Prototype White Space Devices Fail Test During NFL Field Trial Conducted by FCC

By Ken Kerschbaumer

Last night’s FCC test of prototype “White Space” devices in a real-world NFL environment proved conclusively that the devices would not accurately sense wireless microphone transmissions and, if deployed, would cause havoc within the NFL, venue operations, and related broadcast operations.

The tests were conducted prior to and during an NFL pre-season game between the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills. “The FCC’s tests of prototype white space devices at FedEx field prior to Saturday’s game between the Redskins and the Bills conclusively show that spectrum sensing white space devices will cause harmful interference to wireless microphones during live events,” said Mark Brunner, Shure senior director, public and industry relations. “Simply stated, the prototype devices were unable to consistently identify operating wireless microphones or distinguish occupied from unoccupied TV channels.”

The devices also failed to detect the presence of wireless microphones when switched on an occurrence that takes place multiple times during any NFL game.

“Given the poor performance of these sensing devices, there is no reason to believe that the other proposed protections, such as beacons, will be any more capable of providing reliable and robust interference protection to wireless microphone transmissions,” says Brunner. “These tests reveal fundamental deficiencies of sensing devices — issues that cannot be pushed off with a promise to resolve these problems at some later time during certification testing.”

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