FCC moves to beef up US wifi

US regulator the Federal Communications Commission voted Monday to free up more spectrum for wifi usage in a bid to help nudge the capabilities of typical installations of the technology over the 1Gbps mark.

The new FCC rules will make 100MHz of spectrum in the 5GHz band more accessible for use in homes and congested spaces like convention centres, parks, and airports and increase the potential for more unlicensed spectrum innovation.

Currently Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices operate in 555MHz of spectrum in the 5GHz band, and are used for wifi and other unlicensed high speed wireless connections.

The FCC said that unlicensed devices “play an important role in meeting public demand for wireless broadband service” and said 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 5.150-5.250GHz band. This in turn will allow U-NII devices to better integrate with other unlicensed portions of the 5GHz band to offer faster speeds and reduce congestion at crowded wifi hot spots such as airports and convention centres.

The FCC 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.

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