FCC Report & Order Wi-Fi @ 6GHz

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FCC Report & Order Wi-Fi @ 6GHz

Summary and High Points of Docket No. 18-295

This R&O is based on a previously released Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice) which solicited responses from the industry to allow unlicensed use of the 6GHz band (5.925-7.125GHz). The FCC has considered the responses and will be releasing currently allocated spectrum (incumbent) to use by certain unlicensed devices and applications. These unlicensed devices and applications will be required to operate within a rules and coordination construct to protect the incumbent from interference.

Result 1,200MHz of additional spectrum is now for Wi-Fi use adding to the current 2.4 and 5GHz bands.


Rule Change Highlights:

  • Allow the unlicensed “Wi-Fi” like operation of devices for indoor use in all 1,200 MHz of the 6GHz band
    • Low-power devices (access point or AP) only (+24dBm, or ¼ Watt) to share with and protect the incumbent services
    • No automatic frequency coordination (AFC) required
    • Each AP utilizes the 1,200MHz band on a contention basis (like Wi-Fi, listen before transmit)
    • No professional installation requirements
  • Allow the unlicensed “Wi-Fi” like operation of devices for indoor and outdoor use under AFC control in 850MHz of the band (5.925-6.425 & 6.525-6.875GHz).
    • Standard power APs only (+30dBm or 1 Watt)*
    • Under AFC control for channel and power allowances
    • No professional installation requirements (AP geolocation required)
  • Client devices can operate in the full 1,200 MHz of the 6GHz band under the control of their indoor or outdoor access point (maximum 6dB less than AP (1/4 of AP power)).

Impact:

  • Expands the application of the popular Wi-Fi standard bandwidths by almost 5-times
  • New Wi-Fi 6e indoor devices will be able to provide increased data rates to meet short-range consumer and enterprise demand
  • New Wi-Fi 6e outdoor devices to provide broadband data to nomadic and fixed clients
  • 23 April 2020 official action at the April FCC meeting targeting a 31 Dec 2020 active date
  • Generally available Wi-Fi 6e devices thought to be 2022.

* Similar to current Wi-Fi power levels.