FCC lists 13 AFC providers to manage access to 6 GHz band • The Register

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given conditional approval to 13 proposed automated spectrum coordination (AFC) schemes to manage spectrum access for unlicensed equipment in the 6 GHz band.

The aim is to prevent the new Wi-Fi kit from interfering with existing users in the specified area.

The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) said this conditional approval marks the next phase of the process toward full commercial operations. In the next step, the AFC systems will be tested to ensure they operate in accordance with FCC rules, and the OET will allow for commercial operation those AFC systems that successfully pass the testing phase.

The 13 organizations that have been granted conditional accreditation include: Broadcom; Google; Comsearch; Sony Group; Kyrio; key bridge wireless; Nokia innovations; Federated Wireless; Wireless Broadband Alliance; Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA); Qualcomm; spring design; and RED Technologies. These were detailed in a public notice [PDF].

All of this follows from the FCC’s decision in 2020 to open the 1.2 GHz spectrum covering the 6 GHz band (5.925-7.125 GHz) to unlicensed use, driven primarily by the requirement opening up more bandwidth to enable Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 standards for performance gains.

This would increase the frequency available for Wi-Fi by almost five times and help improve rural connectivity, the FCC said. However, this proved controversial at the time.

The downside is that some or all of the 6GHz band is used by other applications in the US, often microwave links used to support utilities, public safety, and wireless backhaul services. A mechanism would be needed to allow coexistence with these legacy systems to prevent interference.

The FCC’s solution was to implement rules for two different types of unlicensed operations; Standard power and low power for indoor use.

Low-power WiFi operation indoors, such as B. in a typical scenario at home or in the office, probably does not cause any interference and can therefore use the entire 6 GHz band. However, standard power WiFi can be used for outdoor applications and can only operate under the control of an AFC system that manages frequency access to ensure it does not clash with existing microwave systems.

According to the FCC, this AFC control applies in two specific parts of the 6 GHz band, the U-NII-5 band (5.925-6.425 GHz) and the U-NII-7 band (6.525-6.875 GHz).

The idea is that any standard-power access point must consult a local AFC system to authorize the frequencies it intends to operate before transmitting. To do this, the AFC provider has access to a database of existing 6GHz users, including details of their location, frequencies used and signal coverage.

As applicants continue to develop their systems, the testing process will include both lab testing and the opportunity for public testing, the FCC said. During the public testing period, each applicant for an AFC system must make their system available for a specified period of time to allow members of the public to test the functionality of each AFC system. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/11/03/fcc_afc_providers_wifi/ FCC lists 13 AFC providers to manage access to 6 GHz band • The Register

Rick Schindler

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