The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authorized several technology firms to operate wireless devices using the 6GHz band. The approval comes after a proposal by FCC Chair, Jessica Rosenworcel, for rules governing the use of the band, which would entail very low power (VLP) operations within 850MHz of the spectrum.
Limitations and Benefits of the 6GHz band Authorization
Despite the VLP designations implying short signal propagation ranges, the new rules will also grant permissions for these devices to employ higher power levels so long as they are geofenced. This measure is intended to mitigate any possible interference with existing licensed 6GHz usage. The FCC will also be open to comments regarding the expansion of the 6GHz spectrum usage for additional technology devices.
The usage of the 6GHz band will facilitate certain wireless technologies, such as in-car connections, mobile augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) devices. The FCC originally made available 1,200MHz of the 6GHz spectrum for unlicensed use by Wi-Fi routers and client devices, like laptops and smartphones. This prior decision increased the wireless overhead for home networks significantly beyond what existing Wi-Fi standards offered. The new FCC approval extends this spectrum to more general use.
Tech Industry Giants Welcome the Decision
Tech industry giants, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Meta, have welcomed the decision, having initially petitioned for access to the 6GHz band in 2019. The decision is expected to advance more challenging projects, such as AR glasses, which have been an area of struggle for these companies.
6GHz is a frequency band that tech companies want to use for wireless communication because it can offer faster speeds, lower latency, less interference, and more innovation. Faster speeds mean that users can download, upload, stream, and game faster on their devices. Lower latency means that users can have real-time response for online games, video calls, or cloud computing. Less interference means that users can have more stable and reliable wireless connections without congestion or noise from other devices or signals.