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Unlicensed vs. Licensed Wireless Video

Last updated Jan 29, 2019 | Published on Dec 6, 2014 | Wireless Video

Wireless video

License Requirements

Essentially all of the wireless radio frequencies (literally DC to light) have been allocated to specific uses by the FCC or similar regulators in other countries. Most of the available frequencies require users to get licenses that specify exactly which RF channels can be used in which locations at specified power levels for defined applications. A few frequency bands are unlicensed, such as the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and the 60GHz bands, and are therefore available for anyone to use in any location provided certain limits on effective radiated power are observed.

Licenses to use specific radio frequencies are a good news/bad news proposition.  The good news is that a license gives a broadcaster an exclusive right to use a particular frequency in a defined location for a specific period of time. This helps ensure that other users will not create destructive interference with the signal. The bad news is the cost and the paperwork that are necessary to obtain the license, not to mention the time for the application to be processed.  In addition, licensed frequencies may only be available in specific, pre-defined locations, making “grab and go” shooting more difficult.

Initial & Recurring Costs

Any wireless video solution will have some sort of an up-front expenditure, related to the costs of purchasing, installing and configuring the necessary equipment. Some solutions will also have a cost associated with each use.  For example, a system that uses a cell-phone network for backhaul will need to pay for the data consumed by each transmission, either directly (as a bill for gigabytes) or indirectly (built into the cost of the service/device).

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