No White Space Tests at NFL Game

Despite a suggestion from wireless device maker Shure, the FCC will not conduct spectrum-sensing tests at the Patriots-Ravens game in Baltimore Monday night—nor at any other NFL game this season.

Shure had proposed real-world tests in a dense RF environment to check out the spectrum-sensing powers of prototype devices by companies such as Motorola, Philips and Microsoft that want to develop devices that would operate in the unused white spaces on the DTV spectrum. Broadcasters, cable operators and RF users have warned of interference from such devices.

Shure said an NFL game—the company suggested the game Monday, Dec. 3, and another the following Sunday—would be a good time to test, and both the NFL and the FCC recognized the need for real-world tests, but the logistics couldn’t come together in time, said Mark Brunner of Shure.

“Unfortunately, the window on the football season is closing on us,” he said.

The FCC is still conducting its own tests and has plans for both lab and field analyses, a spokesman said.

A test at an NFL game would have several benefits, said Brunner. First, it would be observable to all parties. The game involves RF products from numerous vendors and “meticulous” frequency coordination, Brunner said.