By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
Today Canada became the first country in the world to approve an AFC operator for commercial operation . This means Canada will become the first country with commercially operating standard power 6 GHz Wi-Fi services within an estimated couple of months. The designation was announced by ISED – a Canadian government department – naming Qualcomm as the country’s first ‘Automated Frequency Coordination System Administrator’ or AFCSA. It’s also a world first for Qualcomm and for the Wi-Fi industry.
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In a historic decision Canada today became the first country to officially approve a provider of AFC services – the database lookup scheme required for 6 GHz Wi-Fi standard power operation. AFC was first introduced by the FCC to protect incumbent users of the 6 GHz band from interference.
This means the first 6 GHz standard power Wi-Fi service in the world will likely be operational in Canada within a couple of months. Standard power allows 6 GHz Wi-Fi devices to operate with up to 63 times higher RF signals compared to low power indoor and will hence deliver a big improvement in 6 GHz Wi-Fi range and performance. AFC also enables standard power 6 GHz Wi-Fi services to be operated outdoors.
The decision also means that Wi-Fi silicon vendor Qualcomm becomes the world’s first commercial AFC operator. Qualcomm says the work with ISED – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada – started late last year and that the Qualcomm AFC System has been ready for approvals and operation since their application to ISED. Qualcomm is the first AFC to be approved in Canada among a group of applicants that also included the Wi-Fi Alliance, Federated Wireless, and CommScope, the company says.
For all the details on this and a lot more don’t miss the Wi-Fi World Congress in Toronto, Canada taking place on September 18-20! Click here for more information.
In order for Canadians to begin standard power 6 GHz Wi-Fi operation, standard power devices will first need to be certified according to ISED’s certification guidelines. “Canadian 6 GHz standard power device certification requires that the applicant includes a letter from an approved AFC system operator. And we can now offer this to companies who wish to begin their device certification process now,” says Tevfik Yucek, Principal Engineer at Qualcomm.
Standard power 6 GHz Wi-Fi is important for both indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi use as well as for fixed wireless access (FWA) systems using unlicensed bands for last mile connectivity. AFC-based systems for FWA were successfully tested by Cambium Networks and ISP Nextlink in the USA over a year ago.
The Canadian decision puts US regulator FCC under pressure as AFC approvals for the US are still pending. FCC’s AFC approvals are largely expected to happen this year. Meanwhile AFC testing and approval processes continue across the world including in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and elsewhere. No country other than the US and Canada has made a regulatory decision on AFC yet.
Qualcomm’s AFC system is part of the company’s end-to-end AFC solution, which supports ‘location-based power optimisations for 6 GHz transmission,” Qualcomm says. The solution is available for customer device integration with Qualcomm’s Networking Pro and Immersive Home Wi-Fi platforms. Since the Qualcomm AFC system is compliant with standards-based interfaces, standard power 6 GHz Wi-Fi devices not using Qualcomm chipsets can also make use of the Qualcomm AFC.