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FCC to Offer Wi-Fi in 6 GHz

By Ken Briodagh

According to a recent announcement, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided to make 1200 megahertz of unlicensed spectrum in 6 GHz available for Wi-Fi. This makes the FCC the first regulatory body to make 6 GHz available for unlicensed use.

According to many analysts, 6 GHz will set the stage for faster, higher-capacity, and lower latency Wi-Fi devices and networks.

To capitalize on this, Wi-Fi Alliance reportedly is extending Wi-Fi Certified 6 into 6 GHz with the stated goal of ensuring Wi-Fi users can benefit from additional capacity, wider channels, and less congested spectrum. Certification will be available in early 2021. The Wi-Fi Alliance said in a release that it has been working to prepare interoperability certification as soon as Wi-Fi 6E devices enter the market.

“By making 6 GHz available for unlicensed use, the FCC has secured the future of Wi-Fi. 6 GHz access is a seminal development for connectivity and provides Wi-Fi more capacity to deliver groundbreaking use cases and to unlock novel new Wi-Fi applications,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance. “Today’s global climate highlights how important Wi-Fi is in connectivity and productivity, and new Wi-Fi 6E solutions will further increase Wi-Fi’s standing.”

Wi-Fi 6E is set to provide higher resolution streaming for applications such as video conferencing, lower latency for gaming and industrial IoT, and faster download speeds to provide critical services to enterprise, education, and healthcare markets, according to reports.

“We expect initial Wi-Fi 6E products to enter the market this year, with the first Wi-Fi 6E access points available by the fourth quarter of 2020,” said Phil Solis, research director at IDC. “We expect Wi-Fi 6E will gain momentum and see rapid 2021 adoption with more chipsets targeting flagship smartphones, PCs, TVs, and even VR devices.”

“As demand continues to grow for wireless connectivity, it’s imperative more spectrum be made available,” said Iyad Tarazi, CEO, Federated Wireless, a Wi-Fi Alliance member. “Ajit Pai and the FCC are making a bold bet that’s going to pay big dividends for the United States by enabling spectrum sharing in the 6 GHz band for operators and enterprises. We are standing at the ready with our updated Spectrum Controller to help manage this wide swath of unlicensed spectrum so that hospitals, first responders and a now very distributed American workforce can take advantage of reliable, high performance connectivity enabled by Wi-Fi 6 and 5G services at a time when the U.S. is seeing an unprecedented uptick in online activity.”

The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) is also expressing support for the move by the FCC.

“Today’s action by the FCC to unleash 1,200 MHz of unlicensed 6 GHz spectrum – including up to 850 MHz of automated frequency coordinated spectrum for standard power outdoor use – should help break the spectrum logjam that threatens our livelihoods,” said Claude Aiken, President and CEO, WISPA. “It should provide more fuel and space for innovators to meet growing demand and foster the next generation of innovative connectivity and services for wireless consumers. WISPA looks forward to learning more about the details in the Order. We hope that for small rural innovators such as WISPs, the power levels in the Order mean they’ll have more bandwidth to grow their businesses, develop new transmission techniques such as fixed 5G, and, perhaps most importantly, bridge the rural digital divide, providing millions of rural Americans new options and tools to obtain the same prosperity and safety their urban counterparts expect and enjoy.”


Ken Briodagh is a storyteller, writer and editor with about two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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