Microsoft Research WhiteFiService
A research platform to plan your white space network!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What exactly does this release entail?
A. The current release provides a set of APIs and web front end, which we call WhiteFiFinder, to visualize the availability of white spaces across locales in the continental US. We are working towards enabling the same feature for off shore locations such as Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico.

Q. What is the core functionality of the WhiteFiService platform?
A. The platform is powered by propagation modeling and an analysis engine which uses data exported by the FCC's publicly available CDBS database to determine the availability of white spaces based on TV tower information. This is achieved by using a combination of sophisticated propagation modeling techniques to determine the signal attenuation between any two points in the US. The service also supports registration of wireless microphones which in turn will reflect on the availability of white spaces throughout the US.

Q. How do I get access to these API?
A. Please subscribe to the mailing list as described at the bottom of the page, and send an e-mail. We will send you a username and password to access the API from your .NET code.

Q. What propagation models does the WhiteFiService platform use?
A. It supports Longley Rice (area and broadcast modes), Egli, Okumura-Hata, and Free Space.

Q. Does the WhiteFiService platform use terrain elevation information when modeling TV signal propagation?
A. Yes, it uses a combination of sanitized versions of terrain elevation from the following sources: SRTM 30m, SRTM 90m, and GLOBE.

Q. How does the WhiteFiService platform handle holes and other errors in the terrain elevation data that could result in errors in the propagation model (e.g. with Longley-Rice returning an error code)?
A. We deal with this using an adaptive algorithm that determines the best possible error-free signal attenuation between two points.

Q. Where do you get TV tower data from? How often is it updated in the WhiteFiService Platform?
A. We fetch this data on a daily basis from the FCC's publicly available CDBS website. However, to reduce downtime, we manually update this information in our current version. We are working towards streamlining this into a daily update.

Q. When was the TV tower data last updated?
A. This data was last updated on the 26th of March, 2010.

Q. Are your calculations for TV signal propagation for a given location cached? How often is the cache emptied?
A. Yes, this is done to ensure a quick response from the WhiteFiService platform. We empty this cache each time the list of TV towers is updated. 

Q. Do you support a feature for inserting information on wireless microphones into the backend database?
A. Yes, however, we are creating separate accounts for registering the presence of wireless microphones.

Q. Where does the WhiteFiService platform reside?
A. It resides in the cloud, and is hosted by Microsoft Research.

Q. At what abstraction level can these API be consumed?
A. These API can be consumed via a web service interface in any .NET project.

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