Skip to comments.The Single Best Thing the FCC Has Done So Far This Year (or not)
Posted on 04/01/2014 5:47:22 PM PDT by markomalley
Baby monitors, garage-door openers and cordless phones, are just a few of the innovations generated by the last time the Federal Communications Commission opened up untapped spectrum for public use. Get set for a whole new raft of innovative products--and faster download speeds.
That's likely to be the upshot of a FCC decision Monday to free up a huge band of high frequency airwaves to unlicensed users.
The Commission said it's opening a 100-megahertz swath in the 5-gigahertz, high-frequency range of communications network transmissions, which is bigger than the entire band of frequency that gave birth to Wi-Fi in the first place.
And for businesses like yours, the move is likely to free up space on congested networks currently offered by private providers, while giving your mobile device more public access at faster speeds. That means you'll also have more free space to innovate in airwaves that were previously off limits, and it could also mean more competition for the large telecommunications providers who have traditionally dominated the wireless space. (Areo, anyone?)
"Our action today will create new opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators, and much-needed relief to the growing problem of congestion on Wi-Fi networks," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement.
The FCC elaborated that similar unlicensed spectrums in the past have enabled innovation such as the creation of Wi-Fi hotspots, cordless headsets, security alarms, as well as mobile payments and vehicle radars.
The move to the 5-gigahertz spectrum will enable faster Wi-Fi downloads of about 1 gigabit per second, Wheeler said. (Most wireless networks today operate at a fraction of that speed.) And it will provide more capacity.
As an indication of how crowded Wi-Fi networks are already becoming, nearly half of total mobile data traffic was offloaded onto a fixed network via Wi-Fi in 2013, the FCC reports, citing data from Cisco.
In past years, however, the unlicensed spectrum has added $222 billion in economic value to the U.S. through things such as cost reductions and cheaper products, and in 2013 it added $6.7 billion to gross domestic product, according to a February report produced by Telecom Advisory Services, an international telecommunications and business consultancy.
Still, not everyone's happy about the proposed expansion. At least one satellite company called Globalstar, some carmakers, and a number of unlicensed radio station operators have expressed fears that they could get crowded out of the frequency they currently use.
Actually Globalstar, which plans to build a massive broadband wireless network that would enable consumers to connect wirelessly outdoors, secured concessions from the FCC for exclusive use of portions of the unlicensed high-frequency spectrum.
Groups such as the Consumer Electronics Association fear the carve-out for Globalstar could instead cramp availability for smaller wireless providers.
"Unlicensed spectrum has emerged as an important vector of innovation, serving as a platform for innovative technologies being implemented in numerous consumer electronics products," Julie M. Kearney, vice president of regulatory affairs and Brian E. Markwalter, senior vice president for research and standards at CEA wrote in a January letter to the FCC.
Kearney and Markwalter added: "This spectrum is extremely important to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies, and Globalstars proposal risks harming these highly valuable and innovative operations."
Even such things as the power supplies associated with some lights (in my experience, particularly some fluorescent lights) can cause a large amount of interference...across a broad portion of the RF spectrum.
I can see that the ambient RF noise level is just going to rise more and more because of this.
But I do know my microwave stuff. Over 25 years as a design engineer, dealing with frequencies as high as 160 GHz.
As long as the increased noise floor is concentrated in ISM bands, then it’s less of a problem than when crap like switch-mode power supplies, PWM lamps, cable TV carriers and the rest of the garbage we’ve had to put up with interfere with licensed services. If you’re wi-fi screws up your phone, you’ll just have to decide which is most vital to maintaining life functions...
The killed themselves? (yeah i didn’t read the article)
Develop a robust tin-foil Helmet and make Billion$ !
Do those go well down the pipes?
I understand and am not all that worried about the transmission frequency (the intentional radiator). I am just concerned with more and different cheap crap coming in that is poorly engineered (unintentional radiators).
I have seen too many examples of poorly shielded consumer equipment (the type that is sold for a song on ebay) that splatters everyplace...
And I can see a new band opening up where people will just have to get the latest capability...and on the cheap.
Yep. If the pipes are small. We were using WR-5 waveguide, if I recall correctly. You couldn’t fit a #2 pencil eraser in it.
1 gigabit per second!
Alas Verizon will still only give you 5gb per month.....
I see a day hopefully soon where we do not have the cable companies charging $134 a month as TimeWarner does with me (it went up over $11 this month!)
As I am quitting cable tv this month and using internet only I hope these speeds arrive soon. I suspect however that the current monopolies will fight to block the upgrade.
We get 50 Mbps here in Texas from TW
Most of the time
Oh was this about phones? Oops
Wifi can be used for internet and phones and tv and movies.
I am signing up for T-Mobiles $30 plan (google that to find it at the T-Mobile site and bring your own phone) and will get 5gb per month 4g download and then slower 3g if I use the 4g up before the month is over.
I only get 100 minutes of talk but if you use wifi for voice or an app you can use the internet for the voice call. It is 1mb to 3mb per minute.
I see the price coming down for getting internet & phone & video because of the higher speeds as people will dump cable and pick ala carte the shows they want.
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