back to article FCC to unleash unlicensed spectrum, relieve 'Wi-Fi traffic jam'

The US Federal Commnicatioons Commission has announced plans to open up a chunk of unlicensed spectrum to relieve the "Wi-Fi traffic jam," according to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. "We're announcing today that we're moving to free up a substantial amount of spectrum for Wi-Fi to relieve Wi-Fi congestion and improve Wi-Fi …


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  1. JaitcH

    An enlightened position that ...

    out to be emulated by others, particularly in Europe.

    The military like blocking out huge bands "in case" which then stand idle waiting for a conflict. Given that the frequencies are so high, these 'I want everything' types have to learn that sharing is the name of the game.

  2. Graham Wilson

    About time.

    "Shared-spectrum scheme with the Department of Defense"

    I remember when Defense spectrum was totally sacrosanct, so this is a welcome change.

    Nevertheless, I hope we don't go too far and bugger up the Spectrum with noise pollution for both Defense and everyone else. We've seen that starting to happen already with totally mad schemes such as BL/PLC, Homeplug etc. Such schemes, are much more likely to destroy the Spectrum environment than to offer any significant benefit to users..

  3. Eddy Ito


    I quick scan of the neighborhood shows there are only two 5 GHz wifi SSIDs in the area, one is mine and the other is a neighbor that I set up a few weeks ago right next to mine but the 2.4 GHz band shows no fewer than 24 SSIDs sitting across the entire spectrum on every channel (except 14 which isn't allowed in the US). While I applaud the opened up resources, I fear it won't do much good unless more kit comes with 5 GHz radios as standard equipment. Most folks aren't up for swapping out the the wifi card in their laptop and in tablets and phones it just isn't happening.

    1. Christian Berger


      If those networks would move to 5 GHz, they'd probably be without any interference.

      There are 2 simple reasons for this. First of all the 5GHz band has way more non-overlapping channels. (all channels are non-overlapping in fact) Second the range is somewhat limited so it won't go through as many walls as 2.4 GHz signals do.

      1. James 100

        Re: Actually

        I use 5 GHz for exactly that reason - but have 2.4 GHz enabled on the access point too, because my mobile handset (like most, if not all) only supports that band, ditto my old (relegated to occasional use) laptop and the bedroom satellite box.

        Mine's actually the only 5 GHz presence I've detected, against half a dozen or more 2.4 GHz nets fighting each other. On the bright side, moving nearly all my traffic up to the higher band means I'm contributing very little to that mess of interference, as well as experiencing very little myself.

        It's a shame 5 GHz support isn't more widespread, though; a nice surprise that the Nexus 4 apparently does support it.

    2. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Really?

      I think this is more planning for the future than dealing with an immediate issue. 2.4G is crowded, especially in areas like condos, 5g is still pretty spartan but expect this to change as dual band or 5g only becomes more mainstream. My situation is similar to yours, 2.4g is crowded and 5g is pretty much me only, but I expect this will change rapidly over the next year or two.

  4. Ole Juul

    "If that number's wrong"

    I hope FCC chairman Julius Genachowski didn't actually write that himself.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Large bands lie empty, but massive amount of use is crammed into ISM bands!

    Crazy how huge swathes of spectrum are reserved "just in case" or only used in certain areas, or are out of bounds because each country carves up its bands differently....... and the whole thing could easily be better managed - when the some of the most useful wireless tech is crammed into a few small bands that were only used because they happened to be free (not needing licences) due to being internationally standard "industrial scientific medical" bands. It needs a big shake up.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Large bands lie empty, but massive amount of use is crammed into ISM bands!

      I agree with your sentiment but can you honestly see a situation where countries would submit to a central agency regulating spectrum usage? Leaving aside it would be hideously wasteful (like Brussels) and a giant bitch fight that achieves little (like the UN) you have to convince the merkins that the commies won't be after their precious bodily fluids.

      (as an aside, why is my spell checker flagging 'merkins', it is actually a word! albeit an old one)

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