What is White-Fi?

White Space Wi-Fi turns analog TV channels into Internet networks

Various satelite and radar dishes broadcasting Wi-Fi and other signals.

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White-Fi, also often referred to as Super Wi-Fi and White Space Wi-Fi, is a method for creating wireless networks within analog TV broadcast frequencies as opposed to the usual 2.4 GHz radio frequency which is used by regular Wi-Fi networks.

What Are the Benefits of Using White-Fi?

  • The main benefit of white space-based Wi-Fi is its ability to cover a much longer distance than traditional Wi-Fi. On average, a White-Fi signal can blanket a surrounding area of around seven miles which means that establishing a network can be much cheaper and would require less effort and equipment to develop.
  • The possible range of White-Fi makes the technology a practical solution for bringing internet connectivity to regions which lack an established telecommunications network.
  • White-Fi is resistant to signal-blocking. A building wall may block a regular Wi-Fi broadcast, but it would do very little to a White-Fi signal which isn't affected as much by physical obstacles.
  • White-Fi can reach speeds of around 400 to 800 Mbps which is much faster than Wi-Fi and 4G cellular networks. For comparison, an 802.11ac Wi-Fi network has an actual download speed of 200 Mbps while 4G networks allow for download speeds of around 30 Mbps.

What Are White-Fi's Disadvantages?

  • While faster than 4G networks, White-Fi is being outpaced by newer 5G technologies which can promise download speeds of at least 20 Gbps.
  • Because professional microphones also use white space for performances and presentations, there is the potential for a White-Fi internet signal to affect the functionality of such equipment.
  • You can't use a regular Wi-Fi modem and router to set up a White-Fi network. Instead, businesses and individuals wishing to set it up and use it need entirely new hardware.

Where Can I Buy White-Fi Hardware and Equipment?

A variety of companies have sprung up offering White-Fi services and hardware. Among some of the biggest specialist companies are Redline Communications, Metric Systems Corporation, Globtel AIR, Whizpace, and Carlson Wireless Technologies.

Which Channels Can be Used for White-Fi in the U.S.?

The U.S. TV spectrum lies between 54 MHz and 698 MHz and technically almost all of this can be used for White-Fi since the transition to digital TV broadcasting. The only exceptions are channels 3, 4, and 37 which are reserved for other uses.

The White Space Database Administration regulates white space usage within the U.S. and other countries. It aims to prevent multiple parties from using or misusing all of the available frequencies.

The UHF frequencies within the 470-698 MHz range are the preferred spectrum for white space projects due to their support for shorter antennae.

Should I Use White-Fi Technology?

Despite being around for a while, White-Fi is primarily used by large businesses and organizations for specialized projects and has very little relevance for the average member of the public.

Companies may incorporate White-Fi technology into future commercial products which can then be bought and used by consumers, but there's little reason to invest in white space tech beyond personal curiosity.