FCC to Kill Off LightSquared's 4G Dream Discussion

Discussion in 'Headline News' started by Ryan Punzalan, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. Ryan Punzalan

    Ryan Punzalan Brighthand Contributor

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    LightSquared, the company that hoped to develop a wholesale 4G LTE wireless broadband communications network with satellite coverage across the United States, will be suspended indefinitely by the Federal Communication Commission.

    Read the full content of this Article: FCC to Kill Off LightSquared's 4G Dream

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2014
  2. Girt

    Girt Gadgeteer

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    That's a real pity. It would've been a game changer for the good - for the consumer. Hope the 'problems' are legit.

    I still have vague and probably unfounded hopes in Verizon's use of the TV bands (was that 750?). I thought that was supposed to be available to any carrier.
     
  3. Varjak

    Varjak Mobile Deity

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    I posted this in another thread about this topic; but from what I read, the real malefactor in this issue seems to be the designers of the GPS units, which receive a wider signal range than they should. To make a crude analogy, it's as if someone made a radio that picked up cellphone frequencies or cordless phone frequencies (something that actually happened in the early days of cordless phones, so you could hear your neighbors sitting beside their pool); and then blaming the cordless phone manufacturers who were assigned that frequency.

    Again, from what I read, there was adequate 'white space' allotted to 'surround' the Lightsquared network frequencies.
     
  4. SGosnell

    SGosnell Palm Pilot

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    The problems are absolutely legit. The US Air Force designed the GPS system, and operates it. Manufacturers produce units that operate in the frequency band assigned to GPS. Lightspeed knew full well what the GPS band used, and thought they could buy enough politicians to ram their system through. Turned out it didn't work. It's up to Lightspeed to design a system that works without impinging on bands they aren't authorized to use. The entire aviation industry would be hurt by GPS being degraded, as would the military. It was designed for military use in the first place, and civil aviation got on the bandwagon later, and now it's too late for any civilian company to try to get it changed. I have no sympathy at all for Lightspeed. Just another vulture capitalist trying to get richer, at the expense of the public.
     
  5. Varjak

    Varjak Mobile Deity

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    That's not the info I've read. LS stayed within the frequencies it was assigned. Apparently, air force or not, the problem seems to be a result of GPS devices receiving signals they shouldn't.
     
  6. SGosnell

    SGosnell Palm Pilot

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    There is a huge difference between using frequencies on the ground, and transmitting them with high power from satellites. Lightspeed is going to have to go back to the drawing board. Killing or crippling the GPS system isn't going to be allowed. There is a very long thread on this subject elsewhere on Brighthand, which started some time back, where the problems were discussed. Lightspeed's implementation affects frequencies well outside its assigned band, and requiring new GPS devices to avoid interference is simply too arrogant to be allowed. Ain't gonna happen, no matter how much their lobbyists have paid politicians.
     
  7. Varjak

    Varjak Mobile Deity

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    With adequate 'white space,' and proper 'tuning,' there's no reason why the GPS devices should be overwhelmed. They're not cheap AM radios.
     
  8. SGosnell

    SGosnell Palm Pilot

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    True. There should be no reason there should be interference, if Lightspeed's system worked properly. It doesn't. It would require the replacement of every GPS receiver now in existence. An outcry against Lightspeed's system started as soon as the details were announced, and has continued. Every test showed that it interfered with GPS reception. Lightspeed just assumed that since the owner is extremely wealthy, the government would just roll over for it. That seems to be the usual way things work, but the stakes were just too high in this case.
     
  9. Varjak

    Varjak Mobile Deity

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    Again, it seems like the GPS units are the things that don't work right. The Times is hardly a supporter of Falcone's (after all, he's a capitalist). Until I read a disinterested account that explains why LS is wrong (which I haven't), I'm going to go with reasonably respected sources.

    How can LS not 'work right?' It transmits. The problem seems to come with interference on GPS units. So the two basic ways that can occur is if LS is transmitting beyond its allotted spectrum (which sources say is not the case); or GPS units receive signals they should not.
     
  10. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta Above: Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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    It isn't quite that straight-forward, though. A strong enough signal (such as from LS) can induce reception in devices that don't normally function as receivers; a personal example is a local FM station being received through my PC's speakers, even with the PC turned off. Given that GPS units *are* designed to receive in the first place, it's easily conceivable that a signal as strong as transmitted by LS will cause interference.
     
  11. rkevwill

    rkevwill Mobile Deity

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    Doesn't matter whether or not LS is right, or the GPS folks are right IMHO. If the LS plan would interfere with all or most of the current GPS units out there, it doesn't make sense. I don't want to put my GPS go-to Austin, and end up in Juarez. Nor do I want some bunker busting bomb, guided by GPS taking out my neighborhood Starbucks when its supposed to be taking out some Nuclear reactor in Iran. And whats worse......I don't want to buy a new GPS just so Falcone can make an extra billion this week.
     
  12. SGosnell

    SGosnell Palm Pilot

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    It's the high power coming from LS's satellites. GPS signals are weak, and the receivers are necessarily very sensitive. When LS beams high-power signals, it also beams harmonics, which are strong enough to be received by GPS receivers, which are only doing what they are designed to do. When the GPS system was invented, there was no way to predict that someone else would be transmitting harmonics stronger than the GPS signals, and the GPS satellites were built to be as powerful as feasible, way back then. Clearly, the LS system does interfere with the existing GPS system, and re-engineering that is simply too expensive to be considered now. And just as clearly, the public interest, not just of the US but the entire world, is more important than one corporation's profits. Corporations should not be guaranteed profits, they have to earn them.
     
  13. Varjak

    Varjak Mobile Deity

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    Stan, you may well be right; but why then have none of the articles I've read mentioned that? And I'm not so sure I buy your 'harmonics' theory. There have been satellite based communications systems (like Iridium) for a long time.

    I have no dog in this fight. I don't much like Falcone and Harbinger; nor do I much use a GPS. But I would actually like to know the truth; and I think neither you nor I really know it.
     
  14. accord1999

    accord1999 Newbie

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    To clarify, the issue with LightSquared and GPS is not from the signal from its satellite, but from its ground based transmitters. These transmitters were specified at ~1585W EIRP and would have produced a signal on the ground roughly several billions time stronger than the GPS signal on the ground.

    In the original LightSquared network configuration, which would have used 2X10 MHz bands with the upper band only 4 MHz away from the bottom of the GPS L1 band and tested in the first half of 2011, the interference issues were overloading and intermodulation and were so bad as to be essentially un-filterable by current technology.

    LightSquared proposed a second configuration using the bottom 10 MHz band initially before turning on the upper 10 MHz band sometime in the future. This was tested in November 2011 and resulted in harmful interference to 75% of consumer GPS devices due to overload interference. After the failure of this second test, the FCC essentially had no choice but to remove the terrestrial waiver from LightSquared.

    A further issue is that LightSquared currently broadcasts data for GPS corrections services in its spectrum, which some high precision GPS receivers listen for. As this is at the same spectrum that will be used for LTE, these receivers are especially affected.

    For more information, you can do a google search for "pnt gov lightsquared" which will bring you to the government website covering the issue. You can find both test reports, as well as other documents describing the issue in detail.

    Looking at the history and reasons for the location of GPS, Lightsquared's licensed spectrum is part of the white space. This spectrum was licensed for satellite to earth use with an ancillary terrestrial component allowing some ground transmitters in areas of poor satellite reception. LightSquared was attempting to re-purpose it to build a stand-alone terrestrial network independent of satellites.
     
  15. Hook

    Hook Hookette's edgy lately

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    Welcome to Brighthand, Accod1999. :)

    Here is the link to the website you referred to.

    LightSquared and GPS
     
  16. Varjak

    Varjak Mobile Deity

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    Great post accord. Thanks. Lots of good info in there. If LS is encroaching on the white space and overpowering the network with their GROUND transmitters, they should be stopped. None of that came out in anything I read.
     
  17. accord1999

    accord1999 Newbie

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    Thanks for the welcome! Normally I'm a lurker but I have a great interest in GPS so I've been following the LightSquared matter for over a year now. I though I'd contribute to this thread to clarify certain details and provide more background.
     
  18. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    Well, I, for one will be glad to have the matter settled. While my professional uses of GPS aren't so critical as the safety of airway traffic, the use of corrected GPS for precise location (centimeter or less) is very important and we are small potatoes numerically. Lightsquared's political campaigns would have steamrollered over us. Thankfully, the big guns (military and the aviation industry) faced them down.

    Politicians have a disturbing tendency to influence law and policy to favor those who give them the most "consideration.". As evidence, I can find no more telling example than our current economic mess.
     
  19. SGosnell

    SGosnell Palm Pilot

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    Yeah, in the good ole US of A, it's perfectly legal to bribe politicians, as long as you say it's a 'campaign contribution'. Until that's changed, we're screwed, and the people who can change that have a vested interest in the status quo, if not expansion. And then the Supremes, in their (less than) infinite wisdom, decided that allowing unlimited contributions from corporations and the very wealthy would introduce no corruption at all into the process. As Mitt Romney put it so eloquently, "Corporations are people too, my friend". I have the same right as Exxon-Mobil, the Koch Brothers, or anyone else to pay politicians millions of dollars to do what I want done. I just don't have the millions, or even thousands, of dollars. I'm pessimistic about the future in the short term, but more optimistic long-term. I think eventually people will open their eyes and the pendulum will swing back. If not, I despair for democracy, and for the fate of the country.
     
  20. JRakes

    JRakes NOT your Average Joe

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    You're much more optimistic than I am, Stan. We're f#cked... Have been for a while, but now more-so than ever.
     
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