By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
US takes important step towards standard power 6 GHz Wi-Fi operation
Standard power (outdoor and higher power indoor) Wi-Fi operation in the US requires the use of a database lookup scheme known as AFC or ‘Automated Frequency Coordination’ to make sure these standard power 6 GHz Wi-Fi signals do not interfere with incumbent users of the band. Standard power can operate at up to 36 dBm (or 4 Watts), whereas the already available Low Power Indoor (LPI) mode is limited to 30 dBm (or 1 Watt) in the US.
Now the FCC has released a so-called ‘White Copy’ of a Public Notice that will likely be approved and released by the FCC on September 30. The Public Notice outlines the process by which the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) will authorise AFC systems. The FCC document can be found here.
So what does all this mean in English as opposed to regulation-legalese? It means that standard power Wi-Fi 6E operating across a whopping 850 MHz of pristine spectrum is now one big step closer to happening in real life. The initial deadline for interested parties to submit proposal for AFC systems to be authorisation by the FCC is November 30, the FCC says. Once the AFC systems are conditionally approved, public trials will begin, the FCC says in the Public Notice.
“This Public Notice is a key milestone towards realising Standard Power Wi-Fi in the US, and will be closely followed by regulators around the world. Standard Power is critical for outdoor deployments, in situations where you need higher power indoors, or where an external antenna is required.” Dave Wright, Head of Global Wireless Policy, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
In addition to the US, Canada and South Korea have indicated that they will use similar automated frequency coordination systems to open standard power operations, and Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and other countries are considering standard power in their 6 GHz consultations. In August, Wi-Fi giants Broadcom, Cisco, and Facebook announced the creation of the ‘OpenAFC’ initiative aimed at speeding up the mass-market adoption of standard power Wi-Fi. Read more here.
Liberty Global launches Plume intelligent Wi-Fi upgrade for millions of homes
Leading multi-national broadband service provider Liberty Global announced August 23 that it the company is upgrading millions of European homes with ‘intelligent Wi-Fi services’ powered by Plume. Two million subscribers of VodafoneZiggo in the Netherlands and 850,000 homes served by UPC of Poland have now been upgraded to the service. Both VodafoneZiggo and UPC are subsidiaries of Liberty Global International.
The upgrade means that existing modems – for example those of VodafoneZiggo subscribers – will be upgraded for free to become ‘SmartWiFi’ modems capable of supporting mesh Wi-Fi socket-pluggable ‘pods’. Two mesh Wi-Fi pods are available to VodafoneZiggo subscribers for a purchase price of €99 EUR. Read more here.
More European countries begin 6 GHz Wi-Fi operation (5945-6425 MHz)
On September 1st the European countries of Switzerland and Liechtenstein updated their radio regulations to permit RLAN (Wi-Fi) unlicensed lower-power indoor operation in the 5945-6425 MHz band. The exact regulatory documents for Switzerland can be found here.
Meanwhile, Baltic EU member state Estonia says they have updated their regulation to reflect 6 GHz Wi-Fi operation on August 16th, while Iceland permitted 6 GHz Wi-Fi on June 6th. All of the mentioned countries can now rely on an already well-established ecosystem of Wi-Fi 6E networking equipment and devices to deliver much-improved Wi-Fi to data-hungry consumers and businesses. The deadline for the remaining EU member states to update their frequency regulation to reflect the EC’s decision on 6 GHz Wi-Fi is December 1st, 2021.
Plume IQ: Smart TVs increasing in popularity over streaming STBs
Smart TVs with built in app functionality have gained substantially in popularity over streaming STBs during the past year, says Plume’s broadband intelligence service, Plume IQ. This is the case especially in Europe where smart TVs now outnumber streaming STBs by 51%, Plume IQ says (see infographic to the left). Plume IQ also says that consumption trends indicate that the transition towards 4k video consumption has begun. For all the details make sure you sign up to the Plume IQ monthly intelligence service here.