• Wireless Workbench: An Upgrade Worth Considering

    May 2, 2018

  • By: Stephen Hill, CTS-D, Technical Solutions Engineer

    On March 29, 2016, the FCC authorized the first-ever “incentive auction” (repack) designed to re-purpose existing RF spectrum for users. The ultimate intent was to provide a large, unallocated portion of the spectrum that could be used for the deployment of next-generation wireless broadband service1. However, as in most areas of life, what’s good for one person or group may not be good for the whole; the repack was one such instance.

    While there are obvious benefits to next-generation wireless broadband, a large portion of the existing, available spectrum was lost for wireless microphone users. Specifically, anything in the 600mhz range. All wireless microphones and in-ear monitor systems operating in the 600mhz band may no longer be used2 and will have to be replaced by a system in a lower UHF frequency range or even a VHF system. Additionally, a less open spectrum is available do to the relocation of previously-reserved frequencies in the 600mhz band to previously-open frequencies in the 470mhz to 599mhz range. In short, it’s a confusing and complicated mess.

    As a leader in the field of microphone technology, Shure offers an incredible solution to navigate the murky water of frequency management – Wireless Workbench 6. While the software itself may not be new, the growing need for access to tools of this caliber is multiplying. The best part is that the software is free. However, it is compatible with only certain wireless families: Axient Digital, Axient, ULX-D, QLX-D, UHF-R, and the PSM1000.

    Wireless Workbench contains a myriad of features including:

    • RF spectrum scan
    • Frequency coordination of all wireless systems
    • Remote monitoring and control of various wireless system functions
    • Inventory Management

    Wireless Workbench is an extremely powerful software for wireless system management and frequency coordination. Serious consideration should be given to Shure wireless systems and Wireless Workbench when upgrading or replacing systems in the future. While no technology is future-proof, using Wireless Workbench with your wireless systems will go a long way toward guaranteeing your investment. Contact ESCO today as we can help you implement the upgrade!

    1. The execution of and reasoning behind the auction and spectrum allocation was much more complex and political than this statement suggests.
    2. The actual end date for use of 600mhz devices is July 13, 2020. However, some municipalities have already begun transitioning locally. In those situations, the systems should no longer be used.

    By: Stephen Hill, CTS-D, Technical Solutions Engineer

    Stephen has over 16 years of design and installation experience in the AV, broadcast and educational technology fields, along with a small forest worth of certifications including CTS-D, DMC-E-4K, and ECP.