The future of wireless microphones - a solution to the uncertainty!

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Audio Technica 2000 and 3000 Series I-Band!

Earlier this year, the FCC mandated that all users of 700MHZ wireless microphones - those with frequencies from 698-806MHZ - stop using them as of June 12.  Did everyone stop using them?  Many did, but of course not - preferring to risk legal penalties, save money, and expect that the interference from 4G wireless devices won't affect them.

Sooner or later, 700MHZ wireless systems will stop working due to interference.  AT&T and Verizon both have plans to deliver broadband Internet services over the airwaves (especially to rural areas) in the 700MHZ band.  They've paid for the radio spectrum; you can bet that they'll use it.  It's much less expensive to put up towers than it is to runs miles of cable from pole to pole to pole up and down the roads of the United States. 

To further complicate matters, Google, Microsoft and others have banded together to seek the use of the "White Spaces" -- the spaces between the current television broadcast channels where many wireless microphone systems operate. 

As of today, there's no guarantee that the White Spaces proposal will be approved by the FCC, but manufacturers are testing those devices.  The proposed devices are not allowed to interfere with existing wireless traffic (like licensed wireless microphones and other radio traffic), but initial tests have not been pretty.

 

With the increased use of wireless telephones (cell phones), we've noticed a big impact on the performance of wireless microphone systems, even without these issues. We're now selling many more directional antennas and have to make sure that we coordinate the operating frequencies much more carefully.  You'd be amazed to see what a room full of cell phones in the "off" position (set to vibrate) looks like on an RF Spectrum Analyzer.  It's a wonder that any wireless system works in a large church. 

To come to the point, Audio Technica has released a new set of frequencies for its 2000 and 3000 Series wireless systems that will be immune to the potential sources of interference from proposed White Spaces issues in most areas of the country.  These frequencies are called I-Band and range from 482-507MHZ and are currently very clear and appear to be likely to remain that way for most of the country. 

The 13 largest markets in the country have been approved for eventual Public Safety transmission in this range, so if you live outside these metropolitan areas, the I-band should provide years of smooth sailing.  Affected major markets include Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco/Oakland, and Washington DC.  

In 13 these major markets, two channels between 21 and 51 will be reserved and available for wireless microphones. These will be the first open (non-TV) channels above and below channel 37.  Call us for more information on frequency selection, if you live in these areas.

Right now, the future of wireless microphone usage is somewhat cloudy, so we read and talk with people everyday to make sure that we're offering the best and latest details so that you get equipment from us that doesn't become a problem just a few years down the road.

For most people, the Audio Technica 2000 and 3000 Series systems in the I-band are a safe haven from the next wave of potential changes to the regulations surrounding the use of wireless microphones. 2000 Series systems from $299.95 and 3000 Series systems from $399.95.  Visit our Website or call for more information today.