Microsoft WSD prototype shuts down

The prototype white space device (WSD) Microsoft submitted for ongoing second-round testing being conducted by the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology “unexpectedly shut down” March 26, the company said in a statement released Friday.

In the statement, Microsoft expressed confidence that the commission had a number of other avenues to pursue to bring its WSD testing to a successful conclusion. The results of the ongoing laboratory and field tests by the FCC will help to guide the commission as it considers rulemaking to allow unlicensed devices to operate in vacant portions of the TV band.

The company also will continue to work with other members of the White Space Coalition to provide information to the commission, the statement said.

Allowing unlicensed devices — particularly personal, portable devices — to operate in the TV band has been a highly charged issue. Opponents, such as the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV) and the NAB, have argued that without complete certainty that co-channel and adjacent-channel interference will not be introduced into the TV band, allowing WSDs would jeopardize the billions of dollars spent by consumers and TV stations to make the DTV transition successful. Additionally, WSDs threaten wireless mic operation.

Proponents of WSDs contend that adequate protection is possible and that the devices will support a variety of critical, new applications, including wireless hot spots and broadband access in remote areas.