Urgent need emerges for expanded Wi-Fi spectrum | Infrastructure | News | Rapid TV News
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As demand for broadband connectivity surges on a worldwide basis, driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Wi-Fi industry urgently needs access to the 6 GHz frequency band says a report from the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA) and Policy Impact Partners (PIP).
Wi Fi 6 DSA PIP 16 Nov 2020

Offering wider channels up to 160MHz, and capacity up to 9.6Gbps, compared with 3.5Gbps in Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, is designed to enable nearly three times faster gigabit data rates and is said to deliver better reliability, lower latency, more deterministic behaviour and better network efficiency, especially in environments with many devices. The use cases for Wi-Fi 6, include service for high-density wireless locations indoor wireless coverage thus improving the transport of video around the home. 

The DA and PIP paper focuses on Europe, the Middle East and Africa (ITU Region 1) and fundamentally calls on the EU to ensure that the EC Decision on licence-exempt access to the lower 6 GHz band is adopted without delay, and then implemented in national regulations early in 2021. This say the authors will be crucial for Europe to alleviate congestion in existing licence-exempt spectrum.

“Used for every aspect in our lives such as remote education, work and commerce, Wi-Fi needs greater spectrum access in the 6 GHz band to effectively support the modern digital ecosystem,” explained Dynamic Spectrum Alliance president Martha Suárez. “With access to wide 160 MHz channels in the 6 GHz band, Wi-Fi 6E will be able to deliver very robust connectivity that can enable truly immersive and compelling multimedia experiences.”

“The Covid-19 pandemic is highlighting the critical need to bring reliable broadband to many more people and communities,” added Policy Impact Partners founder and director Herman Schepers. “That won’t happen unless both licensed and licence-exempt wireless technologies have access to the spectrum they need. People should have the flexibility to use the technology best suited to their budget, their use case and other local factors, whether that be 4G, 5G, Wi-Fi or another unlicensed technology.”

The paper explains that Wi-Fi 6 enables an efficient use of the spectrum in terms of access, ensuring that existing incumbent services can continue to thrive in the band while meeting the growing demand for wireless capacity with more throughput, connected devices and coverage. To enable the world to fully benefit from Wi-Fi 6E, the next generation of Wi-Fi 6, the DSA and PIP are also advising governments to make the 6 GHz band available for usage by licence-exempt technologies.

Moreover, the partners conclude in their paper that if countries across the world were to enable licence-exempt access to the entire 1200 MHz of the 6 GHz band, the global digital ecosystem would benefit from major economies of scale. This they say would reduce costs for end-users and allow people to benefit from innovative new services that harness the capabilities of Wi-Fi 6E.