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egorny

The FCC is about to make a decision that will affect the use of GPS all across the US, ours as well as others.

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Anyone want to bet a final decision on this waits til after the US Elections?

 

:lol:

 

Sounds like they don't have enough money to wait that long, let alone enough money to influence the outcome.

That is funny... however, I just meant that the decision will be made by a government that has a FRESH mandate to make such choices.

Allowing misuse of bandplan allocated frequencies has the potential for some real headaches for the current and future administrations. The major fault of the whole project is the band it is in and how it is being attempted to force feed that.

LS, according to many of the articles, claims to OWN the frequencies, when the truth is that they have a licence to use the frequencies that they were allocated (by auction?) for the purpose they were allocated for. THEY are the ones demanding that they be permitted non allowed terrestrial use. They asked for and received permission to perform testing to see what the effects would be, and have so far failed to meet the non-interference criteria specified... NONE. Their argument that GPS receivers are interfering with their project is nonsense. Aside from some really low power rf fields, receivers simply don't interfere with anything. The GPS satellites aren't going to wipe out them either, and really not the WAAS sats. All of the interference will be on their end. There is also not much hope that any retro fix for existing GPSrs will be possible at least the handheld ones.

I'm really waiting to see what their LTE handheld phones and devices look like. A filter large enough to allow their own devices to provide the required GPS links (I don't think the cell phone/GPS requirement is fulfilled by tower triangulation, especially on wide area nodes) will make for some bigger devices. Not to mention how much power it will take at 1.5xx ghz to reach the ones further away from the tower. They figure that will need up to the original 1000 watt to get to your device at the fringes (and inside).

I had some Icom 1.2 ghz handheld radios that used several watts and were capable of going out to a repeater 20 miles away, when hooked to an external antenna. Much bigger than a cell phone. Not a good comparison I guess, tech has come a ways since then.

They might be thinking of using a voting receiver system (more hardware) to feed the system from your device. That should already be on a different frequency of course, from what I've read more like 1.6 ghz. That might be what they are up to with Sprint.

As I said though, many people want to use their GPS function on their phones... and if they drown out those signals, they will get no relief from disgruntled customers... but then they want to be wholesalers, no providers... so Sprint will take that flack for them. I haven't looked for a while, but the 'whitespace' project was going ahead for most of the other providers, even Canada.

In fact that was one of the reasons (again purported in my lost URL) that nothing similar to this would be allowed up here. Most of the data stuff here is going to higher bands 2.5 ghz and up (from the IC site). The big demand here is for voice frequencies and most want to use the lower frequencies since radios already exist, similar in the US. Push is towards digital voice (which is in effect data transmission anyway). The early attempts at high tech radio systems have lots of problems, a few can't switch back to analog mode which render the whole thing useless if a node is lost and not bypassed. So agencies that scrapped their analog radios while upgrading have nothing to fall back on. Poorer communities did keep their old gear, but others can't afford either. Greed and desire to depend on high tech can backfire, especially when developed in a vacuum of user input. That isn't about GPS entirely, and can be researched by Google. Actually, many of those new high tech systems depend on the timing function provided by the LS project as currently planned, which is good, because the makers of those systems are not likely to side with LS... they also use the positioning data as well.

 

It is a shame that all the rhetoric and coniving is making a mess out of a fairly straight forward process. They simply didn't do their homework properly, and have tried to catch a missed train, now they will have to hitchhike with someone or simply limp along with what they have left. Right now they might come up with a wobbly bike with a soft tire.

 

Doug 7rxc

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From CNN today

 

Feature

 

Outlines the overall problem, but they seem to get a few things wrong... such as the big players have bought the rights to the TV channels (unused) themselves, and that since going digital, there is much more of the interchannel area to use.

 

Whether or not the Internet as we know it is doomed, depends on if the USERS can stand going back a few years. Take a look at images sent. People now send massive image files as the norm, whereas a good 640 x 480 much less than a megabyte in size will most of the time do the job well. As for sending movies (commercial quality) on the same network, that will take some planning, but perhaps the strict 'on demand' bit could be limited to certain start times to reduce some of the loading and then do a bulk transmission to many at once. Of course that won't help the 'last mile' part, but would help in the higher levels of distribution.

I notice that they mention LS in there, so anyone bet this is put up by someone's PR dept? It really doesn't matter, as long as the users don't understand the meaning of 'finite resource'. They show one of those mini cell sites that were on the news a while back.

Cell has the right idea, more smaller, low power cells for service, based on the user count. NOT LS super sites.

 

Doug 7rxc

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The current issue of Forbes defends LightSquared and Falcone's position in a detailed article by Daniel Fisher:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2011/12/21/falcones-lightsquared-faces-enemies-on-all-sides/

 

The basic pitch seems to be 'lone entrepreneur versus entrenched interests in both government and business' (Deere and Co. is an entrenched interest to Forbes' audience?). The closest I see to possible substance is this claim which seems to set precedence:

 

> for a decade the GPS industry has known its receivers would be overwhelmed by signals from ground-based cellular transmitters, which are literally billions of times as strong. Deere complained about the 2001 merger of two SkyTerra predecessors, but did nothing more. The FCC allowed “ancillary” ground-based transmitters in 2003 to help L-band carriers get better coverage, and in 2004 the GPS industry’s main lobbying group endorsed SkyTerra’s plan to build a combined satellite/terrestrial communications network.

 

But this precedent entirely omits the interference issue arising with the current proposals.

 

The article is informative although entirely from Falcone's perspective. It could be influential.

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It could be, but right now it seems time is the biggest problem LS has. Namely, they are running out of it.

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So some smart finance guru buys a piece of derelict real estate hoping to make a big profit by developing it but find out that his little neighbors don't accept the nuisance he creates ! Oh, big surprise, they are not so irrelevant and fight back ! Looks like the FCC did not do his jib either.

What should be said to him is:

OK, mister guru, bite the bullet, take your loss and move on, you can't win every time. Learn to consult first the engineers, the experts, they are in fact the real guys creating all what you use and cash on !

Or take your chance, piss off the GPS users community and face even heavier loss !

 

What happens again to companies when the finance gurus replace the inventors, scientists, engineers ?

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And let's not forget, there was a reason why that 'real estate' wasn't bid sky high by other carriers long before -- THEY knew that that spectrum was NOT allocated for a full blown terrestrial build-out. No wonder they screamed bloody murder when they realized the FCC was about to grant the most boneheaded spectrum waiver ever gifted to a company. Falcone has been very nearly able to ace out his competition with a bargain basement 'land grab' that should have been stopped in its tracks ages ago.

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While reading the current Could be the death of LS topic in the Geocaching Topics forum, I got to thinking about a different scenario.

 

Despite the quality of THEIR equipment in regards to filtering out strong signals on the same and nearby frequencies...

 

Have they considered the effect of their proposed terrestrial network upon their own currently licensed and approved Satellite Communications system? What if their ground network blocked any chance of receiving the satellite services they are providing NOW.

They service Canada and Mexico that I know of, and as far as I can tell, neither will allow the terrestrial build out (not sure about Mexico though). So, my thinking goes... IF they create a situation that blocks service in FCC regulated areas (the USA), would that make their FCC allocation for the satellite service redundant... thus nullifying the allocation, and giving it up to someone that would use it as intended? It seems clear that there would be no need for such an allocation in the low signal band when it was impossible to use by US citizens... and would they maintain it for the limited number of Canadian and Mexican customers only.

 

If they were shooting themselves in the foot by messing with GPS satellites, they set a dangerous (to them) path with regard to their US Licences as they stand. I'm sure the FCC would gladly offer up that allocation to the highest bidder for what it was intended. I wonder if the whole thing is just to sell off the satellite they have... but I bet the offers that way would be at a big loss. The whole deal still seems 'off' to me.

 

Doug 7rxc

Edited by 7rxc

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I have been in this business for a long time and worked with Lightsquared's predecessors on the concept of a combined satellite/terrestrial network. The frequencies then involved were not the same as they are now.

 

A satellite system is a very good proposal when combined with a terrestrial system.

Terrestrial base stations need to put out a much stronger signal because they are generally eclipsed from the mobile phone, unlike the satellite signal, which is line-of-sight. Furthermore, the satellite and terrestrial components don't interfere with each other even in the same frequency band, because you only use the satellite when you can't receive a terrestrial base station signal. But that only applies between cooperating systems. GPS is not a cooperating system, and was there first. It is not on exactly the same frequency, but is darn close. GPS needs interference free use of 1574.9 - 1576 MHz for the C/A code, and 1570 - 1580 for the precision code.

The precision code I believe is still unavailible to civil users but is used by the military and aircraft.

Lightquared wants to put a network of terrestrial base stations up that would transmit wideband LTE OFDM signals in the 1525-1559 MHz band. That is pretty darn close to GPS. Furthermore, aircraft would receive the base station's signals line-of-sight,

and therefore uneclipsed by the clutter that their power was raised to deal with. The aircraft would therefore receive an enormous interfering signal, and not just from one base station, but from every base station within a circle of about 250 miles radius. That's a lot of base stations.

 

GPS receivers have to have very high sensitivity and cannot tolerate the use of lossy front-end filters. They never had to, because only other weak satellite signals were originally in this band. Therefore they would be prone to interference from excessively strong nearby signals. Lightsquared's idea of retrofitting them with a filter is total rubbish. If you looked inside your Garmin or Trimble or even GPS equipped I-Phone, you would rightly ask "where the hell do you start to modify them to add an additional component? And who pays? It's a total non-starter and Lightsquared needs to give up making that stupid suggestion. A precedent from a previous, similar conflict suggests that what Lightsquared would have to offer would be to replace, at their cost, every GPS in existence (in North America at least) with one that was not suceptible to interference from their base stations.

 

There are two interfering problems they have to deal with: They have to stop GPS devices being interfered by the strong signals they would ope to transmit on their allocated frequencies of 1525-1559 MHz, and they have to refrain from transmitting substantially anything whatsoever in the GPS band of 1575.42 +/-5 MHz. I would say, 50 yards from their tower, the power at 1575.42 MHz needs to have dropped to -106dBm. If they are starting with 100 watts and an 18dB antenna gain, that's 174dB down. 70dB of this comes from the 50 yard separation, leaving a spec of -104dBC for transmitter out-of-band products. That will be tough and they will need a very clean transmitter and some filters to get there. That may be doable. The former problem may not be doable - that is retrospectively modifying all GPS receivers in North America.

 

That does not mean Lightsqared is dead in the water. They just need a different spectrum plan. They can use their downlink spectrum for satellite transmissions, and might be able to use it for very low power terrestrial indoor picocells for example.

Maybe in the 1 milliwatt range, like Bluetooth. You can't get a GPS signal indoors anyway, and who needs GPS if you are indoors - you know where you are then, I suppose!

 

So they have to move the frequency of their terrestrial macrocells somewhere else - away from GPS. They should look at going time-duplex using part of their uplink band. That has its own problems, but there is a Chinese version of LTE that uses time duplex.

 

Whatever, networks of huge towers are no longer current technology. They are what the satellite replaces. LTE range to cellphones in the 100MB/s datrate region is less than 1km anyway, so the name of the game is very dense infrastructire of micro-and picocells.

They need a system architect who can start with a blank sheet of paper to save their asses.

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Whether they are dead in the water or not, is sounds like they aren't going quietly:

 

LightQuared claims GPS industry rigged tests.

 

So now that it's been proven that they interfere with GPS signals, they claim the deck was stacked against them. Most of what I've heard about this company makes me wonder if Falcone is playing with a full deck.

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Whether they are dead in the water or not, is sounds like they aren't going quietly:

 

LightQuared claims GPS industry rigged tests.

 

So now that it's been proven that they interfere with GPS signals, they claim the deck was stacked against them. Most of what I've heard about this company makes me wonder if Falcone is playing with a full deck.

Maybe he has a full 52 jokers!

 

Doug 7rxc

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It's over and out for LS. You don't complain to politicians that they are doing the wrong thing and that they are the victim of the politicians mistakes. That just makes matters worse. Did you ever hear a politician admit that they were mistaken and then follow up with an apology?

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I have been in this business for a long time and worked with Lightsquared's predecessors on the concept of a combined satellite/terrestrial network. The frequencies then involved were not the same as they are now.

 

snip%<...

 

That does not mean Lightsqared is dead in the water. They just need a different spectrum plan. They can use their downlink spectrum for satellite transmissions, and might be able to use it for very low power terrestrial indoor picocells for example.

Maybe in the 1 milliwatt range, like Bluetooth. You can't get a GPS signal indoors anyway, and who needs GPS if you are indoors - you know where you are then, I suppose!

 

So they have to move the frequency of their terrestrial macrocells somewhere else - away from GPS. They should look at going time-duplex using part of their uplink band. That has its own problems, but there is a Chinese version of LTE that uses time duplex.

 

Whatever, networks of huge towers are no longer current technology. They are what the satellite replaces. LTE range to cellphones in the 100MB/s datrate region is less than 1km anyway, so the name of the game is very dense infrastructire of micro-and picocells.

They need a system architect who can start with a blank sheet of paper to save their asses.

 

Thanks for the information and details. When I first heard the name Lightsquared, I thought of those small cube micro cell site units, but found that wasn't it... I agree with the indoor market idea and stated so way back. Just like the indoor radio systems for pagers and HT radios. Also suggested that they really needed to partner up and use someone else's terrestrial frequencies for the connections (considering that they are wholesalers anyhow) and simply feed the system using their satellite component. I never could figure out why they needed to have so many strong sites, especially in a low signal segment of the spectrum. I asked in my last post about whether such strong stations would affect anyone in the US trying to use their existing sat service. Since data would be almost continuous 'noise' ( I appreciate that if it were TRUE FM it would be almost silent) but signal is signal. I'm no expert on that of course, but experience with high rate amateur packet indicates that would happen here, but I may misunderstand the tech involved... the sat service currently is supposed to be PTT digital voice etc. I believe. Any idea how much power would be required in the user device to reach out to these strong sites directly, I mentioned 5 watts on my 1.2 ghz HT to reach a wide coverage voice repeater 20 miles or more... and it wasn't great. Be interesting to see what becomes when the clock winds down on them. Maybe they will claim they asked for 30 days... ALL Feb 29's and that it will take 120 years to reach that point.

 

Doug 7rxc

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Well, if the regulators can't put a stop to this, maybe Icahn can kill the company for good.

 

 

More likely, he controls other companies that hold the required spectrum, and can see how to properly utilize the technology.

Something we've mostly been advocating from the begining. Just get it away from the Low power sat band... and keep the power levels under control even there.

 

That old rule of thumb 'just enough power to do the job'... applies well.

 

BTW got quite a laugh reading some of those 'comments' over there. Amazing how many 'don't get it'.

 

Doug 7rxc

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And then there's this Bill leaving Congress for signature. Forgetting the part about the drones for a minute, here's the GPS angle:

 

...snip...

The bill authorizes $63.4 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration over four years, including about $11 billion toward the air traffic system and its modernization. It accelerates the modernization program by setting a deadline of June 2015 for the FAA to develop new arrival procedures at the nation's 35 busiest airports so planes can land using the more-precise GPS navigation.

...

Eventually, FAA officials want the airline industry and other aircraft operators to install onboard satellite technology that updates the location of planes every second instead of radar's every six to 12 seconds. That would enable pilots to tell not only the location of their plane, but other planes equipped with the new technology as well — something they can't do now.

 

I wonder how this would work if LightSquared's proposal went forward?? :rolleyes:

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Nice quote from John D. Porcari, the Deputy Secretary for the US Department of Transportation:

"GPS by its very nature is a very weak space-based signal received by GPS receivers in the atmosphere or in terrestrial applications… The recent [neighboring] pieces of spectrum were for mobile satellite service, which was [a] quiet use. What has happened with this specific proposal is essentially, you went from a mobile satellite proposal with limited ground augmentation to a ground-based service with limited satellite augmentation, and that really changed the fundamental nature of signals and how they would be received. It's really important to point out that GPS was put in a quiet piece of the spectrum on purpose, because fundamentally, it has to have quiet neighbors."

 

From this blog post.

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Anyone know where to find or even look for the requirement that all cell phones have GPS capability? I don't recall that it included tower triangulation systems, but required active GPS receivers.

 

I started wondering about this way back, but haven't found the regs as published. I'm thinking it would be really funny if LS succeeded in getting approved, then wiped out legal cell phone service for everyone including them (USA only).

 

I guess it hinges on what the exact GPS requirement / definition is... tower triangulation is sort of a positioning system, but is it GPS?

 

Doug 7rxc

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Anyone know where to find or even look for the requirement that all cell phones have GPS capability? I don't recall that it included tower triangulation systems, but required active GPS receivers.

Is this what you're looking for?

 

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/wireless-911-services

 

That was the motivation behind location, but I don't think they mention GPS explicitly.

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Anyone know where to find or even look for the requirement that all cell phones have GPS capability? I don't recall that it included tower triangulation systems, but required active GPS receivers.

Is this what you're looking for?

 

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/wireless-911-services

 

That was the motivation behind location, but I don't think they mention GPS explicitly.

Thanks for that, I'll have to read it later. I'm not really impressed by the 'tower' method when it comes to SAR efforts up here.

Hard to triangulate with one tower sometimes, worse with none at all. Often all we get is the location of the last tower to hear them at all, which is almost useless, but not quite. But that isn't the FCC's fault since we are up in Canada. Old style RDF hunting gear is at least sporting about locating radios, then there was that nice R&S unit that will give bearing and distance pretty good. Once you know the frequency and can get close enough to hear it that is. I'll vote for true GPS and even then it doesn't always work that well.

 

Doug 7rxc

 

Got to read some of the recent postings on LS vs FCC as well.

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More good news here.

 

From the FCC statement quoted in the article:

 

"In particular, it has revealed challenges to removing regulatory barriers on spectrum that restrict use of that spectrum for mobile broadband. This includes receivers that pick up signals from spectrum uses in neighboring bands. There are very substantial costs to our economy and to consumers of preventing the use of this and other spectrum for mobile broadband. Congress, the FCC, other federal agencies, and private sector stakeholders must work together in a concerted effort to reduce regulatory barriers and free up spectrum for mobile broadband. Part of this effort should address receiver performance to help ensure the most efficient use of all spectrum to drive our economy and best serve American consumers."

 

It seems that the FCC may turn its attention to requiring more filtering by future GPS receivers.

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More good news here.

 

From the FCC statement quoted in the article:

 

"In particular, it has revealed challenges to removing regulatory barriers on spectrum that restrict use of that spectrum for mobile broadband. This includes receivers that pick up signals from spectrum uses in neighboring bands. There are very substantial costs to our economy and to consumers of preventing the use of this and other spectrum for mobile broadband. Congress, the FCC, other federal agencies, and private sector stakeholders must work together in a concerted effort to reduce regulatory barriers and free up spectrum for mobile broadband. Part of this effort should address receiver performance to help ensure the most efficient use of all spectrum to drive our economy and best serve American consumers."

 

It seems that the FCC may turn its attention to requiring more filtering by future GPS receivers.

 

Never anything wrong with improving the hardware or software for new models.

 

Just keep in mind that the real problem here was simply the choice of frequencies (they already were using them for their legal operations as MSS) AND the choice of going for mega power ground stations instead of micro power units (keeping the signal low at the receiving end). LS has no regard apparently for the existing band plan for low power signal reception in their allocated band.

They might just as well have been blocking any one of several other services besides GPS had they been located elsewhere in the MSS band. They seem to be of the opinion that they own the spectrum, as opposed to having rented the allocated space. I hear people talk of lawsuits, but they have little grounds in my opinion... they applied for and received a waiver for testing, then have failed to demonstrate clearly that they could meet the conditions of the waiver and it has been shelved. They want to be careful that they don't inadvertently abandon their MSS service, because there are many that would use the frequencies 'as is' should that happen.

 

IF it were me, I'd be trying to swap some services to improve my position in that regard... since nothing is likely to get corrected by any other means. They have made no attempt to enter the 'white space' auctions that I've seen. But I don't make a career out of watching this either. Sad thing is that they probably could have made it work fine, had they accepted the rules, not spent so much effort trying to bulldoze their way to what they thought they were entitled to. A fine example of what is known as the 'engineering mentality'; bigger, more expensive equals better. Sadly good engineers don't believe that, it's usually the marketing people.

 

Doug 7rxc

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Some things that might interest:

Out but still going to try something if you read it.

Falcone Resigns

 

What I see is that while stepping away slightly, Falcone still wants to try changing the band use plan to allow his network.

 

What the others are up to or the better way. What I thought LS was about at first, but was wrong.

Micro Cell Towers

 

If LS had gone this low power route, they might have made it since the signal strength won't be overwhelming.

 

It's still worth watching though.

 

Doug 7rxc

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