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OPLIN 4cast #379: More Wi-Fi

Posted in 4cast

Wi-Fi library symbolOn Monday, the FCC announced that they would expand the amount of broadcast spectrum available for use by Wi-Fi devices in order to reduce Wi-Fi congestion at hot spots like “…convention centers, parks, and airports…” [and libraries, too]. This is an important change, since cellular wireless companies are increasingly offloading part of their traditional cellular traffic onto Wi-Fi hotspots. The latest Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast anticipates that over half of global mobile traffic will be offloaded onto Wi-Fi by 2018. Maybe it’s time to upgrade your wireless routers.

  • FCC Frees Up Spectrum to Boost Wi-Fi Speeds (PCMAG/Chloe Albanesius)  “Specifically, the commission voted to free up 100 MHz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band. Gadgets currently operate in 555 MHz of the 5 GHz band, so the move provides a bit more breathing room and should ease congestion. Devices that operate in the 5 GHz band include Wi-Fi hotspots and wireless home local area networks. The agency also removed an indoor-only restriction, which will support deployment of outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots.”
  • Open up your routers: FCC boosts spectrum available to Wi-Fi by 15 percent (GigaOM/Kevin Fitchard)  “The airwaves in the 5 GHz band have always been unlicensed, but they’ve had much more stringent rules attached to them to prevent devices from interfering with other users, specifically government telemetry networks and Globalstar’s satellite ground links. In 2013, though, the Defense Department said it no longer needed the band. Earlier this year Globalstar reached an agreement with the FCC that would open the band up to both satellite and Wi-Fi use, clearing the way for today’s decision.”
  • More Wi-Fi is better: FCC expands use of 5GHz spectrum (Ars Technica/Cyrus Farivar)  “With this change, the agency says that Wi-Fi routers will be able to handle more traffic at higher speeds. At present, Wi-Fi only occupies part of the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. […] The Wi-Fi Alliance did not immediately respond to Ars’ query about when consumers could expect new products that would take advantage of this increased capability.”
  • Unlicensed, Wi-Fi services set for 100 megahertz boost (RCRWireless/Dan Meyer)  “Unlicensed spectrum uses are currently tied to 555 megahertz in the 5 GHz band, though there are limitations for indoor use only. The Wi-Fi usage in that band is typically signified by the 802.11a standard. The FCC said the modified rules will remove the indoor-only restriction and provide more access in the 5.15-5.25 GHz band and allow the Wi-Fi industry greater leeway in implementing the 802.11ac standard, which accesses both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.”

802.11ac fact:
If you have no idea what “802.11ac” means, Pocketnow’s Joe Levi has posted a nice discussion of the various wireless networking standards.