FCC approves 6 GHz AFC systems' test to hasten Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 7 uptake

Nov. 7, 2022
AFC systems manage spectrum access for 6 GHz band standard-power unlicensed devices.

TheFederal Communications Commission (FCC) Office of Engineering and Technology on Nov. 2 conditionally approved thirteen proposed automated frequency coordination (AFC) database systems to finalize development for operations in the 6 GHz band and prepare for the applications testing phase.

AFC systems manage spectrum access for 6 GHz band standard-power unlicensed devices. As noted in a press release, the FCC’s recent rule changes expanded unlicensed use in the 5.925-6.425 GHz and 6.525-6.875 GHz portions of the 6 GHz band to allow standard-power devices under the control of an AFC.

The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology evaluates proposals for AFC systems that will be used by Wi-Fi devices in the 6 GHz band – including Wi-Fi 6E, the next generation of faster, better Wi-Fi. Unlicensed devices operating at standard power levels will use the AFC systems to adjust operating parameters to protect microwave links that operate in the band from harmful interference.

The FCC noted that new applications often require greater throughput which this additional spectrum coupled with higher power will deliver. Wi-Fi 6E builds upon previous Wi-Fi updates and makes use of wider channels to provide gigabit-plus speeds, more simultaneous connections, and better security.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel commented:

“American businesses and households rely on Wi-Fi for work, school, access to healthcare, and connecting with friends and family. We are moving forward on our plan to open doors for next generation, faster, better Wi-Fi – including Wi-Fi 6E and laying the groundwork for Wi-Fi 7. This is good news and real progress.”

The new FCC Public Notice conditionally approved AFC systems proposed by 13 wireless specialists including:

  • Broadcom
  • Google
  • Comsearch
  • Sony Group
  • Kyrio
  • Key Bridge Wireless
  • Nokia Innovations
  • Federated Wireless
  • Wireless Broadband Alliance
  • Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA)
  • Qualcomm
  • Plume Design
  • RED Technologies

 As applicants move forward with their systems, the testing process will include both lab testing and an opportunity for public testing.

The Public Notice details which labs are approved for testing these systems and how other labs can be approved. During this public trial phase, each AFC system applicant will be required to make its system available for a specified period of time (e.g. 30 days) to provide an opportunity for members of the public to test each AFC system’s functionality.

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