The Federal Communications Commission today adopted rules that make 1,200 megahertz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band (5.925–7.125 GHz) available for unlicensed use.
These new rules will usher in Wi-Fi 6, the next generation of Wi-Fi, and play a major role in the growth of the Internet of Things. Wi-Fi 6 will be over two-and-a-half times faster than the current standard. Opening the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use will also increase the amount of spectrum available for Wi-Fi by nearly a factor of five and help improve rural connectivity.
Unlicensed devices will share the 6 GHz band with incumbent licensed services under rules crafted to protect those licensed services and enable both unlicensed and licensed operations to thrive throughout the band.
FCC’s rules authorize indoor low-power operations over the full 1,200 megahertz and standard-power devices in 850 megahertz in the 6 GHz band.
Utilities use the 6 GHz airwaves to manage sprawling grids and pipelines, and have said allowing millions of wireless devices into the swath threatens to create interference that could jeopardize network reliability.
FCC said that an automated frequency coordination system will prevent standard power access points from operating where they could cause interference to incumbent services.
The FCC is also seeking comment on a proposal to permit very low-power devices to operate across the 6 GHz band to support high data rate applications including high-performance, wearable, augmented-reality and virtual-reality devices. Increasing the power at which low-power indoor access points may operate is also under discussion.
Devices using the airwaves could come to market this year, with 300 million or more produced next year.