FCC opens 6 GHz band for wireless networks – why not everyone thinks it’s a good idea

We discuss the situation, pitfalls, expert opinions and possible developments.

/ Unsplash / Paul hanaoka

Overflowing ranges

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission thought about expanding Wi-Fi bands back in 2018. Current frequencies of 2.4 and 5 GHz are at risk of overload. One of the reasons experts call an increase in the number of IoT devices. According to Gartner, their number will exceed 25 billion next year.

To solve the problem in the FCC thought on the transfer for the needs of Wi-Fi range of 6 GHz, which is partially used for satellite communications. A research team has been appointed which confirmedthat launching Wi-Fi at 6 GHz will not interfere with satellite communications. Despite the positive conclusion, the discovery of frequencies was postponed several times.

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Finally, April 23, FCC held voting and allowed to use the new range. The Wi-Fi Alliance has already prepared the specification of the corresponding protocol – Wi-Fi 6E.

What is the benefit

The new spectrum will offer seven channels that will work in parallel and not interfere with each other. As a result, interference will be reduced and Wi-Fi bandwidth will increase – up to 9.6 Gb / s.

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks notedthat this figure will increase for those users who continue to work in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. They will become “more free” – more and more devices will begin to work in a new spectrum.

Large IT corporations (notably Apple, Facebook and Google) they saythat the 6-gigahertz range will allow them to implement new VR and AR projects, as well as streaming services in UltraHD format.

Underwater rocks

In order for the standard to be widely adopted, large equipment manufacturers must support it. In the past, the Wi-Fi Alliance has already tried to promote updated versions of the wireless protocol. There was high-speed WiGig and energy-efficient HaLow – both did not take off.

Although the production of equipment that supports the new range and standard Wi-Fi 6E has already been announced Qualcomm and Intel. Last promises release appropriate chips by January 2021.

/ Unsplash / Frank wang

Concerns about opening a new range, you said Specialists from FWCC and NSMA – These organizations address issues related to wireless communications. Anxiety expressed and the authorities of New York, Los Angeles and Denver. In these cities, the 6-gigahertz range is used by police and fire services. It is likely that with the spread of the new standard, they will have to revise their IT infrastructure. But according to (p.138) Michael O’Rielly, Commissioner of the United States Federal Communications Commission, has nothing to worry about.

FCC engineering experts say the new standard does not interfere with other communication channels. Experts note that, if necessary, methods for preventing interference, for example, Dynamic Frequency Selection (Dfs)

Development of events

So far, a new range has been opened only for the USA. Therefore, in other countries, Wi-Fi functionality will be limited. Although the European Commission may issue a decree this year.

European Conference of Postal and Communications Administrations (CEPT) allowed Opening the 6 GHz range for private wireless networks. As for Russia, the Ministry of Communications has already prepared a document with requirements for certification of equipment supporting Wi-Fi 6. Perhaps in the future the regulator will also allow the deployment of private networks in the 6 GHz band.

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