FCC Increases 5GHz Spectrum for Wi-Fi, Other Unlicensed Uses
Washington, D.C. – March 31 2014
The Federal Communications Commission today provided for accelerated growth and expansion of new Wi-Fi technology that can offer faster speeds of one gigabit per second or more, increase overall capacity, and reduce congestion at Wi-Fi hot spots. The new rules will make 100 MHz of spectrum more accessible for use in homes and congested spaces like convention centers, parks, and airports and increase the potential for more unlicensed spectrum innovation.
The Commission adopted a Report and Order modifying the rules governing the operation of Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices operating in the 5 GHz band. By its action the Commission significantly increased the utility of the 100 megahertz of spectrum, and streamlined existing rules and equipment authorization procedures for devices throughout the 5 GHz band.
U-NII devices play an important role in meeting public demand for wireless broadband service. 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.
Action by the Commission March 31, 2014 by First Report and Order (FCC 14-30). Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners, Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai, and O’Rielly with Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai and O’Rielly issuing statements.