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Monday, March 31, 2014
FCC Opens More Spectrum For Faster Wi-Fi
The Federal Communications Commission is opening up spectrum that could allow for Wi-Fi services with speeds of one gigabit per second and faster.
The new rules will make 100 MHz of spectrum more accessible
for use in homes and congested spaces like convention centers,
parks, and airports.
The Commission has modified the rules governing the operation
of Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII)
devices operating in the 5 GHz band. By its action the
Commission increased the utility of the 100 megahertz of
spectrum, and streamlined existing rules and equipment
authorization procedures for devices throughout the 5 GHz
Currently U-NII devices operate in 555 megahertz of spectrum
in the 5 GHz band, and are used for Wi-Fi and other
high-speed wireless connections. These devices support a
variety of applications including Wi-Fi hot spots and wireless
home local area networks to connect smart phones, tablets and
laptops to the Internet, broadband service to rural areas
offered by Wireless Internet Service Providers and off-loading
of traffic from commercial cellular wireless networks.
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. This in turn will allow U-NII devices to better
integrate with other unlicensed portions of the 5 GHz band to
offer faster speeds and reduce congestion at crowded Wi-Fi hot
spots such as airports and convention centers.
The Commission also modified certain technical rules to
improve protection for incumbent systems by
requiring manufacturers to secure their devices against
illegal modification which could cause
interference to incumbent users in the band.
In other action, the FCC voted to make another 65MHz of
spectrum available for flexible use wireless services,
including mobile broadband.
The vote sets flexible-use regulatory, licensing, and
technical rules for 65MHz of spectrum in the AWS-3 band,
between 1695 and 2180MHz. The spectrum will be available on a
shared basis with federal agency incumbents based on plans
from the agencies.