back to article Battle for 6GHz heats up in America: Broadcasters sue FCC to kill effort to open spectrum for private Wi-Fi

The argument over opening up the 6GHz spectrum range, allowing it to be used for things like private indoor Wi-Fi, is heating up with TV broadcasters now suing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In a petition [PDF] to the Washington DC Court of Appeals, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has challenged …

  1. Kev99

    Who to believe? The monopolists Apple, Google & Microsoft. Or the monopolists represented by the NAB. Decisions, decisions. With Pei in charge it will probably go to the highest bidder. Or campaign contributor.

  2. hayzoos

    Interference, by what definition?

    If personal 6GHz WiFi use would interfere outside of a home, it would interfere with reception of a signal from outside the home. So a licensed broadcaster operating on ad revenues (as many broadcasters have traditionally) could find their signal unable to be received in homes due to the use of personal 6GHz WiFi. That would translate into no ad revenues theoretically. That would make their 6GHz license worthless. I cannot see why they would complain.

    1. DS999

      Re: Interference, by what definition?

      NAB is worried about it because they use it for production - I suppose probably for wireless transmission of images in live events to their truck or something like that. If wifi starts using it, eventually every house/business will radiate 6 GHz signals (in addition to the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz) and it will be useless to them for that purpose and their expensive equipment will have to be replaced.

      1. guyr

        NAB is worried about it because they use it for production

        Yes, that's it exactly. I found this topic interesting enough to do some searching, and found this article that explains some of it. Apparently that band is used by wireless microphones as well as microwave backhaul links. To us not in the industry, WiFi in the home wouldn't appear to impact either of those applications. However, I can see a scenario where someone is trying to do an on-site news report in a suburban neighborhood, and every house is leaking these WiFi signals, rendering the spectrum unusable for licensed users.

        https://www.sportsvideo.org/2020/05/12/spectrum-faces-its-next-challenge-as-fcc-allocates-6-ghz-range-for-wi-fi-6/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Radio mic use

          They all had to be replaced / upgraded in the UK because of a change in spectrum allocation. Cost a lot of small venues money they didn't really have.

          1. Louis Schreurs Bronze badge
            Pint

            Re: Radio mic use

            We, here in the land of nether, we had a frequency allocation change. Some years ago. I worked at a sound/PA company. Owner joyfully continued to use the old mics/frequencies.

            He also used a lot of [icon].

            I do not have any contact over 6 GHz, or elsewise with the phenomenon.

          2. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: Radio mic use

            Twice in our case - once for the 2012 "digital dividend" when we had to vacate the "800MHz band", that is TV channels 61 - 69, and again more recently when - despite being promised that the "700MHz band" (channels 49 - 60) was "safe", clearance of that band was announced. We had just bought some new kit in that band and had older kit retuned. Both bands are now allocated for "mobile broadband" (i.e. 4G / 5G).

            There was a compensation scheme in both cases, but the amount of money available was determined partly by the age of the equipment. We're a small venue (in the grand scheme of things) and considering equipment that's only 10 years old as worthless isn't the way we work. Again, this time, some of our kit could be retuned (the newer kit as it happened) and we had to replace other kit.

            Our next problem is going to be "white space" devices which are now allowed to share the much-reduced amount of spectrum available.

            But 6GHz? That's a bit esoteric for us. As mentioned, all our radio mics are below 1GHz.

            M.

        2. DS999

          Re: NAB is worried about it because they use it for production

          To us not in the industry, WiFi in the home wouldn't appear to impact either of those applications.

          Wifi is used in businesses too, from the smallest to the largest, so it wouldn't matter where you are doing an on-site report from, if it is near enough to a building it might see interference. Even if you aren't near a building in some cases - a guy I know who tailgates for football games has a cellular internet router in his RV which broadcasts wifi to the surrounding area. If he parked near the TV truck he would interfere if his router did 6 GHz wifi.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Behold for it is America

    Yea, as it has surely been even from the first days for he who proffereth the envelope of brown that is of the greatest girth shall surely be raised unto the masses as the victor.

    1. Louis Schreurs Bronze badge

      Re: Behold for it is America

      Aka the Brown Vector.

  4. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Boffin

    With so few homes using TV antennas, I could see the FCC getting away with this

    However, if your 6G WiFi signal is strong enough to get you good internet connectivity if you are sitting out back on the patio, then its strong enough to interfere with an incoming TV or other broadcast using that same frequency. So I can see why the broadcasters are PO'd.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: With so few homes using TV antennas, I could see the FCC getting away with this

      ? 6Ghz is not used to deliver terrestrial TV to the home!

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        Re: With so few homes using TV antennas, I could see the FCC getting away with this

        So why are the broadcasters fussing about it? That spectrum is certainly not being used to deliver satellite TV

        1. Louis Schreurs Bronze badge

          Re: With so few homes using TV antennas, I could see the FCC getting away with this

          production, think wireless mic's and so ------->>

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: With so few homes using TV antennas, I could see the FCC getting away with this

          As far as the broadcasters are concerned, It's used by satellite uplinks, and also point-to-point links for outside broadcasts etc.

          There are other current uses, detailed here: https://www.mist.com/afc-and-6-ghz-incumbents/

          (I'm the original anon. coward who replied to you [I'm in hiding at the moment!] and I didn't downvote either of your posts..... There do seem to be a number of miserable gits here though!)

        3. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: With so few homes using TV antennas, I could see the FCC getting away with this

          So why are the broadcasters fussing about it? That spectrum is certainly not being used to deliver satellite TV

          As per this nexttv article:

          Broadcasters use the 6 GHz band for auxiliary (BAS) operations--"sporting events, breaking news and special events" and says the FCC's proposed interference protections--limiting it to lower-power, indoor operations--miss the mark, particularly since some camera transmitters used to relay footage back to stations also operate indoors and at low power, so they would be in the interference line of fire even with those limitations on unlicensed devices.

          Also, as per your previous post:

          However, if your 6G WiFi signal is strong enough to get you good internet connectivity if you are sitting out back on the patio, then its strong enough to interfere with an incoming TV or other broadcast using that same frequency.

          Even if the previous statement showing it's not used for broadcast didn't exist and it was used for that, well it would be a consumer of a 6GHz WiFi signal self-interfering with an incoming 6GHz signal. In which case it is the consumers choice to forego (interfere with) the broadcasters incoming (to their residence) 6GHz signal in favour of their own use of 6GHz. So, consumer choice, use 6GHz Wifi and lose 6GHz broadcast reception (assuming the automatic frequency coordinator doesn't work) or use 2.4/5GHz WiFi and get the 6GHz broadcast signal.

          Finally, why do you keep referring to it as '6G'? 6G would imply it being the successor to the mobile telecommunications (aka cell aka mobile phone) standard 5G, which is not 'G' for gigahertz, but G for Generation. 5G is the 5th Generation of the mobile telecommunications standard, nothing to do with frequencies at all. 6G, as you keep referring to it as, would imply the 6th Generation mobile telecommunications standard, and does not signify the 6GHz band, which is what we are talking about here.

          1. herman Silver badge

            Re: With so few homes using TV antennas, I could see the FCC getting away with this

            The modulation modes will be something like COFDM, so interference between users will be minimized. Cell phones work OK after all.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Dale 3

    Wait for the NAB to start connecting 6GHz with Covid (though obviously only in WiFi form, the commercial form is naturally anti-viral).

    1. Louis Schreurs Bronze badge

      The specific eigen-frequency of the Covid stuff is about 6.191919191919191919 GHz.

      Just wait for Trump to discover this.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Similar space at 6GHz has recently been made available in the UK

    https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2020/07/ofcom-uk-opens-6ghz-radio-band-for-use-in-faster-home-wi-fi.html

  8. HellDeskJockey
    WTF?

    I feel positively ancient

    Most of my equipment runs on 2.4 GHz No real problems so far. A few bits of newer kit on 5GHz. To be honest this 6GHz stuff sounds like an excuse to sell me a new router.

  9. Joe Gurman

    What is this....

    .... "broadcast TV" of which they speak?

    I've lived in here in the good, old, totally demented US of A for my entire life (outside of six months in France and several visits to Scotland), and I haven't pulled in a broadcast signal on a TV since 1984.

    To be fair, nationally something like 19% of TV owners are over-the-air only, though the figures vary widely among markets (e.g. 5% in Boston and 25 in some southern markets). I'm going to take a wild guess and suggest that most OTA folks aren't going to have their own 6 GHz, short-range WiFi gear, nor live close enough to anyone who does to make a difference.

  10. herman Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Apple et al is correct in that 6 GHz doesn't go through walls. Microwaves are also highly directional. So indoor equipment will not interfere with outdoor equipment.

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