With today’s vote to make available an additional 1200 MHz of unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi 6, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken a major step toward enabling the vision for broadband connectivity in the United States. At NXP, we are strong supporters of the 6 GHz spectrum expansion for Wi-Fi and believe it has the potential to effectively and safely co-exist with existing and newer technologies. As such, we welcome the FCC’s decision and applaud the hard work put in by Chairman Ajit Pai since the FCC first proposed the expansion in 2018.
Why More Spectrum
As the first new spectrum allocation for Wi-Fi in the U.S. since 2003, it is designed to address what has become one of the most pressing issues in Wi-Fi development: how to handle the overwhelming success of the technology in connecting the world.
The newly available Wi-Fi spectrum is a bold and dramatic expansion that will bring significant consumer benefit, create opportunity for innovative new products and services and complement 5G services in providing ubiquitous connectivity. The additional spectrum will be available in a single, continuous band reaching from 5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz. It will include 14 additional 80 MHz channels and seven additional 160 MHz channels, with far fewer overlapping channels than in the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrum. What’s more, this new spectrum is only available to the latest Wi-Fi 6E devices, thus reducing congestion even further, especially in areas where many legacy networks are operating.
The FCC’s vote and the enhanced capabilities of Wi-Fi 6E will enable the kinds of fast, responsive and scalable Wi-Fi performance needed to spur decades of innovation. It will bring stable, super-fast connectivity to homes and offices. At large venues, such as where concerts and sporting events take place, it will enable fast, reliable access to new features, like live streaming, which will change how we interact with a given performance or competition. Gaming will become even more immersive, with real-time support for new AR/VR features. On the road, vehicles will be safer, more autonomous and more interactive. And, for IoT, the new spectrum will help keep pace with the massive demands of industrial and smart city applications.
It is important to note that the FCC has been careful to recognize the importance of incumbent services already operating in the 6 GHz band. There are a number of other wireless technologies that already operate in or near the newly opened 6 GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi. Two of the more notable wireless formats in this part of the spectrum are 5G NR mid-band radios, used for next-generation cellular connectivity, and Ultra WideBand (UWB) radios, which target precise location and secure access use cases, including smart car keys. The FCC has demonstrated an understanding of the complexities associated with spectrum expansion and, through their efforts to define the requirements for Wi-Fi 6E operation, are doing what’s needed to ensure coexistence.
With today’s exciting milestone, we believe the FCC has created a new frontier in which Wi-Fi will not only thrive, but will accelerate the creation of new and compelling applications across a broad range of markets and services. We look forward to working with our strong ecosystem of partners and customers to bring about the full benefits of Wi-Fi 6 and make use of this new spectrum here in the U.S. – and hopefully around the world as other regulatory bodies in other countries follow suit.
To learn more about our latest innovations in Wi-Fi, visit us at www.nxp.com/wifi6