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White Space for Internet Use Interfering with Wireless Patient Devices?

There is a germ of truth (perhaps a prion-sized germ or maybe just an amino acid) in the idea that transmitters in "white spaces" in the TV band *might* disrupt patient monitoring equipment if designed by a lunatic who believes in sending massive pulses of energy in a whitespace in the TV band (perhaps amplified by a large parabolic dish antenna the size of a trashcan lid or larger, aimed at the patient monitor system. But that risk is completely shared with zillions of other potential radiators of energy in the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

Engineers in safety related industries (airplanes, healthcare) are required to shield their equipment against this risk. There is an order of magnitude GREATER, but identical risk in placing a hospital near a TV broadcast antenna. Yet this is extraordinarily common in cities throughout the US.

GE, of course, owns NBC. There is a MAJOR conflict of interest at the corporate level of GE, since the NAB and the Association for Maximum Service Television are primary opponents of whitespace.

To which part of GE should we attribute this PR campaign? Engineers familiar with shielding devices such as PCs and avionics equipment might well want to scrutinize the engineering documents behind these claims of risk. Preferably ones whose paychecks don't derive from bankers who own TV stations.

As an engineer, I'm persuaded by actual analyses, not claims of authority by companies "waving bloody shirts" about "people might die". Let's scrutinize the analysis for a specific, well-documented piece of healthcare equipment. It's easy to test the vulnerability of such a device.

If GE would like to show us their "most vulnerable" device to test in a test setup, perhaps we can also share their design methodology with the trial lawyers to analyze for potential negligence. 

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Co-designer of the TCP/IP Protocols & the Architecture of the Internet


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