Telecommunications

Wi-Fi 6 ushered in as FCC opens up 6 GHz band for consumer use

Wi-Fi 6 ushered in as FCC open...
The FCC has voted to open the 6 GHz band for unlicensed Wi-Fi devices
The FCC has voted to open the 6 GHz band for unlicensed Wi-Fi devices
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The FCC has voted to open the 6 GHz band for unlicensed Wi-Fi devices
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The FCC has voted to open the 6 GHz band for unlicensed Wi-Fi devices

The next generation of Wi-Fi is gathering steam. The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now officially adopted new rules that open up the 6 GHz band for use by regular routers and wireless devices. Basically, that means much faster Wi-Fi speeds for devices that make use of this new legroom.

Current Wi-Fi routers all cram into two bands – 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. But those are quickly filling up as more and more devices join the party, and other advances in speed are being dragged down by congestion.

So the FCC has voted to open up a huge new range to clear the air. The 6 GHz band encompasses a massive 1,200 MHz, which the FCC says increases the amount of spectrum available for Wi-Fi by almost a factor of five. That extra “space,” plus the fact that the 6 GHz band can deliver data faster, should make Wi-Fi 6 more than 2.5 times faster than the current standard.

There are already licensed systems out there using parts of the 6 GHz band, but the FCC says it’s putting systems in place to protect these existing services from interference by only allowing indoor low-power operations to make use of the full 1,200 MHz, while standard-power devices will be limited to 850 MHz.

“The microwave services that already use this band are critical to the operations of utilities, public safety, and wireless backhaul operations,” says Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC. “And we are ensuring that those incumbents are protected by requiring the use of automated frequency coordination systems, which will only allow new standard-power operations in areas that will not cause interference to incumbent services, and by placing conservative power limits on low-power indoor operations.”

As exciting as faster Wi-Fi may sound, it’s not just a matter of switching your router settings over tonight. Although the new rules are now allowing consumer devices to use this part of the spectrum, it’ll take some time before compatible routers and other devices are made and released. It’s expected that these will be available by the end of this year, and really kick into gear during 2021.

Source: FCC [1],[2]

4 comments
guzmanchinky
I'm truly more excited by in home 5G, no more router, no more dead spots, no more cable company...
Karmudjun
Will this new spectrum of mw transmission have a longer or shorter range? I think it will be shorter - possibly requiring more repeaters in a normal sized home or a small business? I'm thinking like guzmanchinky that 5G at home might be the answer for those of us who have multiple dead or 'slow' spots in our homes. I'd like to think more data PLUS more range PLUS larger spectrum (for better management of interference) would be a real breakthrough, to pursue, not just an incremental improvement. It may be worth the cost on down the road but I'm not going router shopping when the 6GHz devices are marketed.
paul314
It sounds as if we may find out the hard way whether the fancy new coordination technology does prevent interference with existing services in that band.
Eddy
I just got a new AC router from a changed service provider, big WiFi improvement from my previous supplier who just took the monthly cheque for years and never offered to upgrade. I also now have a NBN termination box before the router with 4 LED's now on the end of my HFC cable here in AUS so I wonder if both will have to be changed if I later upgrade to WiFi 6.