FCC adopts new rules approving use of 6GHz band for unlicensed use

24 Apr 2020

Having earlier this month published draft rules permitting unlicensed devices to operate in the 6GHz (5.925GHz-7.125GHz) band, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now confirmed their adoption. In a press release, the regulator claimed that the new regulations – which make 1,200MHz of spectrum in the 6GHz band available for unlicensed use – 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’. Further, the FCC claims that opening the 6GHz 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.

With the 6GHz band currently populated by, among other things, microwave services that are used to support utilities, public safety, and wireless backhaul, the FCC notes that unlicensed devices will share this spectrum with incumbent licensed services under rules crafted to protect those licensed services and enable both unlicensed and licensed operations to thrive throughout the band. The regulator noted that the regulatory decision authorises indoor low-power operations over the full 1,200MHz, while standard-power devices can operate over 850MHz in the 6GHz band.

Meanwhile, a further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is now seeking comment on a proposal to permit very low-power devices to operate across the 6GHz band to support high data rate applications including high-performance, wearable, augmented-reality and virtual-reality devices. This notice also seeks comment on increasing the power at which low-power indoor access points may operate.

United States, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)