Weightless M2M standard to boost white-space development

The Weightless Special Interest Group (SIG) says it has ratified version 1.0 of its standard for the use of M2M communications in TV white-space spectrum.

The standard has been in development for more than two years, backed by organizations including chip designer ARM (Cambridge, UK), Vodafone-owned communications group Cable & Wireless Worldwide (Bracknell, UK) and web giant Google (Mountain View, CA, USA).

The Weightless Special Interest Group (SIG) says it has ratified version 1.0 of its standard for the use of M2M communications in TV white-space spectrum.

The standard has been in development for more than two years, backed by organizations including chip designer ARM (Cambridge, UK), Vodafone-owned communications group Cable & Wireless Worldwide (Bracknell, UK) and web giant Google (Mountain View, CA, USA).

They claim the standard is a vast improvement over legacy technologies like Bluetooth, largely because of the cost savings that will result from the use of low-cost terminal hardware and license-free spectrum.

So-called white space is low-frequency spectrum freed up during the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, suited to providing long-range and in-building communications services.

“We are delighted to have reached this seminal moment for machine communications – a tipping point for the industry,” said Professor William Webb, the chief executive of the Weightless SIG. “This technology can uniquely enable the tens of billions of connections forecast over the next decade.”

The Weightless SIG says the technology will allow devices to communicate over a distance of 10km, a battery to last for as long as ten years and chipsets to be produced for as little as $2 per unit.

The Weightless SIG’s members have already begun developing products based on the standard, with Google using it in a white-space broadband trial in South Africa and Neul (Cambridge, UK), a radio specialist, using it in a smart-grid trial in the UK.

Ratification of the standard should aid development efforts in the future by helping to lower costs.