The FCC’s new 5 GHz rules increase allowable power levels to 1 watt and allow outdoor operation. The order protects incumbent satellite users by placing limits on the amount of energy that can be directed up toward satellites.
At issue is the 5150-5250 MHz portion of the Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (UNII) band, where use was restricted to indoor operations at low power.
The FCC voted 5-0 to make 100 MHz of the 5 GHz UNII-1 band “more useful for consumers and businesses, and reduce the potential for harmful interference to certain incumbent operations.”
“We are not stopping here when it comes to unlicensed spectrum.
We are committed to making more spectrum available for unlicensed use in our incentive auction proceeding and our 3.5 GHz proceeding, and will continue to carefully study technical analyses that could further expand access to spectrum in up to 195 additional megahertz of spectrum in two other portions of the 5 GHz band.”
The IEEE backed the proposal, saying unlike today’s U-NII-1 band, the U-NII-3 band is a successful home for Wi-Fi because it enables devices to operate both indoors and outdoors using 1 Watt of transmit power.
The FCC also wants to expand use of Wi-Fi in the mid-band at 5.35-5.47 GHz and above the current 5 GHz high end, at 5.85-5.925 GHz bands.
Expanding Wi-Fi power in the lower 5 GHz band, at 5.15-5.25 GHz, will likely make Comcast and mobile phone operators happy since they can make use of 802.11ac networks, both indoors and out, even utilizing all four channels for up to 1 Gbps wireless networking.
The FCC will require companies to notify the commission if they are deploying more than 1,000 access points in the UNII-1 band.
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