Ofcom frees up 6GHz spectrum for ultrafast Wi-Fi

Ofcom frees up 6GHz spectrum for ultrafast Wi-Fi

“The current situation we’re in has created a surge in traffic that’s moving over Wi-Fi and it’s helped not just the average person, but also regulators truly appreciate what a day without Wi-Fi might look like.

“The concern that the Wi-Fi industry has highlighted for the last several years, is that usage is growing significantly. In the UK for example, there’s going to be more than half a billion Wi-Fi enabled devices by 2023 and that demand is outpacing spectrum capacity.

“Some time ago the Wi-Fi alliance did a spectrum needs study that projected that if you look at the current trends and demand for data, with more than half of all internet traffic going over Wi-Fi, more spectrum was found to be very much essential.

“6GHz has been a heavy focus for the Wi Fi industry because it offers a solution that meets this insatiable demand for data.

“With 6GHz, because you have more spectrum, people’s networks can essentially spread out a bit, you’re having less contention with other networks.

“Even with the global pandemic, the Wi-Fi industry has been making significant investments on Wi-Fi 6e for some time, even before the regulatory picture was fully formed.

“You can expect that Wi-Fi 6e access points will initially will start moving into the market in the fourth quarter of this year.

“In early 2021, you’re going to see Wi Fi 6e in handsets in the US, currently European regulators are still finalising the regulations around unlicensed operation in in Europe.

“The rules are being developed to protect the incumbents that are [already using the spectrum]. Today it’s often used for fixed microwave links from one cell tower to another.

“Very rigorous studies have been carried out in the US that really demonstrate that buildings can generally attenuate the signal, or block the signal enough so that there’s no need for something like frequency coordination when you’re indoors.”

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