OFCOM opens 6GHz. What will it mean for businesses?

OFCOM have opened 500MHz of radio spectrum frequency in the new 6GHz band. This will significantly boost the speed of licence-exempt wireless networks. Low cost out-door wireless bridges currently available in 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz will soon have 6 GHz models. Because of the newly available frequency in the UK, these RLAN technologies (OFCOMS’s naming) will initially be operating in virtually interference free space. WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and 6 GHz means a series uplift in through put capacity, security, latency and a host of other benefits.

WiFi 6 has theoretical data speeds of 9.6 Gbps over the combined 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz bands.

The 6 GHz band for now will see most of the benefits in low cost wireless bridging applications where both ends of the link are 6 GHz native. WiFi enabled client devices (i.e smart phones) hoping to benefit from this new band are few and far between. In a few years you will be see new routers and client devices that need to operate with faster speeds capable of operating across the three bands.

Because 6 GHz has been available in other countries, many of the vendors for Point-to-Point equipment already have these radios ready to import to the UK and start shipping.

Ofcom’s Statement

  • Make the lower 6 GHz band (5925-6425 MHz) available for Wi-Fi and other RLAN technologies. Opening this band will make more channels available, increase capacity and reduce congestion in existing bands caused by large numbers of devices.
  • The release of this spectrum will also enable very low power (VLP) outdoor use. This will enable the development of new, innovative applications.
  • Remove the Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) requirements from channels used by Wi-Fi in the 5.8 GHz band (5725-5850 MHz). DFS requires a router to scan for radars and to switch channel if suspected radar transmissions are detected. DFS can therefore represent a constraint for equipment manufacturers regarding quality of service and throughput as well as being the cause of connection delays for users. We are amending the requirements on this band on the basis that the risk of undue interference from indoor Wi-Fi use is extremely low. The removal of DFS will increase its use for indoor wireless applications and help reduce congestion in other bands.