The regulatory framework for secondary utilization of TV white spaces (TVWS) is well underway in the United Kingdom, while important steps in this direction are taken within the European Union and elsewhere. Mobile network operators are interested in the use of TVWS for cellular extension and rural access, where TVWS is seen as a significant new opportunity for operators to provide new wireless services. The government’s plan to close the digital divide between the urban and rural communities has motivated the efforts to develop Wi-Fi like operation in TVWS for better coverage in rural areas.
The IEEE currently has a working group developing 802.11af amendment which will allow for WLAN operations in the TVWS. This paper presents a quantitative analysis of downlink throughput performance of IEEE802.11af, also known as White-Fi in a rural environment while taking into account realistic modelling of TV channel availability, wireless channel, AP density, and the effect of co-channel interference caused by secondary APs and DVB-T transmitters. The paper shows that the low operating frequency of White-Fi offers a wide coverage in a rural environment, where there is limited cellular coverage due to the cost-inefficiency of base stations deployment. The presented results also show that there are more available TVWS channels and less co-channel interferers in a rural environment, resulting in a significant throughput performance even in high mobility if suitable channel estimation is considered, making it ideal for vehicular communications with White-Fi.