Review of WiFi Now Conference

Written by: Robin Veinotte, Director of New Business Ventures

SolutionInc attended this years’ WiFi Now conference in DC and it was a fantastic event.

There seemed to be some up and commers in the in the hardware, network monitoring and cloud gateway space there as vendors, and most of the presentations were great to take in and very informative.

One of the highlights was Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman, talking about need for more frequency dedicated to WiFi. Like the world of 5G in Cellular (although what 5G actually is may differ from carrier to vendor to country), there is a big push for new tech that delivers more throughput and that is going to require more lanes on the ‘wireless frequency highways’ that we all use today.

“The 5.9 GHz band lies in the sweet spot between existing 5 GHz (WiFi) bands and prospective new 6 GHz (WiFi) bands – and now it’s finally time to push for a fresh set of rules for 5.9 GHz” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “Among the options is rendering this spectrum unlicensed”, Pai said. He plans to reopen the case for reallocation of the 5.9 GHz band to new uses which we feel would be WiFi. He talked of this in front of about 300 high profile industry attendees who were at the conference.

As noted from Claus Hetting of WiFi Now, the 75 MHz of band in 5.9 GHz has been a contentious issue for years because the current licensee – The US Department of Transportation – since 1999 has left the band largely unused by so-called DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communications for vehicle-to-vehicle applications) technology.  “I believe that the time has come for the FCC to take a fresh look at this band. We should open up a rulemaking proceeding, seek comment on various proposals for the band’s future,” Chairman Pai said in his prepared statement. He also highlighted various options for its utilization. “We could allow for sharing between unlicensed devices and automotive communications technologies in the lower 45 MHz of the band, while reserving the upper 30 MHz exclusively for vehicle-to-vehicle technologies. We could split the band, with the lower 45 MHz allocated exclusively for unlicensed and the upper 30 MHz allocated exclusively for vehicle-to-vehicle technologies. Or we could allocate the entire 75 MHz band exclusively for unlicensed use,” Chairman Pai said.

Let’s hope this become a reality and makes its way North of the boarder as well.

wifi now.png

Leave a Reply