The Federal Communications Commission has streamlined the agency’s Part 15 rules governing unlicensed communication equipment in the 57–64 GHz band.
Commissioners voting today said the changes will enhance the use of unlicensed spectrum as a relatively low‑cost, high‑capacity short‑range backhaul alternative to connect wireless broadband networks and for other wireless applications. Unlicensed spectrum technologies have the potential to encourage competition in the broadband market, according to the agency, promote efficient delivery of broadband services in residences and businesses, and improve user experience with consumer devices needing short-range but high datarate communications.
These modifications could provide wireless broadband network connectivity over distances up to a mile at datarates of 7 Gbps, potentially relieving the need and expense of wiring facilities or using existing facilities with less capability, says the commission. At the same time the rules for equipment located indoors will remain unchanged, providing certainty for emerging products that can provide datarates of 7 Gbps for applications such as wireless docking of digital devices and distribution of uncompressed video to TV receivers and video displays.
In the 1990s, the commission adopted rules for unlicensed operations over a 7‑gigahertz wide bandwidth, in the 57–64 GHz band. Because of the wide bandwidth, this spectrum is desirable for high‑capacity uses, both in point‑to‑point fixed operations outdoors (extending the reach of fiber optic networks by providing broadband access to adjacent structures in commercial facilities), and as networking equipment indoors (enabling users to send data between entertainment devices such as high‑definition televisions and video players within the same room, eliminating the need for complex wiring).