The next evolution of Wi-Fi is one step closer to being reality. The FCC has proposed rules for 1200 megahertz of unlicensed frequency in 6 GHz band. The whole band we need to pay attention to is 5.925 – 7.125 GHz. Why make unlicensed frequency available? Unprecedented demand for it. FCC made unlicensed frequency available back in 1985. We will see this complementing 5G services. The growth of Wi-Fi has created a large demand in unlicensed frequency. But by opening up 6 GHz, the FCC is proposing some rules.
The rules are to support compatibility of unlicensed operation and licensed incumbent services.
- 5.925 – 6.425 GHz (coordination method AFC) (U-NII-5)
- 6.425 – 6.525 GHz (lower powered indoor) (U-NII-6)
- 6.525 – 6.875 GHz (coordination method AFC) (U-NII-7)
- 6.875 – 7.125 GHz (lower powered indoor) (U-NII-8)
Why the coordination method?
6 GHz hosts many incumbent services such as fixed point-to-point services, fixed-satellite service, broadcast auxiliary service, and Cable Television Relay Service. Some of those services support public safety.
For the UNII 5 and 7 the power levels for will be similar to UNII 1 and 3.
Automated Frequency Control (AFC) would be a way for an AP to receive a list of channels it can operate in so it is to not interfere with incumbents. AFC System still needs to be ironed out. Will it be like CBRS? Problem would be identifying which channels are in use by incumbents in a specific area.
Even with rules in place, the amount of channels available for Wi-Fi increases. The amount of channels available:
59 x 20 MHz channels
29 x 40 MHz channels
14 x 80 MHz channels
7 x 160 MHz channels
If you would like to read more about 6 GHz please check out the following documents:
- Proposed Rules
- FCC 18-145
- Statement of Chairman Ajit Pai
- Statement of Commissioner Michael O’Rielly
- Statement of Commissioner Brendan Carr
- Statement of Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel
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