Feasibility of MIMO and antenna diversity techniques in UHF white space (Matlab)
    — MIMO opportunities in UHF spectrum
    — Antenna diversity in UHF spectrum

Day 3

Technology for UHF White Space

  • Review of the use of existing technology (WiFi/WiMAX)
  • Regulatory constraints (e.g., EIRP, Spectral Mask, ACPR)
  • Future trends and business ecosystems
  • Cognitive radio platform: review and trends

WiFi for UHF White Space

  • Protocol review
  • WiFi for long-range operation in UHF spectrum
  • Use of open standard (Linux, OpenWrt) for modified WiFi MAC

Computer Laboratory Demonstration

  • A demonstration of enabling (modified) WiFi radios for UHF operation
    — Configuring WiFi radios with customized drivers for UHF operation
    — The use of open source software (OpenWrt) for embedded platform housing WiFi radios
    — Radios are configured in a client/AP mode and participants are shown the effects of physical issues, such as channel bandwidth, transmit power variation, throughput calculation, etc.
  • Spectrum and adjacent channel power ratio (ACPR) measurement for TVWS using spectrum analyzer
    — Spectrum analysis (spectral mask) and received power measurements in TVWS
    — The ACPR measurements using spectrum analyzer (vital for TVWS co-existence)

For more information contact the Short Course Program Office:
shortcourses@uclaextension.edu | (310) 825-3344 | fax (310) 206-2815