April 1, 2014
FCC Expands Spectrum To Boost Wi-Fi Speeds
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously on Monday to make 100 MHz of unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz band more accessible to accelerate the growth and expansion of new Wi-Fi technologies.
The move means that indoor Wi-Fi routers, which currently occupy part of the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, will be able to accommodate greater amounts of traffic at higher speeds. Users will also experience less network congestion at Wi-Fi hot spots.
“By its action, the Commission significantly increased the utility of the 100 megahertz of spectrum, and streamlined existing rules and equipment authorization procedures for devices throughout the 5 GHz band,” the FCC said in its statement.
“The new rules will make 100 MHz of spectrum more accessible for use in homes and congested spaces like convention centers, parks, and airports and increase the potential for more unlicensed spectrum innovation.”
Although airwaves in the 5GHz band have always been unlicensed, they were subjected to strict rules to prevent devices from interfering with other users, particularly government and defense networks.
However, last year the Defense Department said it no longer required this spectrum.
“The rules adopted today remove the current restriction on indoor-only use and increase the permissible power which will provide more robust access in the 5.150-5.250 GHz band,” the FCC explained.
The Commission noted that some restrictions governing how Wi-Fi providers can use the 5GHz band would remain in place in order to prevent interference with satellite operators. For instance, the FCC will require wireless Internet service providers to register any large-scale Wi-Fi network deployments using the 5GHz band, and will also require Wi-Fi equipment manufacturers to ensure their gear can’t be illegally tampered with so as to interfere with satellite communications.
Separately, the Commission also announced on Monday that it would auction off 65MHz of spectrum for flexible use of wireless services, including mobile broadband.
“Today’s action represents the largest amount of spectrum suitable for mobile broadband that the Commission has made available for auction since the 700 MHz band was auctioned in 2008,” the Commission said.
“The action also builds upon the success of the recent H Block auction. Access to these bands will help wireless companies meet growing consumer demand for mobile data by enabling faster wireless speeds and more capacity.”
Specifically, the move sets flexible-use regulatory, licensing, and technical rules for 65 MHz of spectrum in the AWS-3 band, which includes the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz bands.