A decision by the FCC will enable makers of WiFi hotspots to produce better products that will offer faster connections in public wireless networks — the kind tablet users frequently depend on.
The FCC ruled in favor of opening up the 100MHz spectrum of the 5GHz wireless band to outdoor public use. A Report and Order released by this U.S. government agency outlines modifications to the previously stringent rules applied to Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure devices running on the 5GHz band.
Before the ruling, unlicensed devices were operating in the 555MHz spectrum of the 5GHz band, and it only applied to indoor devices. Although the airwaves were always open to unlicensed devices, there were strict rules put in place by the FCC regarding usage. These rules mostly existed to protect Government devices and data from interference.
The new FCC ruling loosens these rules, and opens up the 100MHz spectrum of the 5GHz band to outdoor hotspots. The benefit for the public is that areas such as parks could feature wireless connectivity options. Users will also experience faster Wi-Fi speeds and fewer issues on crowded networks in busy areas such as airports.
The ruling loosens the restrictions placed on the 5GHz airwave band, freeing it up for use by homes and public spaces. The 100MHz of wireless spectrum will increase WiFi speeds in congested areas, such as convention centers and airports. According to a press release from the FCC, speeds will increase by 1GB per second, and the change will keep WiFi spots from becoming congested in highly populated areas. The ruling also means that 802.11ac networks will open up, with more space for them in the airwaves.
An agreement last month between the Defense Department and the FCC paved the way for this change, which was voted unanimously on Monday. Originally used by the government for telemetry and satellite communication, the airwaves will now be freed up for public use. However, users will be required to secure their routers in order to prevent interference with satellite communication. Also, any wireless ISPs looking to deploy large-scale Wi-Fi initiatives will need to register with the FCC.