Apr 23, 2020
Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously approved a landmark milestone: a fresh allocation of 1200 MHz of spectrum for devices that do not require a license from the FCC (so-called unlicensed spectrum) spanning the 6 GHz band. This is huge news, especially for anyone who uses Wi-Fi, which is to say, just about everyone on the planet.
This forward-thinking regulatory approach sets an example for other regulatory bodies around the world and is expected to usher in a new era of high-speed, low-latency experiences for Wi-Fi-enabled devices. In anticipation of this approval, we’ve already prepared our Wi-Fi 6 product portfolio to operate in 6 GHz band, so we’re ready to start supporting devices to use this spectrum. We call products that will use the spectrum as supporting “Wi-Fi 6E” functionality. We’ll have much more to say about product specifics in the coming weeks and months, but it’s worth reflecting on how this decision will touch our lives in so many positive ways.
An industry ready for more spectrum
We have, for years, been ardent proponents of new spectrum for unlicensed use. Last year, we joined with 34 other technology companies – including Google, Apple, HPE and Cisco – to champion and support the proposal by the FCC.
The reasons are simple and powerful. It has been over 20 years since new spectrum was made available for Wi-Fi. In that time, as we’ve all experienced, existing spectrum in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands has become congested with ever-increasing demand. Adding the 6 GHz band will more than double the available spectrum for devices and networks to use. This new bandwidth will have an immediate impact on your Wi-Fi experience as smartphones, routers, laptops, and public networks start to be deployed with Wi-Fi 6E, not only for those devices, but for all devices and applications.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai explained it well at last year’s Mobile World Congress Americas: “We’re really excited about what 6 GHz can mean. When you’re talking about AR and VR and other applications, the 6 GHz band is going to be tremendous. The [Wi-Fi 6] standard has already been developed, entrepreneurs are excited to use it, and my understanding is that equipment manufacturers are gearing up as well. We’re hopeful to find an accommodation for the incumbent users of that band, as well as some of the next generation unlicensed innovators, who can take this spectrum and really run with it.”
I invite you to watch a short video of a talk I gave a little while ago explaining the signature benefits and features outlined in the rules announced today, both amplifying Wi-Fi 6 features, as well as new features like out-of-band network discovery, new scanning rules, etc.
Product readiness as industry moves to Wi-Fi 6E
In February, we demonstrated our Wi-Fi 6E readiness with an over-the-air demonstration of 6 GHz operation. The end-to-end demonstration featured a smartphone to access point connection, using the Qualcomm FastConnect mobile connectivity subsystem and the Qualcomm Networking Pro Series Wi-Fi Access Point platforms respectively.
Designing for the future with Wi-Fi 6E
Feb 25, 2020 | 2:01
Wi-Fi 6E is designed to take advantage of 6 GHz spectrum to make possible new applications for consumers. By adding numerous 160 MHz channels and highly advanced modulation techniques to our already rich set of highly differentiated end-to-end Wi-Fi 6 features, we’re primed to deliver powerful, reliable, and immersive Wi-Fi 6E experiences for the next generation of devices, applications, and services.