The addition of 1,200 MHz of spectrum for unlicensed use in the entire 6 GHz band, as approved by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), is a watershed moment for connectivity and innovation. The 5.925 to 7.125 GHz band will supercharge connectivity to affect every aspect in everyday lives, such as remote education, telemedicine, work and commerce, gaming and social media.
Increasing bandwidth demands for rising Internet of Things (IoT) applications, new use cases as well as the critical demand for vital industries such as healthcare, education and manufacturing will finally be met thanks to the FCC’s approval. This action will significantly increase potential for the industry to meet end-user demands.
“The FCC’s decision to enable multiple categories of unlicensed 6 GHz equipment—initially low power indoor access points (APs), standard power APs, and several client device types—will benefit consumers through innovative services and provide manufacturers the flexibility to design their products in the most cost effective manner,” said Martha Suarez, president of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA). “The impact of accessing spectrum in the 6 GHz band will enable more critical industries to access the quality of connectivity they need. In addition, it will help network service providers to deliver the quality of service that end-users expect in real-time and extend connectivity to rural areas.”
Rural Americans and their wireless internet providers will also benefit from access to the 6 GHz band. The authorization of standard power outdoor operations through an Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC) mechanism in the UNII-5 (5.925 to 6.425 GHz) and UNII-7 (6.525 to 6.875 GHz) bands, will allow wireless broadband providers to greatly improve internet access in rural areas.
This decision enables immediate access for low-power indoor devices and includes a further regulatory proposal for very low power portable devices, alongside other important steps that will complete the FCC Chairman’s vision in rapidly enabling 5G services for all Americans.
As the leading global advocate of shared spectrum, the DSA is particularly enthusiastic about two provisions adopted by the FCC. “First, the spectrum database solution embodied in the AFC is the culmination of over a decade of work by the FCC and industry to perfect the technology and regulatory frameworks to adapt databases to overcome the challenge of creating spectrum abundance,” mentioned Suarez. “AFC managed devices are expected to exceed even the heady forecasts for the CBRS band, which also recently opened for commercial operations. And second, the order for the first time requires a technology neutral listen-before-talk capability to facilitate coexistence. Both of these are forms of dynamic spectrum access which the DSA has championed since its founding.”
Access to the 6 GHz band will play a vital role in alleviating pressure of increasing bandwidth demands now and into the future for end-users. The band can offer high throughput and low-latency connectivity that will also benefit new applications such as augmented and virtual reality and many new innovations that require high-quality, real-time connectivity.
Suarez added, “The FCC’s commitment to license-exempt access to the 6 GHz band is a step towards enabling the full potential of the U.S. digital economy. After many years of advocating for spectrum sharing in this band, we are excited for many end users to finally experience the high-quality connectivity that the 6 GHz band provides for Wi-Fi 6.”
With continuous innovation in the Wi-Fi industry taking place in the U.S., this will significantly benefit the Americans and it is expected that other countries that are considering similar regulations may adopt them soon.
“The DSA is sincerely thankful to the FCC and each of the congressmen for supporting this move. This will profoundly impact the lives of individuals and industries who increasingly rely on high-quality connectivity to learn, live and thrive in our modern digital ecosystem,” added Suarez.