Ofcom proposes Wi-Fi and cellphones share upper 6GHz band

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Brit telecoms regulator Ofcom has kicked disconnected a consultation complete proposals that would spot some mobile networks and Wi-Fi users person entree to frequencies successful nan precocious 6GHz band, if due mechanisms tin beryllium agreed to make it work.

According to Ofcom, nan precocious 6GHz band, covering frequencies successful nan 6425-7125MHz range, is presently “a attraction for manufacture interest” successful nan lead up to nan World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) held by nan International Telecommunications Union (ITU) later this year.

Much of nan activity centers connected approaches that would spot nan frequencies fixed complete to exclusive usage either by high-power licensed mobile users, aliases low-power licence-exempt uses specified arsenic Wi-Fi, says Ofcom.

However, nan UK regulator reckons that pinch nan increasing request for spectrum from a scope of caller and existing services, it is becoming harder to warrant awarding bands for nan exclusive usage by a azygous application. It believes an replacement attack is imaginable which would let some mobile and Wi-Fi to usage nan precocious 6GHz band, moreover erstwhile successful comparatively adjacent proximity to each other.

Ofcom is proposing that hybrid sharing approaches could beryllium adopted to alteration much than 1 exertion to usage these wave bands, and if successful, nan aforesaid could beryllium extended to different wave bands now being considered for early applications, specified arsenic nan 7-24GHz and THz ranges being floated for 6G networks.

One measurement of doing this could beryllium to return advantage of nan different usage characteristics of mobile and Wi-Fi, Ofcom says successful its consultation document. For example, Wi-Fi entree points thin to beryllium deployed indoors, whereas mobile guidelines stations are located outdoors, truthful it whitethorn beryllium imaginable to support nan indoor usage of Wi-Fi successful nan precocious 6GHz set while besides allowing licensed mobile usage of it outdoors.

Alternatively, a geographical sharing exemplary could beryllium adopted, whereby mobile web usage of nan precocious 6GHz set could beryllium licensed for circumstantial high-traffic locations whilst allowing Wi-Fi usage elsewhere.

But hybrid sharing will require nan usage of mechanisms to negociate coexistence betwixt nan different technologies, which successful this lawsuit intends Wi-Fi and mobile networks. Ofcom sets retired respective of these successful its consultation document, including nan usage of managed databases to specify wherever and erstwhile entree is allowed, and modifications to transmission sensing mechanisms.

In nan second case, Wi-Fi already uses transmission sensing to observe if different nodes are transmitting, but has not been designed to observe mobile signals. An enhancement of existent protocols whitethorn let for coexistence betwixt Wi-Fi and mobile, Ofcom claims.

The UK regulator besides notes that nan precocious 6GHz set is already being utilized for different services, specified arsenic fixed wireless links, and location will apt beryllium coexistence challenges pinch these that would person to beryllium addressed successful bid to support immoderate hybrid sharing scheme.

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Ofcom recognizes that specified mechanisms will besides request to beryllium supported successful much territories than conscionable nan UK, saying successful its archive that “international harmonization is important to create economies of scale” successful a measurement that would beryllium improbable for UK-specific requirements.

Earlier this year, mobile manufacture assemblage nan GSMA published its ain study outlining really important nan 6GHz set is for nan early of mobile communications. It said astatine nan clip that governments astir nan world request to “consider carefully” what nan astir businesslike usage of 6GHz spectrum will be, and moreover claimed that deployment of 5G successful nan precocious 6GHz set would beryllium important for countries that want to “maximize nan socio-economic benefits” delivered by mobile communications.

However, that vessel whitethorn person already sailed, since nan Federal Communications Commission (FCC) successful nan US opened up nan full 6GHz set from 5.925 to 7.125GHz for unlicensed usage backmost successful 2020, mostly driven by demands to make much bandwidth disposable for Wi-Fi. Ofcom followed its lead by opening up nan little 500MHz of nan 6GHz band.

The FCC gives low-power Wi-Fi for indoor usage nan unrestricted state of nan full 6GHz band, while modular powerfulness applications that run outdoors must do truthful nether nan power of an automated wave coordination (AFC) strategy that manages spectrum entree to guarantee they do not interfere pinch bequest services that still run successful nan 6GHz band.

Ofcom is seeking feedback from “interested stakeholders” connected some nan rule of hybrid sharing and connected nan practicalities of its implementation, and a shape is available from nan regulator’s website to taxable responses, which must beryllium delivered by 15 September.

The regulator said it intends to travel up pinch a further consultation successful 2024 connected circumstantial proposals for nan implementation of hybrid sharing successful nan precocious 6GHz band. This will return nan responses to this consultation into consideration, arsenic good arsenic ongoing harmonization activity pinch different applicable world bodies. ®