Industry group formed to advance 6 GHz Wi-Fi

Facebook, Broadcom, and Cisco have created a software group under the aegis of Telecom Infra Project (TIP) to accelerate the commercialization of 6 GHz Wi-Fi devices.

TIP, bankrolled by Facebook and best known for driving Open RAN, is playing host to the Open Automated Frequency Coordination (Open AFC) Software Group. The objective of the alliance is to promote the adoption of Wi-Fi on 6 GHz for outdoor and long-range indoor use cases by providing a common reference open-source software.

The vision of Open AFC’s future use cases looks like this:

Source: Telecom Infra Project

Wi-Fi on 6 GHz has attracted lots of attention from the industry, especially after the FCC made the whole 6 GHz band (5.925–7.125 GHz) available for unlicensed use. However, as the FCC made clear, there are two distinct categories of Wi-Fi on 6 GHz. For normal indoor use the access points (APs) use low power. When Wi-Fi on 6 GHz is deployed for outdoor or extended indoor use, to reach the desired range the APs will use “standard power”. This could potentially interfere with incumbent, licensed use (for example fixed satellite services used by broadcasters). To avoid such interference, standard powered APs need AFCs, which essentially are databases and network management systems, to coordinate and manage.

It turns out that the group did not start from scratch. Facebook has already developed a proof-of-concept Open AFC system that it will contribute to the TIP community. One key attribute of this PoC system is it meets both requirements: protecting incumbent operation on 6 GHz and supporting fast adoption of standard power unlicensed operations in this band.

At this stage, the output of the community includes:

  • Source Code, supporting software including test software, scripts, and system validation source code
  • Requirements documents, design documents, configurations, and test process documentation

The open software for cloud-based AFC services and devices aims to enable the proliferation of standard power devices first in the United States before expanding to other markets. Identified next-phase markets include Canada, the EU, and Brazil.

Facebook, Broadcom, and Cisco, the founding members and “group leadership”, said the group is open for other companies to join.

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