Details - Kansas K20 Librarians Whitespace Pilot

The Kansas TV Whitespace Consortium is an outgrowth of the Libraries Super Wifi Pilot initiated by Gigabit Libraries Network (GLN). The pilot will explore the viability of extending access to library Wi-Fi over a wide area using unlicensed radio frequencies, a base transmitter and remote receivers that serve as wifi access points.

How does TV Whitespace Wi-Fi work?

(Note: This is a very broad simplification for the novice. See also our FAQ page.)

The public library has access to 10 or more mbps of internet connectivity over and above that in use or needed for day-to-day operations. Use of this bandwidth must comply with the library's agreement with the provider.

This surplus bandwidth is directed and connected to a Base Station (BS). The base station converts data moving outward to the Wi-Fi zone into a radio/television wavelength signal, and broadcasts it via an antenna.

One or more remote Client Stations (CS) are positioned so as to be able to receive a strong signal from the base, convert it into traditional Wi-Fi signal, which can be received by Wi-Fi enabled remote devices. All parts of the system are two-way, so incoming and outbound data go through the same process, back and forth.

Efficiency depends on the strength of signal, and the number and nature of obstacles between base, CS, and destination device. Base and remote stations must be well positioned to communicate; remote stations should provide a basic level of library Wi-Fi broadband access to an area convenient to the public. The Resources links on the GLN pilot page can help libraries determine the best placement for base and remote stations.

Since communication between base and remote uses a radio/television frequency, range can be measured in miles, and line of sight is not necessary. The other side of the remote is a standard Wi-Fi access point, with a hotspot range of 50-100 feet.

Here's a helpful diagram.

About the Pilot

Each qualifying library receives a pilot system including one Base Station (BS) and from one to three remote Client Stations for a 4-month trial (September-December 2013).

Participating libraries will need internet connectivity with 10+mbps surplus to dedicate to the TVWS system.

Libraries will have an option to purchase their pilot systems at the end of the trial period.

For more details, see the link to the pilot above.

About the Consortium

Due to the short time frame, and more than 10 Kansas public libraries' expression of interest, GLN has selected 4 qualifying participants under the termsof the pilot:

The Kansas participant libraries will be invited to become lead members of the consortium, and join with other libraries, GLN and the State Library of Kansas to develop a model for a state-level pilot.

While the concrete benefits will arise out of planning, lessons learned from the lead libraries, and negotiation with the pilot partners, the objectives include:

  • Make pilot participation for more Kansas libraries possible, during the same or a later time frame
  • Create a community among Kansas libraries implementing or experimenting with TV Whitespace Wi-Fi
  • Work with GLN to explore opportunities for negotiating group purchase of equipment and/or discounted pricing
  • Investigate partnership opportunities at state and regional levels
  • Research viability of a state contract for purchase of equipment

What about cost?

Libraries approved for the pilot will have the opportunity to purchase the loaned equipment at the end of the pilot period. Prices for a configuration of one base station and 1-3 remote stations are expected to fall in the $5,000-$7,000 range (discounted for the pilot).

The cost of the internet access, ongoing maintenance of and future upgrades or expansion of the base/remote array will be the library's responsibility.

The State Library is in the process of developing a grant program which will award federal grant funds to cover a portion of the purchase price of the loaned equipment.